The bad news is that the glorious summer weather has disappeared as quickly as it arrived. The good news is that there’s plenty of sporting action to enjoy as we head into autumn. In this month’s sports column, Margaret Brecknell looks back at some of August’s sporting highlights from the North, before previewing what we can look forward to in September.
The European Athletics Championship in Berlin proved to be a happy hunting ground for two of Liverpool Harriers’ most popular athletes. Anyika Onuroa, who was featured in last month’s round-up, was a member of the GB quartet who picked up a bronze medal in the 400 metres relay. Meanwhile, in a closely fought heptathlon, Katarina Johnson-Thompson recorded a personal best score of 6759 points, finishing second behind Olympic and World champion Nafi Thiam. Like KJT, Preston-born Holly Bradshaw has narrowly missed out on a medal at major championships on more than one occasion previously, so it was good to see her win a bronze medal in the pole vault.
Football – Burnley in Europe
In Burnley’s first European campaign for 51 years, the Clarets came tantalisingly close to reaching the group stages of the Europa League but were unable to overcome Greek side Olympiakos in the play-off round. Burnley was beaten 4-2 on aggregate following a 1-1 draw in the second leg at Turf Moor on August 30. It was a poignant night for Clarets fans as this was the club’s first home game since the death of Clarets legend Jimmy McIlroy earlier in the month.
Football – Manchester United Women
Manchester United Women won their first competitive game since 2005 when they had a 1-0 away win at Liverpool in the FA Women’s League Cup on August 19. United women’s team was only relaunched in May after a 13-year absence. The team will compete in the second tier of English women’s football this year, having been accepted into the FA Women’s Championship.
Catalan Dragons defeated Warrington Wolves 20-14 in a historic Challenge Cup Final at Wembley. The French side are the first non-English team to win the competition in its 121-year history.
Meanwhile, Warrington Wolves Physical Disability Rugby League team are set to take part in the inaugural Disability Rugby League World Cup Challenge in Australia. The Warrington side will play South Sydney Rabbitohs on August 30. The first ever PDRL game in the UK was only played in February of this year, but the sport has already proved popular and it’s hoped a UK league will be formed in time for the coming season.
Beach volleyball may be more readily associated with exotic far off locations such as Hawaii and Rio de Janeiro than the Yorkshire town of Bridlington. However, the East Yorkshire coastal resort hosted a highly successful beach volleyball festival earlier this month. The festival attracted more than 1,000 players and spectators.
COMING UP IN SEPTEMBER
Lancashire is one of four counties to qualify for the T20 Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston on September 15. The Red Rose county will join Worcestershire, Sussex and Somerset in competing for the T20 Trophy on what is always an action-packed day.
Great North Run
The largest half marathon in the world takes place on September 9. The 13.1-mile course starts in Newcastle city centre and ends on the coast at South Shields. Sir Mo Farah will be looking to win the men’s race for a record fifth year in a row.
The annual four-day St Leger Meeting will be held at Doncaster Racecourse from September 12 to 15. The Festival will include Legends, Ladies and Gentleman’s Days before concluding on Saturday September 15 with the running of the St Leger, the world’s oldest classic horse race.
AND ONE FOR THE 2019 DIARY
Netball World Cup
The Netball World Cup will be held in Liverpool from July 12-21 next year. Tickets will go on sale on September 19 and are expected to be in high demand following the England team’s shock victory over favourites Australia in the final of the Commonwealth Games earlier this year.
(Main image: a Burnley football programme from one of the club’s recent European ties)