The 2019 sporting year: Women all set to step into the world spotlight

Alexandra Bell training by the Leeds Liverpool canal at Apperley Bridge.  Picture Tony Johnson.
Alexandra Bell training by the Leeds Liverpool canal at Apperley Bridge. Picture Tony Johnson.
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YORKSHIRE sports stars can look forward to a fabulous 12 months in which to showcase their talents.

This could easily be a year in which the women take centre stage with their netball and football World Cups and athletics’ World Championships being staged.

England's Rachel Dunn (left) and Natalie Haythornthwaite celebrate.

England's Rachel Dunn (left) and Natalie Haythornthwaite celebrate.

‘God’s own county’ will also host cycling’s UCI Road World Championships while cricket will be at the forefront of public interest with both the ICC World Cup and England’s latest battle with Australia coming with ths summer’s Ashes.

Then there is rugby union’s World Cup to continue the sporting action.

Here, we look at some of the Yorkshire-born and county-based sports stars who look set to make an impact in 2019:

Josh Warrington (boxing): Difficult to imagine the Leeds warrior enjoying a better year than 2018 but 2019 looks likely to feature a bid for a second featherweight world title – and possibly a fight in Las Vegas against WBO belt holder Oscar Valdez.

Nicola Adams (boxing): It would be a big surprise if 2019 did not feature the 36-year-old Leeds flyweight’s first world title as a professional fighter. Has four belts to aim for and plans to quickly win all of them before retiring.

Jarrod Bowen (football): Hull City fans will be hoping the January transfer window does not see him lured away with several Premier League clubs showing interest in the 21-year-old.

Nathan Wood-Gordon (football): The Middlesbrough defender became their youngest player to feature in a competitive game in the club’s Carabao Cup tie with Notts County in August – at just 16 years and 75 days.

Jack Clarke (football): One of the latest stars to break into Leeds United’s first team from the club’s thriving Academy and Clarke might be the best for some time. Just 18, looks hugely exciting with pace, skill, endeavour and an end product from the wing.

Jamie Shackleton (football): Another Leeds Academy graduate, blessed with energy, tenacity and pure talent. Shackleton, 19, has made great strides under the guidance of Marcelo Bielsa.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore (cricket): Made a big impact towards the end of last season to finish top of Yorkshire’s County Championship batting averages with 414 runs at 46.00. Expect more of the same next summer, when ‘TKC’ could take the competition by storm in both red and white-ball cricket.

Jonny Tattersall (cricket): Seized his chance in his second coming as a Yorkshire cricketer, having previously been released. Tattersall kept well after remodelling himself as a wicketkeeper during the close season and made a number of impressive contributions with the bat. The Harrogate-born player is set to take his game to the next level.

Konrad Hurrell (rugby league): A ‘marquee’ signing for Leeds Rhinos, the blockbusting Tonga centre is great to watch. Given the right service, he should be a big hit in Super League after joining from Gold Coast Titans.

Cameron Scott (rugby league): The centre has just turned 19 but, having dipped his toe into Super League last term and impressively leading England Academy to a series whitewash of the Australian Schoolboys, the rangy Scott is set to shine.

Jacob Umaga (rugby union): The talented Halifax-born Wasps fly-half/full-back has been on loan at Yorkshire Carnegie briefly this season and the club will hope to get him back in 2019. At 21, he is regarded as one of the brightest young prospects in the Premiership.

Tom Pidcock (cycling): The 19-year-old from Leeds has already won world titles at junior level on the road and in cyclo-cross. The 2020 World Road Race Championships on home roads in Yorkshire will be a major target for a rider emerging as one of the hottest properties in the sport.

Alex Bell (athletics): The Leeds 800m runner was controversially overlooked by selectors for last summer’s European Championships despite finishing fifth at the Commonwealth Games and then later clocking a sub two-minute time. Bell is determined to settle the score at this year’s World Championships in Doha.

Natalie Haythornthwaite (netball): Will have to go some to better her 2018, which featured a Commonwealth Games gold, another Superleague triumph and two Sports Personality Of The Year awards. But Haythornthwaite is looking to conquer the Australian league with New South Wales Swifts with the netball World Cup on her agenda with England in the summer.

Matty Lee (diving): Has already enjoyed plenty of success, despite just missing out on a ticket to the 2016 Rio Olympics Games. Lee’s career looks set to reach new heights having moved to London to be Tom Daley’s new 10m synchro partner.

Mark Johnston (horse racing): The Middleham trainer enjoyed a super 2018 that saw him become the most successful racehorse trainer in Britain, having saddled his 4,194th winner. Seems certain to land another double century in 2019.

Oliver Lines (snooker): The 23-year-old from Leeds endured a tough end to 2018, but will learn from his experiences.

Oliver Townend (eventing): Huddersfield rider agonisingly failed to win the sport’s grand slam when finishing second at May’s Badminton Horse Trials after victories at Kentucky and Burghley. Remains world No 1 and will be back for more.

Joe Cullen (darts): A poor performance at the PDC World Championships took the gloss off an impressive year for Bradford-based Cullen, 29, who has climbed to world No 14. Has the potential to win major titles.

Rochelle Morris (golf): Will compete on Ladies European Tour after coming through qualifying school in Morocco. The Woodsome Hall golfer is a former Yorkshire Ladies champion and represented Great Britain & Ireland in the Curtis Cup, among a number of accolades she earned in the amateur game.