Written by Jonathan Rudd
Yorkshire has enjoyed some great sporting moments over the years, either on home soil, or elsewhere.. Here’s 5 great sporting moments with Yorkshire connections, complete with videos. Enjoy.
1. Boycott’s 100th Hundred – 1977
At nearly 6pm on 11th August 1977, after 231 deliveries, 14 boundaries and typically nearly all day at the crease in front of a packed Headingley Stadium, Geoffrey Boycott on-drove Australian bowler, Greg Chappell for four runs to score his hundredth first class hundred. He had become the 17th player to achieve this feat and had joined the elite company of cricketing greats, such as Jack Hobbs, Don Bradman and Len Hutton, but more significantly the first player to bring up this record in a Test Match and in The Ashes no less. Members of the 22,000 Headingley crowd, plus quite a few extras who had been let into the ground as Boycott approached his hundred invaded the pitch to congratulate him and held up play for ten minutes. Boycott finished the day on 110 not out and added a further 81 runs on the following day to reach 191, before being the last man to be dismissed. Boycott’s innings paved the way for an innings victory for England. In doing so he also achieved another feat, becoming only the fourth player in the history of the game to be on the field for the entire game, either batting or fielding.
2. Jessica Ennis-Hill wins Olympic Gold – 2012
In the summer of 2012 a lot rested on the muscular shoulders of the London Olympics poster girl, Jessica Ennis. The heptathlete from Sheffield, in front of a patriotic crowd in London’s Olympic stadium held its breath as she stormed down the home straight in the competition’s final event the 800 metres to claim gold. She had done most of the hard work earlier in the day, amassing a 188 points lead over her nearest rival, Lilli Schwarzkopf from Germany going into the final race, thanks to a 2nd place finish in the Long Jump and a personal best in the javelin, which gave her valuable points. Ennis’ win was one of the three gold medals in the same evening on ‘Golden Saturday,’ along with distance runner Mo Farah and long jumper Greg Rutherford.
3. The Black Ball Snooker Final Taylor v Davis – 1985
Although the main protagonists of the 1985 black ball final was an Irishman, Dennis Taylor and a Londoner, Steve Davis, this event did take place on Yorkshire soil at The Crucible in Sheffield.
After 34 gruelling frames of snooker the 1985 Snooker World Championship final came down to the final black ball. Davis, the favourite and already three times world champion was set to win comfortably after storming to a 7-0 lead over Taylor in the first session of the match. Davis won the opening frame of the second to gain an 8-0 lead, but a missed green in the 9th frame let Taylor in to trouble the scorers at 8-1 down. The Irishman then won six of the next seven frames to trail just 9-7 at the close of day one. On the second day Taylor finally caught Davis at 11-11, only for the Londoner to lead 13-11 and 17-15, only for Taylor to draw level on both occasions to force a deciding 35th frame.
Lasting 68 minutes, it was to be the most famous and dramatic in snooker history. Davis looked to be the favourite as he led 62-44 with just four colours to be potted. Taylor potted the brown, blue and pink to take it down to the final black ball, worth seven points.
The plucky Taylor attempted two doubles, one for the middle pocket and another, an ambitious full table double into the top corner pocket, to fail on both occasions. Then, an attempted safety from Davis led to a double kiss which led to a difficult but highly potable chance under different circumstances to the top corner. Taylor missed, leaving a tricky thin cut into the bottom corner pocket for Davis who overcut the ball, leaving Taylor with an otherwise easy pot into the same corner pocket, which he despatched at 12.23 in the morning. Dennis Taylor had won the Snooker World Championship for the first and for what would be the only time. The black ball snooker final was watched by a total of 18.5 million viewers on BBC2 and gained a whole new generation of snooker fans in the process.
4. Leeds United win the last ever Divison 1 Title – 1992
In 1988 Howard Wilkinson took on a struggling team, languishing in the old Second Division and in four years turned them into 1st Division champions. A bunch of astute signings, such as Gordon Strachan and Gary McAllister, talented youth products, David Batty and Gary Speed, plus the icing on the cake, a certain Monsieur Cantona helped them to the last ever 1st Division title in the 1991-92 season. After battling it out with Manchester United over the course of much of the season, the title was sealed with a 3-2 win over Sheffield United, while their rivals lost 2-0 to Liverpool. The Whites finished on 82 points, four points ahead of United on 78 and Yorkshire rivals, Sheffield Wednesday on 75 points. To celebrate an open top bus ride was organised and was greeted with thousands of joyous fans as the squad and Division 1 trophy made its way around Leeds City Centre.
5. The Brownlee Brothers Alistair helps Jonny over the line – 2016
The competitive Brownlee brothers have been racing against eachother at Triathlon since they were youngsters growing up in their native Bramhope in North Leeds. They had also both made the podium together at the 2012 Olympics, becoming the first brothers to do so in 100 years. Fast forward four years to the searing heat of Cozumel, Mexico in the final round of the 2016 Triathlon World Series. Jonny Brownlee, the younger of the two was leading the race, which he needed to win to stand a chance of winning the entire competition. In the final kilometre of the run he was overcome with heat exhaustion and had to stop at the side of the road. Eventually he was overtaken by other competitors, including the South African, Henry Schoeman, who went on to win the race. Brother, Alistair, who had been in third place saw his brother, put his arm round him and dragged his brother for the final few hundred yards over the line, in an amazing act of sportsmanship. Despite a look through the Triathlon rulebook to make sure this was allowed, the result stood, but Jonny Brownlee unfortunately missed out on taking the Triathlon World Series title for that year, as his closest rival for the crown, Spaniard Mario Mola finished 5th which was enough for him to win the triathlon series.