Coleman Secures Unbelievable Opportunity
Essex’s Ben Coleman has secured a once in a lifetime chance to take part in the world’s largest squash tournament.
The 22-year-old won his place into the main draw of the AJ Bell World Squash Championship after beating Declan James in today’s wildcard final.
The world no.85 was overjoyed after confirming his place in what will be the biggest match of his career commenting, “It means everything to me, it’s my ambition to be one of the best squash players in the world so there’s no better way than to play the best, on the biggest stage in the world and in my home country. I’m excited already just speaking about it!”
The current British U23 Champion came through a tough battle with Declan James after a tense final with both players matching each other point for point and with such a fantastic prize it was clear to see each rally was being fought for.
“Going into the final I knew there was so much at stake – this one match would guarantee me a place in the World Open draw so I had to be on my game. It’s just unbelievable for me to think that I’ll now be in the main draw,” said Coleman.
Coleman took the early advantage, at 8-8 in the first he kept focused and pulled away to take the game 11-9. James responded in the second going into an early 6-2 lead only for Coleman to get back level at 8-8, as the pace quickened and the players jostled for position Coleman received two strokes against him which gave James game ball which he duly took advantage of to level the tie, taking the game 11-9.
James once again started well in the third as he raced into a 6-3 lead only for Coleman to once again show his desire and determination as he managed to pull that lead back and at 9-9 it was Coleman who took the game 11-9. The momentum from taking the 2-1 lead stayed with Coleman as he started the fourth game well and not giving James much to capitalise on, James battled hard and got back into the game but he couldn’t do enough to stop Coleman winning the game 11-7, the match 3-1 in a mammoth 83 minutes and from claiming his place in the AJ Bell World Squash Championships.
Speaking about his opponent Coleman explained, “I haven’t played Declan much recently but the last time we played it was 3-2 so I knew it was going to be close. He’s playing really well at the moment, he recently just won a tournament so I knew I had to play at my best to beat him and luckily I did that.
“I’m so grateful to Daryl (Selby) and Peter (Barker) for their support, I hope one day I can replicate what they have achieved. I want to thank my coach Paul Carter and Lee Drew for all the work they have put in and my strength and conditioning coach Tony Sephton,” he added.
All of England’s most promising young stars were out in force over the last two days at the National Squash Centre to fight for the wildcard spot. Coleman started his campaign with a 3-0 win over Exeter’s Lyell Fuller before facing Yorkshires former British U19 Champion James Earles in the semi final. Earles fought well but was unable to stop Coleman from progressing with a 3-0 victory. James, the second seed had a slightly tougher run to the final as he twice came from behind to take 3-1 victories over Bradley Smith and then Richie Fallows who had previously knocked out the 3/4 Tom Ford.
Coleman will now only have to wait 24 hours to find out who he may face in what will be the biggest game of his career so far with the draw being done at the Midland Hotel in Manchester tomorrow.
Commenting on the live draw Coleman smiled and said, “I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on that one, I would love to play Shabana, he is an absolute legend of the game.”