2018 has been a memorable year in the world of sports. The World Cup, Commonwealth Games, Winter Olympics have all taken place, and that’s before we get to the excitement of the regular Football, Rugby, Cricket and Formula 1 seasons. Take a look below to see Ryan Evans’ highlights of the year…
1. World Cup
Following fears for safety of English fans, concerns of racial abuse and widespread negativity over the Three Lions’ chances, this year’s World Cup will go down in memory. Coupled with the unprecedented heatwave, the feel good factor that surrounded the nation for a couple of months this summer is certainly something that hasn’t been seen in my lifetime. Harry Kane became the first English player to win the Golden Boot since Gary Lineker in 1986, the country fell in love with Gareth Southgate, Kieran Trippier channelled his inner David Beckham in the semi-final and we even cheered on the “love train” at every corner. Oh, and England managed to put six past Panama in a footballing fiesta that had the country hooked. What a summer.
2. Ryder Cup
From ‘Mollywood’ to the Postman and everything in between, this year’s Ryder Cup did not disappoint. Following 2016’s 17-11 defeat, Team Europe managed to claim back the Ryder Cup in emphatic style. It was looking bad for the Europeans at 3-1 down after the first session, but their amazing 4-0 whitewash on Friday afternoon was one of the highlights of the weekend, as was the historic moment of Sergio Garcia becoming Europe’s all-time leading points scorer.
The Winter Olympics
It seems more than 10 months since the Winter Olympics – in fact, we’ve had the Beast from the East that grinded the country to a halt for a few days AND the hottest summer on record since the end of the PyeongChang games. There were hopes of medals in the Curling and Speed Skating, but whilst they ultimately ended up in disappointment, it was at the Skeleton track where British hopes were highest. After a dramatic fourth run in the women’s final, Lizzy Yarnold managed to hold off her competitors to win gold and Laura Deas snuck onto the podium in third. Dom Parsons managed another excellent bronze in the men’s Skeleton. Elsewhere, Southampton’s Billy Morgan and 20-year old Izzy Atkin became the first Brit to win a skiing gold medal. The future of winter sports in Britain is in safe hands.
Anthony Joshua retains his titles
Is there any stopping this man? He only turned professional in 2013, and since then he has gone from strength to strength. His career stats now stand at 22 wins, 21 by knockout and he’s still undefeated. AJ has had two fights this year, Joseph Parker in Cardiff and Alexander Povetkin at Wembley. The unanimous points victory over Parker back in March unified the division, and even though the dream fight of Deontay Wilder hasn’t (yet) materialised, he ended the year with yet another knockout against Povetkin in September.
England vs India, 5th Test
A manic test match to end a manic summer. It was a great game between the world’s best and third best test sides, with Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Ravindra Jadeja, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant all making significant contributions. There was also an emotional send off for Alastair Cook, England’s highest ever run scorer. He scored an astonishing 147 in his final innings, in a typical Cook display in front of a packed Oval, all determined to say ‘Thank You, Chef’. And then there’s the small matter of James Anderson taking his 564th wicket to become the world’s most successful fast bowler. What a way to end the summer.