Posts tagged: Northern Ireland

The 2012 BBC SPOTY nominees

By , 16th December 2012 19:26

After the controversial all-male shortlist in 2011, the reconstituted judging panel for the 2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year were spoiled for choice at the end of an incredible year for British sport. Once again, Sportingland looks for factors that might influence how the nation votes.

The 2012 shortlist is made up of seven men and five women.

All but one of the nominees starred at London 2012. Three are Paralympians.

After London 2012 started a debate about the coverage of sport in the British media, how it is dominated by football and gives negligible exposure to the athletic achievements of women it is fitting that the SPOTY shortlist does not include a footballer for the first time in many years.

If active sportsmen and women wish to support candidates from their own sports, cyclists and athletes have a choice of three candidates each. For boxers, golfers, rowers, swimmers and tennis players, the choice will be much easier.


View SPOTY 2012 in a larger map

Who will Scottish voters back? Previous nominees Andy Murray and Sir Chris Hoy or Katherine Grainger?

Rory McIlroy has a clear run at both the Northern Ireland and golf votes this year having been up against fellow Ulster golfers Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell in previous years. Similarly Ellie Simmonds is the only candidate from the Midlands.

Ten of the finalists are on twitter. If twitter followers translated into votes cast, Based on twitter followeers as of 28 November, Rory McIlroy would win, Andy Murray would be second with Jess Ennis third.

If the Amazon sports book best sellers list is reflected in votes cast, Bradley Wiggins wins gold, with Jess in silver medal position and Chris Hoy taking bronze.

Let battle commence.

The All-Male SPOTY 2011 nominees

By , 7th December 2011 00:02

BBC Sport opened a hornets nest when it managed to produce an all-male shortlist for its 2011 Sports Personality of the Year Award. Chrissie Wellington, who secured her fourth Ironman triathlon world title in October 2011, provided one of the most thoughtful critiques of the nomination process, the underlying gender-bias of Britain’s sporting media and its domination by football and a handful of other sports.

The Sports Journalists’ Association has highlighted that its members have a rich selection of female British world champions to choose between when casting their votes for its own Sportswoman of the Year Award. The favourites for their Sportsman of the Year Award closely resembles the SPOTY shortlist.


View SPOTY 2011 – the nominees in a larger map

In its annual effort to discern possible voting patterns, Sporting Landmarks has once again mapped the home towns of SPOTY nominees. All four home countries are represented in this year’s SPOTY shortlist and cycling’s road race world champion Mark Cavendish represents the Isle of Man for the third year running.

Once again Northern Ireland has two nominees who will be seeking to keep the trophy in the Province after AP McCoy’s victory last year. However not only will the loyalties of Northern Ireland voters be split two ways between Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke, Hemel Hempstead’s Luke Donald will also be competing for votes from golf.

Both ‘Londoners’ were actually born in Africa. Mo Farah, atheltics’ 5000m World Champion was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, although he moved to the East End as a boy. He is still affiliated with Newham & Essex Beagles according to UK Athletics although his training base is currently in Portland Oregon in the USA. Andrew Strauss arrived in England aged six having been born in Johannesburg, South Africa: Lords has been taken as the spiritual home for the Middlesex and England cricketer on the map.

Dai Greene from Llanelli will have to compete with Farah for the athletics vote but should have the first call on votes from Wales. Andrew Stauss will need to see-off Gloucester’s Alastair Cook for the support of cricketers.

Andy Murray looks to have a clear run at both Scottish and tennis votes while Amir Khan is the only boxer and the only finalist from Northern England.

The 2010 results also suggest that non of last year’s contenders – or their supporters – managed to fully exploit twitter to mobilise support even though nine of the ten finalists were tweeters. Graeme Swann had more than 116,000 followers in December 2010 but only came 9th with 13,767 votes. The winner, AP McCoy, secured 293,152 votes – nearly 42 percent of the total poll – but had only 971 twitter followers – the second lowest. Will social media be any more influential in 2011?

Enniskillen – birthplace of women’s rugby

By , 11th January 2010 23:43

Hot on the heels of my post on the origins of sevens rugby, Simon Barnes wrote about a landmark for women’s rugby in a footnote to his column in today’s Times.

According to Barnes, the earliest recorded instance a woman playing rugby relates to a match at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen in Northern Ireland in 1885.

The school, founded in 1608 and sometimes referred to as the “Eton of Ireland”, endured difficult times in the 1880s.  The brief history on the school’s website suggests that this might have been due, in part, to the reaction of the then headmaster to the tragic death of his son in a boating accident.

For the match in question in 1885, a depleted school roll meant  the school was short of players so fielded a team that included the daughter of the acting headmaster.  The woman was believed to have been one Miss E. F. Valentine, who together with her three brothers, were instrumental in establishing rugby at the school in 1884.

Apparently Miss Valentine went on to become Mrs Galway and later emigrated to South Africa but her christian name is unknown.

Portora’s contribution to women’s rugby isn’t currently noted on the rugby page of its website.  Is it recorded in Portora: The School on the Hill, published to celebrate the quatercentenary of the school in 2008?

Women’s rugby has come a long way since Miss Valentine first took her place as a three-quarter.  The sixth Womens Rugby World Cup will be staged in England between August 20 and September 5, 2010.  Matches will be played at the Stoop, Twickenham and Surrey Sports Park, Guildford.

The first and second Womens Rugby World Cups were also staged in Britain.  The first WRWC was hosted in Cardiff in 1991.

The USA beat England 19-6 in the final in Cardiff on 14 April 1991.  England and the USA met again in the second final in Edinburghin in 1994.  This time, the tables were turned with England running out 38-23 winners.  New Zealand has reigned supreme in the next three tournaments: Amsterdam (1998), Barcelona (2002) and Edmonton (2006).  A review of past tournaments can be found on the RWRC website.

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