Boxing Day 2014 and after enjoying the success of seeing Silviniaco Conti winning his second King George on the box it was time for tea,during the meal and watching the various tv specials I noticed that the dreaded snow was coming down.
Now while many people love the snow as a racing fan it is totally disliked which meant this weeks plan to go racing at Doncaster and Haydock was shelved hence this write up.
2014 was a fair year on the sporting front and I shall going through a few highlights of the events I’ve been to this year but doing it sport by sport as opposed to the full twelve months of the year.
The main sport that I go to this year had the usual good mix of quality from the jumps to the flat.
On the flat I went to Haydock,York,Doncaster and Thirsk which was a small amount of courses but some nice events were seen never the less
Flat wise the main highlights for me were seeing Chatez winning the Silver Bowl in May,although it rained solidly all day with Monsoon like conditions Chatez battled through and being trained by Alan King he has made a solid start to his hurdles career.
The other main highlight was at Doncaster in May at an evening meeting on 2000 Guineas day when in the first race a Luca Cumani trained 4yo filly called Silk Sari took an apprentice race with consummate ease,quickly she went down as a horse to follow and back at Doncaster’s Leger meeting duly hacked up in the Park Hill Stakes.
Over the jumps another rich abundance was brought before my eyes.
Silviniaco Conti showed his love of racing in the North West when wining the Betfred Bowl at Aintree then in November getting his second Betfair Chase,the main question has to be can he win the Gold Cup, like many I would love to see him do it but that hill does seem to find him out.
Holywell taking the Mildmay Novices on Ladies Day of the National meeting was a tremendous performance,he hasn’t begun the season as he finished it but comes to his own in the spring and remains a potential Gold Cup horse come March.
The New One took the Aintree Hurdle before taking the new Price Rush Hurdle in November,I still don’t think he will win the Champion as I think he performs a lot better over 2m4f.
Of the rest seeing The Young Master win at Cheltenham in October was a delight as he showed the attitude of a horse going the right way,despite the cock up in communications concerning his Wincanton win he his still improving and a few weeks later the evergreen Wishful Thinking defied the years when he emphatically took the Old Roan Chase at Aintree.
Jockey wise one to watch over the coming years for me had to be Jack Sherwood,his win at Ayr for Paul Nicholls on Silsol was a good piece of riding and the way he kicked on down the back straight was really enjoyably to see.
I only got to a handful of games this year with the North West Counties League being the main one due to the nice cost of £5 with good quality clubhouses.
Of the matches the most viewed one on here was the Atherton LR v Eccleshall in August,this was a most entertaining match which saw the home teams Goalkeeper getting sent off in a thrilling 2-2 draw.
Another highlight was just before Christmas in an Evo Stik League One North match as Droylsden battled back from being 3-1 down to win 5-3 on a cold December afternoon.
The other game which I enjoyed was seeing Atherton Colls play 1874 Northwich in front of a huge crowd of 236,this was a tough old game with no quarter given which resulted in the away side getting a 1-0 win.
I only went to four athletics events this year beginning in January at the Greater Manchester Cross Country in Leigh, the main highlight being the Leigh Harriers Ladies team getting the first four home in the Senior race over the muddy terrain.
In October the Red Rose Lancashire Cross Country began the first of it’s four race series in Leigh and one young athlete who won the U13G race in January did so again here in Keely Hodgkinson who has the mark of an athlete going places, she is one to watch over the next few years.
February saw me at Sheffield for the British Indoor Champs at the English Institute of Sport, a real top class venue it played host to some top names and top performances, on the track the class acts included Dina Asher-Smith in the 200m,Margaret Adeyoe over 400m and Laura Muir in the 800m all showing their class on the track.
June though was a great afternoon in Birmingham for final day of the British Championship at the excellent Alexandra Stadium.
On the day I saw Dwain Chambers roll back the years as he stormed to another 100m title,Lynsey Sharp and Eilidh Child both had years to remember with their victories both respectively in the 800m and 400mH form part of an amazing summer as they also took medals in the Commonwealth Games at Hampden Park.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson remains an athlete with lots of good days ahead of her, taking the Triple Jump the Liverpudlian Heptathlete is a fine
prospect for Rio, Jodie Williams is a fine sprinter too and on the up.
For me though the best athletics event I was witness to was the Women’s 5000m which produced a real battle between eventual winner Emelia Gorecka and European 10k Champion Jo Pavey, this was real heart in mouth stuff and they both slugged out the last lap like two prize fighters in the sort of finish you would pay to see.
It’s a race I was so proud to have seen,a great advert for athletics with both giving it everything then giving each other a warm sporting embrace after the finish.
I love the way that British Athletics run their events, always something to see as the day goes on plus the competitors themselves are so open to fans and media friendly, Plenty of sports can learn from this.
I was only in Glasgow for a couple of days this summer but the whole city opened it’s arms up and welcomed the world to the Friendly Games.
Saturday evening saw me at Kelvingrove Hall for the Lawn Bowls, an enjoyable evening seeing England and Devon’s Natalie Melmore just get the better in a final bowl against Scotland’s Caroline Brown 21-20 in the Women’s Singles Quarter Final,as someone who had never been to a match before I was totally enthralled by this and Natalie was so pleasant to chat with after I got a pic with her,she eventually got a sliver medal in the final.
Sundays double header began with a morning at Glasgow Green to watch the Marathons, I was there for about Five hours in total but the company I was with meant it flew by for a lovely time.
After that it was off to Ibrox for the finals of the Rugby Sevens and seeing a total of eleven matches at the home of Rangers FC.
Highlights included seeing England winning two matches the most exciting one being against Wales with the last play of the game 17-15 and the 15-12 against Scotland.
I’ve never seen such a sporting crowd than the one at the Sevens, the teams were all treated with the same respect and huge cheers were drawn when going on their respective laps of honour after the matches.
The Gold Medal went to South Africa who took the scalp of New Zealand 17-12.
An enjoyable year then of going to see live sport, 2015 should be a busy year although I won’t be going to the Rugby World Cup due to the silly ticket prices.
One thing I have learnt and enjoyed is the attending of sport at grassroots level
It’s not all about being in the big stadiums paying astronomic prices, the competitors have to begin somewhere and it’s vital for the development over the years.
I would like to wish you all a Happy 2015 and thank you for reading and sharing the blog as it enters it’s third year of production.