FIVE former champions are among the contenders to win this year’s edition of the Rudheath Spring Open, which starts on Saturday.

Whitefield ace Gary Ellis, victor in 2011, is in the field for this weekend’s opening qualifier at the Middlewich Road venue, where play begins at 5.30pm.

Two bowlers progress to the final from each of eight preliminary rounds, with the final scheduled for the end of May.

The winner receives £600 from a £2,400 prize pot.