By Craig Wright and Harry McArthur
With the year drawing to a close, now would seem to be as good a time as any for a moment of reflection on the past twelve months in the world of sport. Air3 Radio’s heads of sport, Craig Wright and Harry McArthur, give their thoughts on their favourite sporting moments from 2017…
The renaissance of Scottish rugby
As calendar years go, 2017 has been a pretty memorable one for Scottish rugby supporters, across all forms of the game. The men’s national side has taken the headlines, and with good reason; convincing victories over Ireland, Wales and Italy in the Six Nations, a superb victory over Australia in Sydney – despite missing a number of front-line players – and an autumn series including a performance to outplay the best team in the world and a record win over the Wallabies mean that the 2018 Six Nations can’t come quickly enough for the Murrayfield faithful.
Yet there were other successes in 2017 – the women’s national side beat Wales to secure their first Six Nations victory since 2010, whilst the men’s sevens squad retained their London title in memorable fashion, beating the Auld Enemy in the final. All in all, a pretty great year for those clad in blue… CW
Relay brilliance at London 2017
The World Athletics Championships in London were full to the brim of amazing moments, but one stands out above all others – the thrilling conclusion to the event provided by the British 4x100m relay squads. An event notoriously fraught with danger, it could barely have gone any better for the host nation. The women’s squad set the tone with a terrific silver medal, with Asha Philip, Desiree Henry, Dina Asher-Smith and Darryl Neita tearing up the track to chase the victorious USA home.
What followed, however, is set to become one of the enduring British athletics moments. In a flawless performance, the men’s team of CJ Ujah, Adam Gemili, Danny Talbot and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake stormed to the gold medal, sending the crowd, the TV audience, and their team-mates, into delirium. A truly scintillating evening. CW
Having been fortunate enough to take part in the study abroad programme earlier this year, I can officially confirm one of the world’s great sporting statements.
Canada is crazy about ice hockey.
Seriously, there is very little in the sporting world that can rival the passion that the land of the maple leaf possesses for their national sport. Whether it’s the national institution that is Hockey Night in Canada (which is a TV programme and not just a description of every night of the week, for those not in the know), the fervour that surrounds the Stanley Cup playoffs or just the sheer scale of the discussion and emotions surrounding even the league’s poorer performers, it makes for an almost unique sporting environment.
And I absolutely loved every minute of it. CW
The New England Patriots’ crazy Superbowl LI comeback
Myself and the world of sport was absolutely flabbergasted to see a Tom Brady led Patriots side down 21-3 at halftime and facing a seemingly insurmountable 19 point deficit heading into the fourth quarter.
A first half that was dominated by the regular season MVP, Matt ‘Matty Ice’ Ryan, and a riveting 82 yard pick six from Falcons cornerback Robert Alford, the Falcons looked to have won their first Superbowl. After eventually falling down 28-3, the Patriots put up a touchdown just before the fourth quarter, however the PAT was missed, and scoring 19 unanswered points in one quarter against a Falcons playing this well was impossible. Wasn’t it?
Two touchdowns with two 2pt conversions separated by a field goal later and Tom Brady and co had forced the first ever Superbowl overtime. Without Gronkowski the other Patriots receivers shined, a particular highlight was Julien Edelman’s ABSURD catch to keep the last regular time touchdown drive alive just before the two minute warning.
After the Patriots won the toss, putting the ball in the hands of Tom Brady, there was only going to be one winner. This was confirmed when James White ran in for a two yard touchdown and made the score 34-28. This was one of the greatest sports comebacks of all time and surely confirmed Brady as the greatest quarterback to ever live. HM
Brenden Rodgers marked his first year as Celtic manager remarkably as he managed to go an entire domestic season without facing a single defeat. This led to a domestic treble where they recorded two 5-1 wins over fierce rivals, Rangers, as well as countless poundings of other teams that stood in their way.
In the league they picked up a remarkable 106 points out of a possible 118, and matched that with 106 goals in that time span. The main stars of this team were the likes of new boys Scott Sinclair and Moussa Dembele, breakout seasons from Stuart Armstrong and Callum McGregor as well as the leadership from the captain, Scott Brown.
The most iconic moment of the whole season had to be the finale, where they faced off against Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup final; a match in which a win would confirm their undefeated domestic treble. After falling behind early on to Jonny Hayes, Celtic fired back less than two minutes later with a strike from Stuart Armstrong. The score remained at 1-1 until the 92nd minute where a bit of magic from midfielder Tom Rogic confirmed Celtic the cup and the title of invincibles. HM
Mayweather vs McGregor
As it was dubbed the ‘Fight of the century’ we couldn’t really leave it off this list. The first ever major professional bout between an MMA fighter and a boxer; as it was in the boxing ring everybody was backing Mayweather. However McGregor, notorious for his, let us say eccentric, press conferences got everybody ready and excited for this match.
An interesting fight no doubt, and it lasted a lot longer than most pundits and fans had anticipated, Mayweather won in the 10th round by TKO (technical knockout) and set himself as the most successful athlete in boxing history as he now sits retired at 50-0. HM
2017 was a crazy year for sport; there were incredible comebacks, records smashed, incredible displays of teamwork, excitement and drama, and even a substantial amount of crazy goings on in Canadian sport. All the reasons we love sport. We are looking forward to 2018 and recapping more crazy and exciting sporting action.