In the first instalment of a regular series focusing on sport in the North of England, Margaret Brecknell examines stories from last month as well as looking forward to what’s on in July.
Men’s Football World Cup
Unless you have been marooned on a desert island, you’ll have noticed that the FIFA World Cup Finals kicked off in Russia on June 14. Yorkshire is particularly well represented in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England squad with no fewer than seven players born in the White Rose county. Award yourself a gold star if you can name them all (answer at the bottom). Southgate himself was born in Watford but now lives near Harrogate so may well feel like an honorary Yorkshireman too.
Women’s Football World Cup
Meanwhile, England’s women took a step nearer to qualification for next year’s World Cup Finals in France with a comfortable 3-1 win over Russia in Moscow. Manchester City’s Jill Scott (2) and Nikita Parris were the goal-scorers.
Sir Kenny Dalglish
The man known as King Kenny was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. The award recognises not only his outstanding career in football, but also his cancer charity work and the tireless support he has given to families affected by the Hillsborough tragedy.
Tunisian Ons Jabeur won the annual Fuzion 100 Manchester Trophy which was held in Didsbury from June 9-16. The former French Open Girls Singles Champion defeated Sara Sarribes Tormo from Spain in the Final. Stockport’s Naomi Broady had a great run in the Doubles with her partner Asia Muhammed before losing a close final to the Thai/Indian pairing of Kumkum and Thombare.
In their first match since being beaten by Australia in last December’s World Cup Final, England pulled off an impressive 36-18 victory against New Zealand on June 23. There were impressive England debuts for Hull’s Jake Connor and St Helens’ Tommy Makinson, with both players scoring tries. The game was held in the unlikely setting of the Mile High Stadium, home of NFL side Denver Broncos, in an attempt to promote Rugby League in the US ahead of the 2025 World Cup which will be held there.
Nick Matthew’s 20-year career came to an end when he lost to Ali Farag in the semi-finals of the World Series Finals in Dubai. Sheffield-born Matthew won three World Open and British Open titles during a glittering career, as well as being awarded an OBE in 2015 for his services to the sport.
In the women’s tournament, Chorley’s Laura Massaro was hoping to complete a hat trick of titles, having been the 2016 and 2017 winner. However, despite winning her first two round-robin matches, she failed to qualify for the knockout stages after losing her final group match to France’s Camille Serme.
Bury’s Adam Yates will be leading the Mitchelton-Scott team during the annual three-week race. Can he go one better than his twin brother Simon who led the recent Giro D’Italia until the latter stages when he was overtaken by the eventual winner Chris Froome?
Can Southport’s Tommy Fleetwood improve on his second-place finish at the US Open and come out on top at the British Open? This year’s tournament will be held at Carnoustie from July 19-22.
The Clarets begin their Europa League campaign against Aberdeen at Pittodrie on July 26. No passports required for this fixture but it marks a return to European football for the first time in 51 years.
Ironman UK Triathlon
Why not and go support the extraordinary athletes who will be taking part in this endurance race in Bolton on July 15? As well as running a full marathon, competitors will start with a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile (yes, you read that correctly) bike ride.
Main image courtesy of the National Football Museum; other images by Chris Payne
World Cup Answer: The seven Yorkshire-born players in England’s World Cup squad are Harry Maguire, Kyle Walker, Gary Cahill and Jamie Vardy (all born in Sheffield), Danny Rose (Doncaster), John Stones (Barnsley) and Fabian Delph (Bradford).