Summer Sport Diary

Wimbledon will be finished by the time you are reading this. The Lions’ tour is already done and dusted. Football’s summer party of sorts at the Confederations’ Cup is already well on its way to becoming a dim, distant, and acrimonious memory; it’d be easy to think that 2013’s summer sporting efforts are but a footnote compared to last year’s Olympian extravaganza.

However, it’d be a mistake to get started on that reading list just yet. With both major and minor events punctuating the rest of the vac – all the way to September – here is  Cherwell’s guide to what not to miss when you fancy convincing yourself that exercising vicariously through what you watch on TV actually counts…

The elephant in the room is of course the Ashes. Twenty-five days worth of trying to confirm Australia’s sporting fall from grace. The England squad has just been announced with no real surprises, and the coming Wednesday sees the beginning of the first test at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. Stretching right across the summer, the Aussies will be hoping that a late, late change of coach – ex-player Darren Lehmann replacing Mickey Arthur less than 3 weeks before can inspire them to prolong the competition all the way to August 25th at the Oval. Alastair Cook’s side will of course be hoping to have the urn safely locked away long before then.

The next fortnight will also see the culmination of Christopher Froome’s efforts to replicate Sir Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France success. The first week of the cycling race has seen the Kenyan-born Brit put himself just over a minute clear in the Yellow Jersey of the race leader. With many Alps still yet to be climbed though, it remains to be seen how the likes of Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde fight back.

Anyone in need of a football fix need look no further than the beginning of this month’s women’s Euro 2013 tournament. In contrast to the men’s team, the England women will have a real chance of making a mark against traditional giants Germany and France, and the tournament will see winger Rachel Yankey take to the pitch as the most capped English international player of any gender.

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Mid-August will then see the World Athletics championships take place in Moscow. Central to proceedings will of course be the likes of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, but the women’s sprints are perhaps more intriguing, as the sport will look to escape the shadow of a recent Jamaican drug scandal involving Olympic gold-medallist Veronica Campbell-Brown. In general it will be fascinating to see how many big names bounce back from a draining Olympic year.

There are also two golf major championships over the summer. With the two majors so far having gone to first time winners in Justin Rose and Adam Scott, will there be another surprise in either the Open or the USPGA? The likes of Rory McIlroy will be desperate to arrest a run of poor form, Tiger Woods will be looking to prove he can win a big title again, and it’s getting to ‘now or never’ for players such as Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, and Sergio Garcia.

If all of that wasn’t enough, Andy Murray’s chance to repeat last year’s success at the US Open in early September could be the beginning of a move towards true tennis all-time great status, whilst the football and rugby seasons will both have restarted by the time Michaelmas begins. There is also cricket’s County Championship to consider, whilst Super League rugby will be edging towards its denouement, and cycling will have its third grand tour, the Vuelta à España which will be a chance to make amends should the Tour de France not go as planned.

All in all then, I don’t think that you can argue that there’s not plenty to keep you going over what is promising to be a very long ‘Long Vacation’, but if you’re still at a loose end, it’ll be well worth checking out the Beach Football World Cup in Tahiti, or even just reading up on the much anticipated Rugby League World Cup – hosted by England and Wales – which will be likely to provide much procrastination fodder next October.

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I think I’ve underlined eleven separate sporting events, and that’s barely scratching the surface – and definitely not taking account of the fact that the ashes surely counts as five? – and here at the Cherwell we’ll be doing our best to keep you abreast of as much of the action as possible. There really is no excuse to miss out on this fabulous sporting summer.