The top 22 Yorkshire stars to follow in 2022

Olympic champion: Tom Pidcock after winning the gold medal in the men's cross-country mountain biking.Olympic champion: Tom Pidcock after winning the gold medal in the men's cross-country mountain biking.
Olympic champion: Tom Pidcock after winning the gold medal in the men's cross-country mountain biking.
A huge year lies ahead with a number of major events and champions to be crowned. Here the YP Sports Desk gives you 22 Yorkshire names to follow in 2022.


Alexandra Bell: 2021 was a career high for the middle-distance runner from Leeds, highlighted by a run to the 800m Olympic final. It earned her full status on the UK Sport funding programme for the first time, now she has to justify it, and in 2022 there are three chances to do so; the Commonwealth Games, plus World and European championships.

Nick Westby

Olympics contender: Katie Ormerod. Picture: Getty ImagesOlympics contender: Katie Ormerod. Picture: Getty Images
Olympics contender: Katie Ormerod. Picture: Getty Images


Dalton Smith: The Sheffield boxer won the English and WBA inter-continental super lightweight titles in 2021 and will be looking to move himself up the world title rankings this year. At the age of 24, he has an undefeated professional record of 9-0, including seven knockouts.

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Terri Harper: The former world champion has the option to invoke a rematch clause after losing her titles to Alycia Baumgardner in November. The 25-year-old was well beaten in that contest but after a remarkable rise to the top of the sport, she will surely want a chance to regain her belts.

Ben McKenna

Rising Yorkshire star: Harry Brook. Picture: Getty ImagesRising Yorkshire star: Harry Brook. Picture: Getty Images
Rising Yorkshire star: Harry Brook. Picture: Getty Images


Harry Brook: No doubting the rising star in Yorkshire cricket at present. Harry Brook gained rave reviews last year for his performances in the T20 Blast in particular, and is a rapidly improving all-format player. Big things are expected of the 22-year-old batsmen, to the extent that former Yorkshire coach Andrew Gale predicted full international honours are not far off.

Rachel Slater: Born in New York and raised in Leeds, Slater, 20, is a left-arm pace bowler who will be hoping to build on her breakthrough year with the Northern Diamonds.

Slater took seven wickets in as many appearances last summer, after injury derailed the first part of her campaign, and she has the added boost of having claimed one of four new professional contracts for next season.

One to watch: Dalton Smith (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire)One to watch: Dalton Smith (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire)
One to watch: Dalton Smith (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire)

Chris Waters


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Tom Pidcock: I’ve been banging this kid’s drum for years and I’m not going to stop now. In 2021 he transitioned seamlessly into the senior road ranks with Ineos and then showed his versatility by storming to mountain bike gold at the Tokyo Olympics.

The sky is the limit for the 22-year-old from Leeds who in 2022 will continue his education on the road as well as looking to add more accolades in mountain bike and cross-country.

Leeds Rhinos' Harry Newman (Picture: Rhinos' Harry Newman (Picture:
Leeds Rhinos' Harry Newman (Picture:

Nick Westby


Matty Lee: The Leeds diver was mentioned in this article last year when identifying our 21 stars for 2021, and he didn’t disappoint, winning gold in Tokyo in the 10m platform alongside Tom Daley.

Having scaled the mountain top as a synchro diver, Lee now wants to show he can do it on his own. This year is a big year to start doing that with a world championships in May and the Commonwealth Games in the summer.

Nick Westby


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What next for Leeds's Alexandra Bell in 2022 (Picture: PA)What next for Leeds's Alexandra Bell in 2022 (Picture: PA)
What next for Leeds's Alexandra Bell in 2022 (Picture: PA)

Jacob Greaves: The attention is more on Keane Lewis-Potter, Hull’s top-scorer, who is attracting interest from the Premier League but centre-back Greaves looks another bound for the top with the quality of his performances after stepping up to the Championship for the first time.

Lucy Watson: This year’s European Championships will come too early for the left-sided forward but she looks likely to be playing for England in the under-19s version after a breakthrough season with Sheffield United where she has shown a bubbly character as well as the skills which had both Manchester clubs interested in signing her.

Stuart Rayner


Charlotte Heath: An exciting young talent from Huddersfield Golf Club, the 20-year-old helped England win the European Team Championship last year and represented Great Britain and Ireland in the Curtis Cup amateur team event against the United States. Currently on a golf scholarship at Florida State, another big year lies ahead.

