Squash: Nicol to test Marshall's star status

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The Independent Online
PETER MARSHALL, Britain's best player for 20 years, hopes to crown the most successful season of his career by winning the British National Championship, starting at Welwyn Garden City today. Yet the 22-year-old touted as a possible successor to the former world No 1, Jonah Barrington, is far from certain of winning a tournament with its strongest field ever.

The competitors include eight men ranked in the world's top 20, among them Peter Nicol, a 20-year- old unbeaten thus far in international matches for Scotland, and whom many believe could well overhaul Marshall before he reaches the top.

Nevertheless, the double- handed player from Leicestershire, who reached the semi-finals of the World Open and the final of the Super Series, is the favourite. Chris Walker, also a World Open semi- finalist, is seeded second, and Nicol, in Walker's half of the draw, third.

'It's very exciting - our status has never been greater,' says Barrington, who believes the two-decade wait to produce a successor of his quality may soon be over.

The top seed in the women's event is the world No 3, Suzanne Horner, who almost gave up the game in the wake of a knee injury three years ago, but became England No 1 for the first time this season at the age of 30. Her closest rivals are Sue Wright and Cassie Jackman.