A lucky 13 Women’s Singles players have been crowned England's National Champion in the 30 years since 1988 but only five have successfully retained their title with back to back wins.
Now reigning champion Chloe Birch is the latest incumbent of the crown to try her hand at joining such an exclusive club of champions after confirming her entry for the domestic circuit’s showpiece event in Wycombe on August Bank Holiday weekend.
The very best of English badminton will, by popular demand following last year’s sell out event, return to Wycombe Leisure Centre in four weeks time.
Ahead of tomorrow’s close of entry, Birch was amongst the first to enter online for 2018 as she seeks to replicate the back to back successes enjoyed by Fiona Smith, Suzanne ‘Louis Lane’ Williams, Julia Mann, Liz Cann and more latterly, Sarah Walker before her.
That famous five hold a stunning 24 national titles between them. But Birch, now a three time finalist, is hell bent on making it a super six.
England’s Yorkshire star said it was a ‘childhood dream’ when she won the title last year with a 21-17 21-12 victory over Atu Rosalina Sagita.
And, after a strong start to 2018 in which her form and profile blossomed during her Commonwealth Games debut, Birch will start as favourite all over again.
Birch is not the only returning champion to be lining up a title defence. 2018 Mens Singles champion Alex Lane returns to Wycombe whilst younger brother Ben Lane, alongside Jess Pugh, are in the mix to retain the much coveted Mixed Doubles title.
Badminton England expect a number of other high profile entries to still come in ahead of Wednesday's deadline, including further returning champions and medal winners from the Commonwealth Games.
Tickets are now on sale – from £6.
Entry closes Wednesday 25 July, 5pm