THE lack of a major multi-sports extravaganza denied Yorkshire’s army of talented athletes from another impressive medal haul in the year after the Rio 2016 Olympics.
But through the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea and the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast of Australia, two major sporting spectaculars will present themselves within the first four months of 2018 which will then be lit up by the football World Cup in Russia this summer.
With Yorkshire County Cricket Club looking to regain their County Championship crown and Leeds Rhinos out to defend their Super League title, The Yorkshire Post sports team have picked out 20 White Rose-based emerging stars who could make a huge impression in the coming year.
David Brooks (football, Sheffield United): The academy product is being watched by plenty of Premier League clubs and it is easy to understand why. He has not only broken through into the Blades team, albeit mainly as a substitute, but November also brought his senior debut for Wales.
Jarrod Bowen (football, Hull City): The one shining light in an otherwise gloomy season for Hull City, Bowen looks set to enjoy a fine 2018. He had made only a handful of appearances before netting on the opening day at Aston Villa as the Tigers drew 1-1. Has scored 11 goals up to the end of 2017 and much more is expected of him.
Tyrell Robinson (football, Bradford City): The left-winger is showing his versatility at left-back. After being shown the door by Arsenal in February, the 20-year-old is rebuilding his career and starting to make a name for himself.
George Miller (football, Middlesbrough): The striker, 20 this month, is earning his stripes in a short loan spell at Wrexham and is highly-thought of by academy staff at Boro.
Josh Warrington (boxing): The Leeds fighter, 27, is the manadatory challenger for the IBF featherweight world championship belt held by Lee Selby – and a fight is due to take place either in the Spring or summer, possibly at Elland Road.
Jack Walker (rugby league): The teenage Leeds Rhinos full-back has already made a mark having, at just 18 years and 60 days, become the youngest Grand Final winner when facing Castleford Tigers in October. Remarkably, that was only his 12th senior game.
Natasha Gale (boxing): The 29-year-old Leeds middleweight became European champion, the first female GB boxer to hold that title since Nicola Adams, and will bid for a treble in 2018 with her Commonwealth Games assault followed by the World Championships and Europeans.
Tom Johnstone (rugby league): The Wakefield Trinity winger will be looking to make up for lost time in 2018 after the 22-year-old missed most of last season after rupturing a cruciate knee ligament.
Ben Coad (cricket): The 23-year-old pace bowler was Yorkshire’s leading wicket-taker in the Championship with 50 at 20.86. Coad can take his game to the next level this year.
Harry Brook (cricket): The 18-year-old batsman made his Championship debut against Middlesex at Lord’s last summer and made a respectable 38 from No 3, batting for nearly an hour-and-a-half. Brook leads England Under-19s in the forthcoming World Cup in New Zealand and is another high-class product of the Headingley system.
Chris Hanson (golf): The 32-year-old from Woodsome Hall retained his European Tour playing privileges for the second season running in 2017 and showed signs that he can make the next step up.
David Hague (golf): The 21-year-old from Malton & Norton is in England Golf’s men’s squad for 2018. The amalgamation of an excellent game and a placid temperament should see him contend in major amateur events.
PJ McDonald (horse racing): The 2007 Scottish National-winning rider enjoyed a breakthrough 2017 on the Flat. The North Yorkshire jockey recorded a first century of winners and also a landmark Group One triumph after making all on the Karl Burke-trained Laurens at Newmarket. The jockey’s alliance with prolific Middleham trainer Mark Johnston is also likely to expand.
Brian Hughes (horse racing): Jump racing’s northern powerhouse, North Yorkshire-based Hughes was runner-up to Richard Johnson in the 2016-17 jockeys’ title race. Attached to the Malton yard of Malcolm Jefferson, Hughes is on track for a fourth successive century of winners.
Nile Wilson (gymnastics): The Leeds gymnast, 22, made hay as an 18-year-old at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and even more medals can be expected at the 2018 Commonwealths on the Gold Coast of Australia in April.
Lois Toulson (diving): Difficult to pick between Toulson and her rather more famous boyfriend Jack Laugher as to who will shine brighter in 2018 but both Leeds divers should be destined for big things at April’s Commonwealth Games.
Katy Marchant (cycling): The 24-year-old Leeds star won bronze in the Rio Olympics individual sprint and can be expected to make headlines again this year, taking in both the Commonwealth Games and World Championships.
Oliver Lines (snooker): This Leeds snooker player is 23 and maturing into an established star on the professional circuit, being ranked in the top 64.
Tom Pidcock (cycling): This Leeds 18-year-old had an excellent 2017, winning the world junior cyclo-cross title, the junior Paris-Roubaix race and the national criterium series. He will look to defend those and more this year, as well as taking his first steps at senior level with Sir Bradley Wiggins’s developmental road cycling squad.
Katie Summerhayes (snowboarding): One of the ‘fridge kids,’ the Sheffield 22-year-old, who finished seventh in the Olympic debut of her event, skiing slopestyle, in Sochi, heads to Pyeongchang in February, having won a world championship silver medal in the current cycle.