Vail salutes another Classic

Ben Coleman, left, and Rui Soares also did battle in the 2015 final
Ben Coleman, left, and Rui Soares also did battle in the 2015 final
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Ben Coleman celebrated victory in the Solent Classic last month, writes Tom Bonnett.

The world number 52 defeated Rui Soares 7-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-7 in a repeat of the 2015 final at Lee-on-the-Solent Tennis, Squash & Fitness Club.

Kace Bartley clinched victory in the women’s draw after her final opponent, Lily Taylor, had to withdraw through injury.

The tournament, which is part of the BSPA UK Grand Prix and took place alongside an adult graded competition, attracted some of the best players in the world.

Lee’s head squad professional Tim Vail was delighted with the latest event.

And he is already looking forward to next year, when he will hope to avoid the broken wrist which forced him to sit out of the event for the first time in 11 seasons.

Vail said: ‘The Solent Classic was very successful.

‘We drew in big crowds because of the two events playing alongside each other.

‘There were friends and family for all the competitors which meant there were lots of people watching from start to finish.

‘The weekend was great and we already look forward to hosting it again.’

Coleman overcame the threat of Joe Green in straight sets in his semi-final.

But not before Vail had to intervene.

The organiser added: ‘I just had to pull them to one side and remind them there were a lot of people watching, who were there to see good squash.

‘They were not there to see arguing and blocking. They were fine after that.’

Meanwhile, Portuguese number one Soares came through a marathon clash with Lance Beddoes 12-10, 10-12, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6.

Soares was hoping to avenge his 2015 defeat to Coleman in the final.

And he made a great start, taking the first two sets 11-7.

But the Brit had other ideas and fought back impressively before Soares tired.

Top women’s seed Bartley beat Alicia Mead 6-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-8 in her last-four tie.

Taylor, meanwhile, beat Lowri Roberts 11-6, 11-5, 11-6 in the other semi-final.

However, an injury to Taylor robbed the spectators of what promised to be a thrilling final.