Yorkshire’s Top 100: Sports stars

In the third part of our series looking at those who shape Yorkshire, we put the spotlight on sport.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 23rd September 2015, 1:15 pm

This is a celebration of the sportsmen and women who are not only recognised here, but all over the world. They have reached the top of their game through hard work, skill and dedication and we bask in the glory of their continued success. From cycling and cricket, to the stars of track and field, these are the sporting heroes who inspire us.

More names:

Nicola Adams: Boxing

Adams makes it into the list having become the first British boxer and the first woman to win an Olympic boxing title. That was back in 2012 when the Games came to London and Adams, from East Leeds, made it into the history books defeating Chinese boxer and world number one Ren Cancan in the final.

It was one of the highlights of the Games, but it didn’t stop there for Adams. In recognition of her importance as a role model, she was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to boxing.

Lizzie Armitstead: Cycling

The 26-year-old from Otley is one of Yorkshire’s most successful sporting stars.

The Olympic silver medal she won in the road race at London 2012 may be her crowning achievement, but that is only the tip of an honour-laden iceberg.

In 2013 she won the national road race title for a second time, and this year she has continued where she left off and last month she won the Women’s Road World Cup series title for a second straight year.

Jonny Bairstow: Cricket

The York-born cricketer fought his way back into the international fold in 2015, helping England win the Ashes series against Australia.

Bairstow used his time in the international wilderness to good effect, by helping Yorkshire win the County Championship last year. His form with the bat in the first half of this summer was nothing short of fantastic. He top-scored with 74 in the Test at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge as England regained the Ashes.

Jack Berry: Horse racing

Legendary Leeds-born former trainer and the man behind Jack Berry House - the Injured Jockeys’ Fund’s Rehabilitation Centre in Malton.

The much-needed answer to Oaksey House in Lambourn has been championed by former sprint king Berry for the best part of a decade.

Jack Berry, who broke 46 bones during his 16-year racing career, is still going strong today.

Alicia Blagg: Diving

The City of Leeds Diving Club has enjoyed stellar success recently and as well as the success of Jack Laugher, another of their star pupils, Alicia Blagg made a major breakthrough last year, winning gold in Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games.

Kell Brook: Boxing

In May, the Sheffield-born boxer stopped British rival Frankie Gavin in the sixth round to retain his IBF welterweight title.

The 29 year-old welterweight ground his challenger down for the second successful defence of his world title - meaning Brook is now unbeaten in 35 professional fights.

Danny Brough: Rugby League

The 32-year-old Dewsbury-born Scotland captain has played for six different Yorkshire clubs in rugby league, winning the Challenge Cup with Hull FC in 2005.

Ten years later he has become one of the sport’s most influential players and is currently pulling the strings for Huddersfield Giants.

He is a contender for Super League’s coveted Man of Steel award, an accolade he received two years ago.

Brownlee brothers: Triathlon

Alistair and Jonny Brownlee continue to sweep all before them in the world of triathlon.

In 2014, 27-year-old Alistair completed the set of major titles when he added the Commonwealth Games gold medal to his Olympic, world and European crowns; a rare feat in modern day sport.

Younger brother Jonny, 25, won the silver behind his brother in Glasgow and then teamed up with him to win gold in the team relay, and also finished third in the world series as he looked to claim the global title for a second time.

Sam Burgess: Rugby Union

After an eventful 12 months, the Dewsbury-born dual-code international stands on the verge of greatness. He made his name in the 13-man game with Bradford Bulls before moving to Australia. Now playing union, he has been fast-tracked into the England squad for the World Cup, coming off the bench in the host nation’s opening win over Fiji. Burgess could be in for a career-defining month if Stuart Lancaster’s side go all the way.

Luke Campbell: Boxing

As an amateur the boxer won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in the bantamweight division. His first professional fight the following year, saw him defeat his opponent Andy Harris in his own city of Hull.

Last year, Campbell announced that he would be taking a break from boxing, pulling out of his next scheduled bout, following his father being diagnosed with cancer. He was back in action last month against fellow Hull boxer Tommy Coyle.

Ed Clancy: Cycling

The professional track and road bicycle racer is a specialist is the team pursuit and the reigning Olympic and European champion. Like many of the current crop of British cyclists, he made his name in the London 2012 Olympics.

In the electric atmosphere of the velodrome, Clancy joined Chris Hoy on the podium when he won gold in the team pursuit and bronze in the omnium.

Hannah Cockroft: Wheelchair sprint

The British wheelchair athlete, from Halifax, set the 2012 Paralympics alight.

By the end of that summer Cockroft had not only won two gold medals, but she had also become a household name.

