The past week has been action packed and filled with sporting success for both British and International sportsmen and women.
Andy Murray, who celebrated his birthday on Sunday, comprehensively beat Tennis number one, Novak Djokovic, in the Italian Open by two sets (6-3, 6-3). In the women’s tournament, Serena Williams once again outclassed the field, winning her 70th World Tennis Association title in Rome by defeating Madison Keys in straight sets (7-6 (7-5), 6-3).
The European Champions cup final was just as tense, if not more, with neither side scoring a try throughout the entire game and only 6 points separating the sides at half time (Saracens 12-6 Racing 92). However, the second half saw Saracens take a commanding lead as they near doubled their score, with Racing 92 only managing to score and added 3 points, leaving the final score at 21-9 to Saracens.
On Sunday, record after record was broken by Max Verstappen. The 18-year old Dutch formula one driver became the youngest driver to, firstly, lead a whole lap in the sport (surpassing aged 20 Sebastian Vettel), and, later, became the youngest driver ever to win an entire race – a great achievement for the driver and a great way to repay Red Bull for promoting him from Torro Rosso (the Red Bull development team) for the Grand Prix, held in Spain.
The weekend was also supposed to see the end of the Premier league season, with all 20 teams planned to play on Sunday, however, due to a suspicious package in Old Trafford, Manchester United’s fixture against Bournemouth was postponed (due to safety regulations) and hence will be played on Wednesday. Nevertheless, Sunday saw the finalising of the top four positions: Leicester, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City (descending from 1st to 4th) along with certifying Norwich, Newcastle and Aston Villa’s relegation to the Championship. Play-off games have already started for the final promotion places – barring any more unusual events, we should have a list of the 20 teams participating in all four divisions of the Football League by next week!
The week also saw the beginning of the European Aquatics Championships with Tom Daley winning gold in the 10m individual, gold in the 3m synchronised and silver in the 10m synchronised diving, alongside Dan Goodfellow. With medals from Reid, Laugher and Mears, along with others, the Great Britain medal tally stands at 12 (3 gold, 6 silver, 3 bronze), leaving us in 4th place and just 7 gold’s behind leaders Russia. With the majority of competitors competing for Rio Olympic selection, performing well at this championship is of increasing importance – the GB team are definitely surpassing our expectations!
This week sees a repeat of the 1990 FA cup final with Manchester United facing Crystal Palace on Saturday, featuring England hopefuls Marcus Rashford and Wayne Rooney for United. Given the events of this weekend, this final holds more impetus for United as they are currently placed outside the Champions and Europa league places, requiring a win over Bournemouth to move up into 5th place, and, more unlikely, a winning margin of 18 goals or more to snatch 4th position from their local rivals.
England’s international cricket campaign gets underway on Thursday in the first of three tests against Sri Lanka, this game being held at Headingly. After our near-success at the Twenty20 World Cup, losing narrowly to the West Indies in the final, we are definitely in form, however, it is never easy to overcome the change in format – five days is much longer than a couple of hours and definitely requires different tactics.
Manchester is once again the host of sport this week with the Manchester Great City Games being held on Friday. Despite the size of this athletics event, the event will definitely be interesting and exciting for any viewer, with many world-renowned athletes traveling to these streets to entertain the crowd and further their training for the Rio Olympics in the summer.
Premiership Rugby continues on Saturday with Saracens hoping to extend their streak of good form when they face Leicester at home; there is hope for an enthralling match as Leicester try to dislodge Saracens from the top of the table, especially given they are only 15 points behind.