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 playShabana, he is an absolute legend of the game.”
TUESDAY 3rd Sep – Round One:
 Ben Coleman 3-0 Lyell Fuller 12/10, 11/7, 11/4 (42m)
[3/4] James Earles 3-0 Ashley Davies 11/7, 11/6, 11/3 (36m)
Richie Fallows 3-3-1 [3/4] Tom Ford 13/11, 5/11, 11/9, 11/6 (55m)
 Declan James 3-1 Bradley Smith 9/11, 11/9, 11/5, 11/3 (58m)
WEDNESDAY 4th Sep –
Ben Coleman 3-0 James Earles 11/8, 11/8, 8 11/4 (37m)
Declan James 3-1 Richie Fallows 8/11, 12/10, 11/7, 11/9 (58m)
Ben Coleman bt Declan James 11/8, 9/11, 11/9, 11/7 (83m)
Coleman and James through to Wildcard final
Ben Coleman moved into the final of the World Champs Wildcard event with a good 3-0 victory over James Earles.
Coleman was steady with his play from the off and moved quickly around the court, retrieving well and putting pressure on Earles. Earles competed well but too many unforced errors were his downfall today, Coleman kept the pressure on throughout and after taking a 2 game lead started to dominate in the third going 8-2 up before taking it 11-4.
Good drives, good drops and excellent retrieving from Coleman saw him move into the final.
This second semi final was played out at a furious pace with Declan James and Richie Fallows hitting plenty of cross courts, boasts and drops. Fallows took the early advantage by taking the first game 11-8, the second game was very tight 5-5, 6-6, 7-7, Fallows found himself at game ball 10-8 up but James kept his focus and got back to a tie break and eventually 11-10 up,
Fallows tried to kill the serve but found the tin instead, 12-10 and game to James. The third and fourth games were similar, still being played at a fast pace but errors slowly started to creep into Fallows game, James stayed focused and used his experience to keep his composure when it mattered as he booked his place in the final with a 3-1 victory.
British Under 23 champion Ben Coleman is among eight hopefuls chasing a starting spot in the 2013 AJ Bell World Squash Championship.
A semi-finalist in this year’s PSA Gibraltar Open and quarter-finalist in the Las Vegas Open, Coleman is top seed in a two-day, wild card event starting at the National Squash Centre, Manchester today .
The winner of tomorrow’s final will receive a place in the 64 player main draw for the AJ Bell World Squash Championship, in which Egypt’s Ramy Ashour defends the world title he won in Doha last December – and will be bidding for a third winner’s trophy after his success in Manchester in 2008.
Chelmsford based Coleman, who starts his campaign against 17-year-old
from Exeter, is seeded to meet Declan James, 2012 English and European Under 19 champion, in the final.
James, 20, opens up against Bradley Smith from Chorley and is full of confidence after claiming his first PSA title in last month’s Mantis Open final in his home town of Nottingham.
Yorkshire hope James Earles from Hull, a former British Under 19 champion, tackles Ashley Davies of Chesterfield, while Gloucestershire born Tom Ford, seeded 3/4, completes the draw against London teenager Richie Fallows.
The eventual winner will take his place in the main draw, while the runner-up plus 3rd/4th play-off winner will be granted places in the qualifying tournament for the 2013 AJ Bell World Squash Championship.
The 2013 AJ Bell World Squash Championship takes place from October 26 to November 3 and forms part of UK Sport’s Gold Events series.
Tickets are now available from Ticketmaster by ringing 0844 847 2508 or visiting www.AJBellworldsquashchamps.co.uk