Nick Westby

Ice hockey

Alex Graham: Ask almost anyone in the British game about the 18-year-old forward and they will tell you he has everything that is required to play in the highest leagues – a player capable of following in the footsteps Liam Kirk.

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Posting 3+3 in the recent Under-20 World Championships for GB is one example of the former Bradford Bulldogs junior’s obvious talent, as was his recent goal for Sheffield Steelers in the win against Nottingham Panthers on Monday. As his coach at Sheffield Steeldogs, Greg Wood, said recently: “Alex can go as far as Alex wants to go – he has all the tools.”

Phil Harrison

Motor sport

Sarah Moore: After securing a top-five finish in the W Series standings and one podium place in 2021, Harrogate’s Moore will be aiming for more top-three finishes next year as she hopes to establish herself as one of the top drivers in the competition.

Ben McKenna


Brian Hughes: A near certainty in 2022 is the North Yorkshire rider Brian Hughes will become champion jump jockey for a second time. The 2019-20 champion built up a commanding 50-winner leader over the festive period – the title race ends at Sandown in late April. His challenge will be securing more rides in the elite races.

Rebecca Menzies: A trainer to follow. Though she is now based near Sedgefield, she began her career at West Witton under the tutelage of the late Ferdy Murphy. She took out her licence while renting the Brandsby stables of former Gold Cup-winning trainer Peter Beaumont and is a familiar face on all nine of Yorkshire’s racecourses as she begins to acquire the horses – both Flat and National Hunt – to do justice to her ambition.

Tom Richmond

Rugby league

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Harry Newman: With his serious double leg fracture now behind him, expect the 21-year-old centre to flourish for Leeds Rhinos. One of Super League’s most exciting talents, it would be no surprise if the Huddersfield-born player then cemented a place for himself in England’s World Cup side at the end of the year.

With pace, footwork and such skill, Newman is highly-rated by England head coach Shaun Wane and his Leeds boss Richard Agar.

Jake Connor: For so long, the mercurial Hull FC star has threatened to be one of rugby league’s greats while missing the consistency to truly fulfil his potential.

Time is running out – Connor is now 27 – but having finally settled on the full-back role and needing to impress to work his way back into favour with England coach Shaun Wane, this could finally be the year. One of the favourites for Steve Prescott Man of Steel.

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Caitlin Beevers: Despite still being just 20 years old, the Dewsbury-born Beevers has already achieved plenty in women’s rugby league. But with the World Cup looming in the autumn, 2022 could be the chance for the Leeds Rhinos and England flier to take her game to a whole new level. Such an exciting talent.

Dave Craven

Rugby union

Zoe Aldcroft: The 25-year-old from Scarborough has been on our radar for years, but in 2021 she arrived on everyone’s, helping England’s Red Roses go unbeaten all season and then having the honour of being named world rugby’s player of the year.

What does 2022 hold? Victory in the World Cup final in New Zealand she hopes.

Nick Westby


Zhao Xintong: Two of the three Triple Crown events over the last 12 months have been won by players based at the Sheffield’s Victoria’s Snooker Academy. First Yan Bingtao won The Masters 12 months ago, then Zhao Xintong produced a stunning performance in York to win the UK Championship. Both Chinese players have adopted Sheffield as their home and Zhao, 24, is one to look out for in 2022. What are the odds on a player from Victoria’s completing the Triple Crown by lifting the World Championship at the Crucible?

Richard Hercock


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Paul Jubb: The 22-year-old from Hull was a multiple winner on the ITF circuit last year and is looking to make his mark on the Challenger Tour in 2022. He made his Wimbledon debut after winning the NCAA title in 2019 but his progress was checked somewhat by Covid. He finished this year ranked 347 in the world. For inspiration, fellow LTA graduate Emma Raducanu finished last year ranked 343rd.

Nick Westby

Winter Olympics

Katie Ormerod: If anyone deserves a huge slice of injury-free luck it’s the snowboarder from Brighouse. She narrowly missed out on qualifying for Sochi in 2014 and then as a medal contender four years later, broke her heel in the warm-up. Beijing could finally be her long-overdue Olympic coronation.

James Woods: The freestyle skier from Sheffield heads to his third Olympics next month still searching for his first medal. A contender in Big Air and slopestyle, he was fourth in the 2018 Olympics in the latter and then world champion 12 months later.

Can this serial winner of major X Games prizes finally put it together on the biggest stage?

Nick Westby

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