2022 SPORT HIGHLIGHTS – HIGHS AND LOWS OF THE YEAR SO FAR…

in Features/Sport Insight

JANUARY

3rd:

Darts supplied the year’s first world champion when Scot Peter “Snakebite” Wright won his second PDC World Open title and with it a cool half-a-million quid when beating Michael Smith 7-5 in the final at Alexandra Palace, London.

16th:

Australia complete a 4-0 humiliation of an abject England side in the Ashes cricket series Down Under.

29th:

Ash Barty thrilled an ecstatic Melbourne Rod Laver Arena when she became the first home  player since 1978 to win the Australia Ladies Open, beating American Danielle Collins in straight sets in the final.

30th:

Rafael Nadal roared back from two sets down to overcome Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in an epic 5hr-24min Australia Men’s Open final, giving the 35-year-old Spaniard a record 21st slam. Sadly, the tournament will probably be best remembered for the deportation of unvaccinated defending champion Novak Djokovic.

FEBRUARY

6th:
Round One of rugby’s Six Nations sees Scotland retain the Calcutta Cup, controversially edging out England 20-17 at Murrayfield.

13th:
Los Angeles Rams grab victory from the jaws of defeat courtesy of a last-minute Touchdown to pip Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in a thrilling NFL Super Bowl final.

20th:
The charming sport of Curling supplied Team GB’s total tally of two medals in the Beijing Winter Olympics, with gold coming in the Women’s final to add to the silver gained in the Men’s event the previous day.

27th:
The Carabao Cup Final between Liverpool and Chelsea produced a pulsating 0-0 draw with the Men from the Mersey clinching victory 11-10 in a bottom-clenching penalty shootout.

March

4th:
Australia and the world of cricket recoiled in disbelief at the news of the sudden death at age 52 of Shane Warne, universally acclaimed as the world’s best-ever spin bowler, following on from the passing of another Aussie cricket legend Rodney Marsh, aged 74, just a few hours earlier.

18th:
Rachael Blackmore became the first female rider to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup when guiding A Plus Tard to victory, the historic event coming just three days after the Tipperary girl retained the Champion Hurdle crown aboard Honeysuckle at the festival.

19th:
France clinched the Grand Slam when comfortably brushing England aside in the Six Nations Championship in Paris, while Ireland lifted the Triple Crown when routing Scotland in Dublin.

23rd:
Reigning world number one and holder of both the Australian and British Open titles Ash Barty shocked the tennis world by announcing her retirement from the game at the tender age of 25.

26th:
Robert Milkins pocketed the £50,000 first prize when he beat Kyren Wilson 4-2 in an all-English final of the Gibraltar Snooker Open at the Europa Sports Complex.

April

9th:
Ridden by amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen, Irish-trained surprise packet Noble Yeats won the Aintree Grand National at odds of 50/1.

10th:
Scottie Scheffler lived up to his world number one ranking when easily winning the US Masters at Augusta, the 25-year old American donning the famous green jacket and trousering  an eye-watering first prize of 2.7 million dollars.

May

2nd:
‘Rocket  Ronnie’ O’Sullivan pocketed his seventh World Snooker Championship title and half-a-million sterling when easily snookering Judd Trump 18-13 at The Crucible, Sheffield. 

14th:
It was deja vu on the double as Liverpool added the FA Cup to their Carabao triumph, with Chelsea again succumbing in the final, and once more the tie was decided only after a tense penalty-shootout, which the Men in Red won 6-5.

18th:
Heartbreak for Rangers in the Europa League Final, when the Glasgow giants were pipped in a penalty shootout by German side Eintracht Frankfurt.

22nd:
Manchester City clinched their sixth Premier League title in spectacular fashion, coming from two goals down against Aston Villa to win 3-2 and consigning arch-rivals Liverpool to the runners-up spot.

28th:
More misery for Liverpool as the Mersey men falter in the Champions League Final in Paris, cruelly losing 1-0 to Real Madrid, despite totally dominating the game, but unable to beat inspired ‘keeper Courtois.

29th:
Racing legend Lester Piggott, the greatest jockey of all time, dies in a Geneva hospital, aged 86.

June

5th:
Wales seal their place at the Qatar 2022 World Cup finals, beating Ukraine 1-0 in playoff at the Cardiff City Stadium.

12th:
Legendary Wales rugby union flyhalf Phil Bennett passed away, aged 73.

19th:
Sheffield’s Matt Fitzpatrick, 27, wins the US Golf Open at Brookline Massachusetts.

July

3rd:
Spain’s Carlos Sainz triumphs in a thrilling F1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

9th:
Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina came from a set down to beat Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in the Wimbledon Ladies final.

10th:
Super Serb Novak Djokovic captures his seventh Wimbledon Men’s title, comfortably seeing off the challenge of volatile Aussie Nick Kyrgios.

17th:
Australian golfing sensation Cameron Smith won the 150th British Open at St Andrews, thrillingly coming from four shots down on the final day to lift the Claret Jug.

31st:

England were crowned UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 champions with a dramatic 2-1 extra-time victory against Germany to win their first major title in front of a record crowd. 


Nothing could separate the sides after a physical first half, before Ella Toone’s outrageous chip put England ahead and blew the roof off Wembley. 


Germany found themselves back in it 17 minutes later though, as Lina Magull finally got past a stoic Mary Earps to take the game to extra-time. 


But substitute Chloe Kelly provided the decisive goal on 110 minutes, poking home from close-range before wheeling away in celebration in front of 87,192 fans. 

August

6th:
Premier League football kicks off earlier than usual because of the mid-season suspension owing to the Qatar World Cup. At time of writing I’m deliriously happy because my beloved Arsenal proudly sit atop the table, a full five points clear of nearest pursuer, defending champions Man City.

September

8th
The sporting world united in grief at the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

11th:
Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaras, a mere 19, captures the US Men’s Tennis Singles title, beating Norway’s Casper Ruud in the all-European final in New York.

23rd:
Not a dry eye in the house, among the ladies anyway, as Roger Federer confirms his retirement after defeat in Laver Cup doubles with his close friend Rafael Nadal, a stubborn knee injury forcing the elegant Swiss to call an end to his stellar career.

October

9th:
Max Verstappen clinches his second  F1 championship when winning the Japan Grand Prix.

November

12th:
Heartbreak for England Women as they lose a dramatic Rugby Union World Cup Final 34-31 to New Zealand at Eden Park.

13th:
Better news next day as England triumph Down Under in Melbourne, when the Red Roses pruned Pakistan, comfortably capturing the T20 World Cup for the second time.

Qatar World Cup: November 20 – December 18

Another World Cup, this time it’s the turn of the footy boys to travel, and as I write the Wales and England teams are airborne, enroute to their date with destiny in the Middle East –  we wish both squads well  in their quest for glory.

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