By Steve Wade

With the World cup being played in Nov-Dec for the first time in its history, December is a very lean time for all sports as far as major events is concerned. With the winners of the World Cup unknown at time of going to press, I thought it may be time to look forward to 2023, now that the pandemic, hopefully, is a thing of the past. It’s a personal highlights tour and I’m sure your own high points will be different, but these are the events I’ll be most looking forward to in 2023.

My sporting year always starts with the Cheltenham Festival in March. I’ve been watching, or attending, for the best part of 50 years now and the thought of the festival approaching still fills me with anticipation. Only Royal Ascot can compete as the best Horseracing in the world. 14Th – 17th March.

My next highly anticipated stop on the sporting calendar will be the Masters, the first golf major of the year and a must see, in spite of the hellish time difference between the USA and Thailand. The only one of the four “Majors” to be played at the same venue every year, Augusta National, the Masters has built up a host of memories over the years and is a must see for all golfing fans. 6Th – 9th April.

After a quick stop at Aintree for the Grand National the next must view is the Snooker world championship, where Ronnie O’Sullivan defends the title. In truth the event has outgrown the Crucible, the venue for many years, but the atmosphere is electric, especially for the later single table rounds, and makes for compelling viewing. 15th April – 1st May.

That will take us into May and the conclusion of all the main football leagues and tournaments for the year. One of the better ideas the powers that be in football have introduced are the play-offs that offer the final promotion place in the Championship, League 1 and League 2. They’re always exciting and highly charged affairs. I’ll also be watching to see if Wrexham can make make it out of the National League, having just watched the highly entertaining first season of “Welcome to Wrexham”. Oh and let’s not forget Royal Ascot in mid June.

It will be back to the golf for my final must watch event, the British Open, which is being played at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club which last held the event in 2014. No golfing event has the history or the atmosphere of “The Open” and being UK summertime the viewing over here is in the evening too. A few beers and a large TV is all I need! July 20th – 23rd.

Alongside the usual major events for the year the Cricket World Cup takes place in India in February, the Rugby World Cup starts in September and the Ryder Cup is back at the end of the same month. Let’s all hope for an exciting and trouble free viewing year for sports fans everywhere.