A special sporting year
Looking back on 2019 it’s been yet another outstanding year of sport. Not only in terms of achievement but for sheer drama.
It’s also felt like a hugely transformational sporting year for women that shows no signs of letting up. Currently, Fallon Sherrock is through to third round of the World Darts Championship having already taken care of the 11th seed. Sherrock is the first woman to beat a man at the PDC World Championships and with the way she’s playing it wouldn’t be a shock if she won the entire tournament. Sherrock’s achievement comes off the back of the FIFA Women’s World Cup which saw record viewing figures globally and in this country and the Lionesses got to the semi-final before finally being beaten by eventual winners USA. The popularity of Women’s football has surged with over 90,000 packing out Wembley to see the most recent International. If we cast our minds back to March then we can all remember Bryony Frost who won the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase on Frodon and gave the sports most inspiring interview afterwards. Frost would go on to win jockey of the year at the recent BHA Awards.
It’s been quite the year for young talent as well. Coco Gauff, at just 15, beat Venus Williams at Wimbledon and went on to win a WTA event later in the year. Remember Gauff’s name because she’s the sports next super star. Simone Biles became the first woman to land two skills thought impossible on her way to five out of six world title golds and in doing so became the most decorated gymnast of all time at world championships with 25 medals across five competitions. Meanwhile, in cricket, Jofra Archer exploded onto the scene as he helped England win their first ever Cricket World Cup. Archer took 20 wickets as batsmen struggled to deal with his raw pace. Such was his impact he was entrusted to bowl the crucial super over. In F1 Hamilton has dominated but there are two young pretenders who are ready to step into his shoes. Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen have had up and down seasons but both have won and both are improving and are undoubtedly the next big stars of motorsport. Kylian Mbappé is already football’s next superstar and the heir to the Ronaldo/Messi throne. At 21, Messi had scored 48 and Ronaldo 27. Mbappé has 103 goals and there’s no telling where his ceiling is.
2019 has also been the year of the comeback. Who can forget those amazing European nights. Liverpool pulled off the impossible and beat Barcelona 4-0 to qualify for the Champions League final and we barely had time to breathe before Spurs scored 3 goals in 20 minutes to rescue their Champions League dream. Speaking of comebacks, that takes us nicely to Tiger Woods. Woods had not won a major since 2008 and almost everyone in the sport said he was done. He dropped out of the world top 1000 but there were signs before the Masters he was returning to Woods of old but it was still a huge leap of faith to think he could win the Green Jacket. That last round was vintage Woods. He simply did what he had to do. He played with absolute control and let others around him, like Molinari, implode. Meanwhile, at the start of the year it looked all over for Andy Murray but by the end of the year he’d won a doubles title, helped Britain to the Davis Cup Semi Final’s and even won his first tennis title in well over a year. Perhaps 2020 will be Murray’s year? 2019’s hero though comes in the form of Ben Stokes. Stokes, who had been arrested 12 months earlier, won the World Cup for England and then went on to play one of the greatest Test Innings ever seen against Australia six weeks later. It was Stokes’ summer and he would rightly win Sports Personality of the Year.
The sporting highlights don’t end there. England pulverised New Zealand before falling short in the Rugby World Cup Final. Dina Asher Smith won gold for the 200m at the World Championships. Koepka continued to dominate the world of golf although Rory Mcilroy also enjoyed a stellar year. In the world of Boxing Joshua suffered a surprise loss before enjoying redemption earlier this month. Meanwhile Fury served it up to Wilder only for the fight to be declared a tie. The two look sure to battle it out next month.
We’ve enjoyed providing hospitality for thousands of customers to all of these sporting events and 2020 promises to be even bigger and you wouldn’t bet against it being even better.
What do you think? England to win Euro 2020, Tiger Roll to win a third Grand National, Murray to win Wimbledon, Woods to win the Masters again and Britain to enjoy a record medal haul at the Olympics? It’s good to dream isn’t it…