Having suffered two cardiac arrests at birth that damaged two different parts of her brain, the 23 year old was left with a disability that affected her balance and mobility.

It didn’t hold her back and last year she won double European gold at the 100m and 800m.

Jessica Ennis-Hill: Athletics

Picked as the poster girl for the London 2012 Olympics, Ennis-Hill had a lot to live up to. She more than delivered. Having come back from injury, which had forced her to miss Beijing four years earlier, the Sheffield-born athlete showed her class, winning gold with a British and Commonwealth record. Taking a break from the sport to have her first child last year, Ennis-Hill’s comeback has been equally impressive winning gold at the World Athletics Championships.

Matt Fitzpatrick: Golf

The overnight sensation of 2013 was always going to do well to match the exploits of last summer when he won the silver medal for leading amateur at the Open and then just weeks later became the first Englishman in over a century to win the US Amateur title.

He completed a unique double of winning the leading amateur medal at both the Open and US Open.

Andrew Gale: Cricket

In 2014, Gale steered Yorkshire to their first County Championship title in 13 years - a feat he repeated this summer.

After joining Yorkshire, he became the club’s youngest ever professional captain when he took over after Anthony McGrath resigned in 2009.

The 31-year-old has played a huge part in Yorkshire’s success during the past two seasons.

Jack Laugher: Diving

His breakthrough year was 2014. He won six medals in world series events around the world before finally announcing himself to the British public as a serious player in diving with his all-conquering performance at the Commonwealth Games.

The young Yorkshireman upstaged Tom Daley by winning two gold medals and a silver in Glasgow.

Nick Matthew: Squash

Matthew is the cream of a very rich crop here in Yorkshire, that also numbers serial champions James Willstrop and Jenny Duncalf, among its alumni. In February, he secured a record-breaking seventh national title with a dominant victory over Daryl Selby in Manchester.

Alex Mowatt: Football

Mowatt is one of Leeds United’s bright young things. He started his career playing for a junior club in Doncaster where he was talented spotted as a nine year old, signing to Elland Road club’s academy. After progressing through the youth ranks, including captaining Leeds Under 18s, Mowatt signed a professional deal. He has been called up to the England U19s and U20s.

Jamie Peacock: Rugby League

Jamie Peacock is one of rugby league’s modern greats.

A powerful, tireless prop forward, who has captained both Great Britain and England. Made an MBE in 2012 for services to the sport, Peacock has won every major honour the game can offer.

Now aged 37, he played his last game at Wembley before retirement, collecting his fourth Challenge Cup winner’s medal and playing a major role in a record-breaking 50-0 rout of Hull KR.

Joe Root: Cricket

Joe Root became the fourth youngest English batsman to score a double century when he hit 200 not out against Sri Lanka in an innings which included 16 fours.

Root’s presence in the Yorkshire squad was key to the side’s success last season, as they clinched their first County Championship title in 13 years.

2015 has proved even better for Root. As well as playing a pivotal role in England regaining the Ashes, he also became the leading batsman in the ICC world rankings.

Kevin Sinfield: Rugby League

Kevin Sinfield is the current captain of Leeds Rhinos and also the most decorated in the club’s long history.

Made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to rugby league, the stand-off has led Leeds to six Super League titles and three World Club Challenges since taking over as skipper in 2003.

He won Golden Boot as the world’s best player in 2012 and captained England with real distinction before standing aged 34.

Ben Swift: Cycling

The 26-year-old from Rotherham enjoyed a stellar year in the saddle in 2014. The designated sprinter for powerful British squad Team Sky, Swift recorded wins at stage races in Italy and Spain and also finished third at the revered monuments classic Milan-San Remo. He earned more ranking points in races around the world in 2014 than sprint sensation Mark Cavendish.

Josh Warrington: Boxing

Dental technician by day, professional boxer by night, Warrington beat Martin Lindsay last year to add the British featherweight title to his Commonwealth crown, at the First Direct Arena in front of his adoring home fans in Leeds.

The 23-year-old is one of the great hopes of British boxing.

Danny Willett: Golf

Despite not earning a victory in 2014, Sheffield golfer Danny Willett had his most consistent year on the European Tour.

The 26-year-old from Sheffield recorded five top-10 finishes on the Tour and earned more than £500,000, whilst also breaking into the world’s top 100.

Nile Wilson: Gymnastics

He was one of the most successful members of Team England at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

He went into the event as the unheralded member of England’s five-man team, competing alongside four gymnasts - including household name Louis Smith - who had all won Olympic medals.

But it was Wilson who emerged as the star for the future. He then added a medal of each colour in the individual events.