More than 20 champions will be eyeing up defences of their crowns this weekend as the YONEX Scottish International Masters Championships return to Glasgow.
The Sir Craig Reedie Centre will play host to this, the 19th edition of the tournament, with three action-packed days of badminton in store, starting on Friday.
Players in six different age categories will take to the court – ranging from over-40s right through to over-60s – with more than 200 seasoned players from as far afield as the United States, Canada and China taking part.
With strong turnouts from the all over the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia, there are plenty of returning faces too, with plenty looking to keep their hands on the trophies they won 12 months ago.
Entering as second seed before winning the tournament last year, Mark MacKay is the one to watch in the 40+ category this time around.
He overcame Craig Lamb 12 months ago – the man he paired with en route to the men’s doubles crown – this year entering as the top seed in Group A.
He’s not the only returning face though as Per Juul Ulrich prepares to do battle in the 55+ age group after reigning victorious last time out, with the Dane boasting sterling pedigree in senior competitions.
Dan Travers – one of Scotland’s biggest hopes and 1986 Commonwealth champion – also has a title to defend in the 60+ section of the draw, facing off against Tom Muir in his first match.
But there will be new hands on the 45+ and 50+ prizes this season, with holders Craig Young absent and Ole Kristensen both absent from the singles.
With the women’s singles only being competed in the 40+ category last year, 2018 is already set to be bigger and better.
That competition saw Aileen Travers take the title with a flawless four wins from four to follow up her esteemed career as a multiple Scottish national champion.
This year will see the 50+ shuttlers contest two groups, where Betty Blair is favourite while the 60+ players will get their opportunity on court, also.
The men’s singles won’t be the only thing on MacKay’s mind with he and Lamb preparing to team up once again in their bid to defend the doubles crown.
The two are once again top seeds in the 40+ category, one of four duos who scooped the prizes 12 months ago who are looking to do the same again.
That includes Craig Robertson at 45+ level, although this year he partners Chris Middleton instead of Alan McMillan, and Ross Gladwin and Steve Thomson five years their seniors, though the latter pair have to make do with being the second seeds on this occasion.
From champions last year to second seeds this, it’s sure to be an exciting competition for Anne Robertson and Travers in the women’s doubles.
Last year this was Travers’ second title after her fruitful women’s singles outing but she’s sure to have her work cut out if the double is to be achieved this time around.
That’s because Louise Culyer and Tracy Hutchinson take their places as top seeds this time around, in opposing groups in the round-robin stage.
That’s in the 45+ category while the 50+ competition will also see a team look to repeat their feats of last year, this time Alison Johnston and Lynn Robb.
They too will have to upset this year’s formbook to do so however, up against a strong pairing in Blair and Debbie Miller in their bid for silverware.
No fewer than five of last year’s victors return to the Glasgow courts, so prepare to see some familiar faces at the top of the tree come Sunday.
Among them are Denmark’s 40+ shuttlers Brian Juul and Dorte Steenberg who wowed the crowds last year, this time having to settle for a place as No.2 seeds in the 45+ event having moved up an age category.
The same can be said for Gordon Milne and Alison Johnstone in the 50+ event, though it was as second seeds last time out where they took their place atop the podium.
Watch out for Christine Black in the 60+ category, with the Commonwealth medallist from Edinburgh 1986 a dab hand when it comes to this competition, again teaming up with Dan Travers.
They will have their work cut out if they want to retain their title, with 60+ Mixed Doubles World Champions Ian Purton and Christine Crossley taking the position of top seeds.
Full draws and schedules are at www.tournamentsoftware.com