Where on earth do we start? 2022 has been a blockbuster year of sporting entertainment, somehow managing to squeeze in a Winter Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Wimbledon, the Women’s Euros and the FIFA World Cup - and that’s only just skimming the surface.
From curling to cricket, boxing to billiards - well, maybe not billiards - and Formula One to football, we’ve covered all this year’s sporting action.
As the year draws to a close, in act that could be deemed as cruelty, we tasked our sports writers with boiling the year’s sporting riches down to just one key moment. Here are our best sporting moments of 2022:
Molly Burke - Sunderland getting promoted, finally
In a year that saw Liverpool reach their third Champions League final, the Lionesses enjoy Euro triumph and Lionel Messi finally lift the World Cup, my sporting highlight of 2022 instead comes in the third tier of English football.
After back-to-back relegations, Sunderland’s bid to win promotion back to the Championship at the fourth time of asking was in its final stages. The Black Cats had reached the play-offs twice - first suffering Wembley heartbreak in the dying embers of the final before failing to even get past the semis two years later.
The expectations were low following the rather underwhelming appointment of Alex Neil, but - as difficult it is to say as he now sits two points below us at the helm of Stoke City - he proved to be exactly the man we needed to finally achieve our ambitions.
Patrick Roberts will always be loved for his last gap winner against Sheffield Wednesday to take us through to the play-off final, but nothing will ever stick in my mind like remembering the buzz at Wembley Stadium when Ross Stewart tucked away the second to send us back to the Championship.
There was tears, cheers and singing - finally we were back. So despite all the excitement on the international stage, it’s this moment following my club that I will rave about for years to come.
Richie Boon - The Bazball revolution sweeping through Headingley
As I sat perched in high in the North East Stand at Headingley Cricket Ground, while music by a rapper I'm no way near cool enough to recognise roared out the PA system, new England captain Ben Stokes - collar popped and resplendent in a pair of aviators - strutting onto the outfield for the warm-up was a site to behold.
It was day two in the final Test against New Zealand, and England were on the ropes as their first four batters were dismissed for a mere 20 runs between them. In the past, we might have seen the side dig in and timidly block out a session in response - but that ain't Bazball!
In a stunning counter-attacking display, hero of the summer Jonny Bairstow and debutant Jamie Overton led the charge, with the former knocking 162 off just 157 balls, and the latter falling just short of an unprecedented century. England went on to win the Test by seven wickets, securing a 3-0 series whitewash.
This is just one moment from a glorious year for Brendan McCullum's rejuvenated side. The Ashes await in 2023, and it will be fascinating to see how a team hell-bent on revolutionising the red-ball game will fare against a truly fearsome opponent in Australia.
Susanna Sealy - Lionesses’ Euros win a shot in the arm for women’s sport
As a staunch cricket fan, there are nine reasons why one of the great Test matches from this year (or even the T20 World Cup victory!) should be my 2022 sporting highlight of the year. However, there is one another triumph from this year that stands out as far superior to any other.
England’s Lionesses ‘brought home’ the first major international football trophy the country has seen for 56 years when they won the Euro Championships this summer. This achievement is not just about the football - which was of course supreme - but far more about what this success has done for the future of grassroots football and women’s sport in general - this a far greater prize and more important legacy than any piece of silverware.
As a direct result of the squad’s iconic victory, WSL attendance is at an all-time high and with the Women’s World Cup only a few months away, this upward trajectory looks set to continue accelerating at pace.
Martyn Simpson - Doddie’s final farewell
When Doddie Weir presented the match ball at Murrayfield before Scotland’s Autumn Test Series match with New Zealand, the sold out crowd couldn’t have know they’d be saying farewell to beloved former player a little over two weeks later.
Of course the nature of MND meant the 52-year old was always on a ticking clock but that didn’t make the news hit any less hard. Weir had come to mean so much to so many since his 2017 diagnosis and dedicated the final years of his life to raising funds to try and find a cure for the brutal disease.
His public life was a living testament to resilience, positive thinking and spreading joy. Privately, he was known for being a devoted family man and good friend. His legacy will extend far beyond the world of sport but having one last chance to take his place on the Murrayfield pitch, giving 67,000 people the oppertunity to show their appreciation for everything he had come to represent, was a truly special and memorable moment that will last long in the memory.