What a year it’s been for sport in 2018 however we can’t believe it’s nearly over. The England Cricket team came back from a dismal Ashes Series in Australia, putting in a convincing performance against Sri Lanka. The Henley Regatta saw 565 crews compete in the most prestigious rowing event of the year. Wimbledon provided the tennis world with another spectacular event. Jamie Murray and Victoria Azarenka narrowly missed out on the mixed doubles title, losing 7-6, 6-3, in a thrilling final. The 6 Nations proved to be the closest tournament in recent years. On the back of England’s record-equalling winning streak, Ireland topped the table, winning the Grand Slam, beating the previous winners 24-15. Francesco Molinari led from the front at the 2018 Open Championship despite fierce competition from, British number 1, Justin Rose.
With all that not making our Top 5 list, it shows what a year we’ve been treated to in international sport. Here’s a list of our Top 5 sporting highlights of 2018, voted for in the office.
1. Ryder Cup
It was another thrilling battle between Team Europe and Team USA in the 2018 Ryder Cup on the Albatros Course in France. Despite losing their last 5 away matches, Team USA were the defending champions after a convincing 17-11 win back in 2016. The teams were captained by previous Ryder Cup players, Thomas Bjørn and Jim Furyk. Europe led from the front all the way through the tournament with fans favourite pairing, ‘Moliwood’, Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari taking 4 and 5 points respectively. Europe came away with an astounding win, beating the USA, 17.5-10.5.
2. FIFA World Cup
There’s no denying that England have underperformed in every major tournament in the past few years. But 2018 proved that selecting players on merit and not experience is the way forward for English football. Gareth Southgate put no pressure on the players, allowing them to express themselves through football which led to a considerable improvement in performances. England came second in their group, beating Tunisia 2-1, Panama 6-1 however losing to Belgium 0-1. England progressed through the round of 16 beating Colombia and then easing past Sweden 2-0. The semi-final provided the English fans with a spectacle. Tripier’s freekick will go down in history, giving fans the belief that ‘it might actually happen.’ However, the Croatians turned things around and scored the winner in extra time. It did not come home on this occasion, but the future is bright for English football.
3. Tour de France
176 riders, 22 teams, 21 stages and 3,351km of French road. Those staggering numbers bemuse non-cyclists each year, the 2018 Tour de France was the hardest and most fiercely competitive yet. Chris Froome, defending champion was the hot favourite to take the title again. He was the current holder of the Vuelta a Espana and the Giro d’Italia however this meant nothing to eventual winner and team mate, Geraint Thomas. Thomas became the first Welshman to win the overall race as a result of the teamwork and preparation done by Team Sky beforehand. This win added to Team Sky’s incredible record who have won 6 of the previous 7 tours dating back to 2012.
4. Formula 1 World Championship
Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Lewis Hamilton is one of the best drivers ever. Hamilton is just the third driver to win 5 or more driver’s World Championships, the other two being Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher. Hamilton, 33, is the same age as Schumacher was when he reached 5 World Championships. So, the question is, how much further can he go? Despite it being his worst result, 4th place was enough to secure the championship in July’s Austrian Grand Prix having almost being lapped by Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen. But take nothing away from the poor ending, Hamilton has driven superbly all year, even title rival Sebastian Vettel admitted that Hamilton “drove superb all year and was the better one of us two.”
5. Manchester City- Premier League
The 2017/18 season was a breeze for Premier League champions, Manchester City. The most notable record which they broke was secured on the last day of the league season, beating Southampton 1-0 at home. This meant that the Manchester side became the first team to reach 100 points in top flight football. However, if you think the records finish there, you’d be very wrong. City also broke the following records: Consecutive Premier League Wins (18), Most Goals Scored (106), Most Wins (32), Most Away Wins (16), Most Away Points (50), Goal Difference (+79) and Points Ahead of Second (19). Will this season ever be topped? We think not but then again, who thought Leicester City would win the league?
But let’s look forward to 2019 where we are going to be treated to a plethora of sport. You’ll have all of this to enjoy next year: Vitality Netball World Cup, 6 Nations Rugby, Cricket World Cup, Rugby World Cup, Athletics World Championships, Henley Regatta, Royal Ascot and many more. If you like the look of some of these events, then check out our Sports Events Page where you can find up to date information for all our Corporate Hospitality packages.
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