TENNIS: Skupski siblings ready for success.
THE distinguished Skupski family are poised to show everyone on Merseyside just how good they are becoming at tennis next week, when elder brother Ken turns out for Lancashire in the County Championship, while younger brother Neil challenges for the Open singles in the Parks Championship at Calderstones.
Ken Skupski made a real impression in Lancashire's top pairing last year, and will give his team a very real chance of winning the event outright.
He is even more potent in doubles than singles, and should help his county maintain the steady progress of the last couple of years given reasonable support.
Fifteen-year-old brother Neil is, of course, performing a lot nearer home, and will be giving a number of years to several excellent local players, including Simon Crabtree, David Hardman and quite possibly the reigning champion Anthony Hardman, whose expected entry has still to reach chief organiser Mike McBrien.
Entries generally are up a good 20% on last year, but the clash with the County Championship could seriously weaken the ladies event, as two or three locals, including Tootsie Nugent and Gemma Bissom will be heavily involved in that.
Hopefully the two most promising youngsters Chloe Murphy and Rebecca Williams will partcipate, though it is still not clear whether they will challenge above their age group.
It looks as though 15 courts will be used, which is less than a few years ago, but wise in that it prevents a few players suffering from a poor surface.
Referee McBrien says entries are up by about 20% on last year, which is quite encouraging, and that he has agreed to introduce an over 60 men's singles at the request of Max Block.
'We have four entrants,' he said. 'We may get more now people see it is taking place, but I don't think we will need to seed any of them
p Late entries should be sent to Mike McBrien as soon as possible