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What is your sporting highlight of 2019?

As another year draws to a close, it seems a fitting time to reflect on some of the brilliant sporting action we’ve been treated to during 2019. Playfinder have picked out 10 moments from another fully stacked, drama filled and emotional year. What’s your sporting highlight?

1. Manchester City vs Liverpool – Premier League title race, March – May 

Not just one moment, but my word what a title race. Over the year’s, we have been accustomed to the Premier League leaders slipping up and dropping points, mainly due to ‘pressure’. But the faultless end to the season from both Manchester City and Liverpool is something we’re unlikely to see again. Pep Guardiola’s men winning their last 14 games to retain the title – amassing 98 points in the process. Liverpool, on 97 points having lost just one game, will feel hard done by. Will this year finally be their year?

2. England Lionesses – World Cup semi-final run, France 7 June – 7 July

Phil Neville led the Lionesses to the World Cup semi-finals during his debut major tournament as manager. It was a tournament that captured the hearts of the nation, exemplified by England vs USA being the most watch televised programme of the year. After storming through the group, and then the last-16 and 1/4 finals against Cameroon and Norway respectively – interest grew to new levels. Ultimately the Lionesses fell just short against the eventual winners USA, but it was a superb run and event as a whole.

3. England Roses – Netball World Cup bronze medal – Liverpool 12-21 July

Phil’s sister, Tracey, was also busy leading the national side into a World Cup this summer. Interest in netball has been steadily growing following England’s dramatic Commonwealth gold against rivals Australia. There was real belief that the Roses would go far in this tournament, although Australia and New Zealand were overwhelming favourites. Neville led England to the semi-finals where they came up just short, losing 47-45 to the Silver Ferns. England did claim bronze however, beating South Africa and making the nation proud.

4. England beat New Zealand in Cricket World Cup Final @ Lords, 14 July

Without a doubt, the most dramatic Cricket World Cup final to date. After 6 weeks and 48 matches, England and New Zealand couldn’t be separated after 100 overs, with each side amassing 241 runs. A super over. Still they couldn’t be separated, both scoring 15 of their 6 deliveries. The hosts were declared winners after a ‘boundary count back’ – having hit 26 compared to the Kiwis 17. It was truly sporting theatre at its finest. Ben Stokes again the hero for England rounding off a stupendous summer of cricket.

5. Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer – Wimbledon Final, 14 July 

One of the most dramatic Wimbledon finals we’ve seen, a classic five-setter and one that will also be remembered as the first ever Wimbledon match to be decided by tie-break in the final set. The rule being introduced just prior to the tournament following numerous games resulting in mammoth scores. John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut’s 70-68 final set comes to mind. But this final was a match between two of the greatest players of all time, with so much high quality tennis on display. Ultimately, Djokovic prevailed to claim his 5th Wimbledon title.

6. Ben Stokes 135* vs Australia – 3rd Ashes Test @ Headingley, 25 August

Debatably the greatest ever Test innings, England found themselves in a perilous position at Headingley against Australia in the 3rd Ashes Test. Requiring 359 to keep the series alive, a flurry of afternoon wickets left the hosts on 286/9 with Jack Leach coming to the crease. An extraordinary innings from Stokes that had brawn and finesse eventually saw England home in the most dramatic of circumstances after drama galore. A notable mention must go to Leach who’s 1* may go down as the best ever 1 in Test history. Your sporting highlight of the year?

7. Dina Asher-Smith Gold and Silver medals Athletics World Championships – Doha 27 Sep – 6 Oct

Dina Asher Smith is quickly becoming a household name within the UK, and still has so many years left at elite level. Aged just 23, Asher-Smith was hopeful of securing a double World Championship gold in Doha in the 100 and 200m. After being pipped to gold in the 100m, the Brit absolutely destroyed the field in the 200m and claimed her first gold medal at a major championships. A phenomenal effort.

8. Katarina Johnson-Thompson Heptathlon Gold medal – Athletics World Championships, Doha 27 Sep – 6 Oct

One of the golden girls of British Athletics, Katarina Johnson-Thompson has admirably taken over the reigns from Jessica Ennis-Hill as being one of the world’s dominant heptathletes. Her continuous battle with Belgian’s Nafi Thiam is hopefully one we will see for many years. However, the Brit finally got the better of Thiam at this year’s World Championships. In fact, Johnson-Thompson set a new PB and was in the form of her life and claimed the gold medal in style.

9. England 19 – 7 New Zealand – Rugby World Cup – Yokohoma, 26 October

A match that will live long in the memory of any rugby fan or non-rugby fan for that matter. Topping the World Cup holders and overwhelming favourites, the All-Blacks. Certainly makes a case for sporting highlight of the year. It wasn’t just the result – which was spectacular – it was the manner of the performance. Eddie Jones’ troops made the Kiwis look average, not giving them a chance to play for 80 minutes, bar a defensive line-out mistake. It was a result that sent reverberations around the rugby world. Let’s forget about the final though.

10. Lewis Hamilton’s 6th F1 World Championship win – Texas, 4 November

Lewis Hamilton’s achievements have undeservedly gone under the radar in recent years, but what he has done is truly remarkable. Perhaps it is the sense of inevitability that he is going to win, but nonetheless to win his 6th World Championship at 34 needs to be held in such high regard. Hamilton will go down as an all-time great after securing the Championship in Texas – he now sits just one behind the great Michael Schumacher.

(11…) *Anthony Joshua becomes a two-time Heavyweight Champion of the World?* – Dirayah, 7 December

UK boxing fans will all be watching Saturday night as Anthony Joshua aims to reclaim his heavyweight titles from Mexican-American Andy Ruiz Jr. After one of the sports biggest upsets on June 1, the whole world is divided on who will reign victorious this weekend. Repeat or revenge?

If you want to try and recreate a sporting highlight listed above, why not hire a pitch, court or track through Playfinder.

Image credit: Instagram – Claudioindependent