Football may not be back home and the lack of exhilarating football action may take some time to come to terms with, but the summer of sport has just begun.
The thrilling European Championship did nothing but whet the appetite as it was the start of an exciting period in the sporting calendar.
Football is off the menu for the moment (although clubs have started pre-season), but there’s plenty of tasty action for sports fans to savor …
The Open is back
After being canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Open is back at Royal St George’s.
Yes, golf enthusiasts should prepare to celebrate the event’s 150th anniversary this time around, but the excitement is still growing.
US Open winner Jon Rahm is a bookmaker favorite, while 23-year-old Viktor Hovland will overflow with confidence after his first European Tour win.
US Open winner Jon Rahm is bookmakers’ favorite for The Open, which started on Thursday
British fans are hoping Rory McIlroy can regain some form after disappointing performances in Ireland and Scotland and the Northern Irishman has insisted he’s working harder than ever.
It is the last major of the year and promises to deliver results.
Date: July 15-18
US OPEN BETS
Jon Rahm 2/15
Brooks Koepka 14/1
Jordan Spieth 16/1
Justin Thomas 18/1
Xander ScHotele 18/1
Rory McIlroy 20/1
Dustin Johnson 22/1
Patrick Cantlay 28/1
Tyrell Hatton 28/1
Viktor Hovland 28/1
* Quotations courtesy of Betfair
Mark Cavendish on the verge of history
The Tour de France was filled with drama this year after a spectator caused the biggest crash in racing history.
Yes, that incident dominated the headlines, but Briton Mark Cavendish also stole the show.
Upon his return to the Tour de France for the first time in three years, he won four stages, coming up with one win from Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins in the Tour de France.
Cavendish is 72 points ahead in the Tour points standings and if he wins another stage he will take the green jersey. He could very well make it on the Champs-Elysees in Sunday’s final.
Date: June 26-July 18
Mark Cavendish is one step away from breaking Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 stage wins in the Tour de France
Chance for Hamilton to get back on track
Lewis Hamilton has won six of the previous seven British Grands Prix, but his chance of winning eighth overall at Silverstone this weekend is in jeopardy.
Mercedes lost five consecutive races, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen winning four.
Around 140,000 spectators return to the stands this weekend and Mercedes has traditionally done well at Silverstone.
The track is effectively a home race for the German team, with their Brackley-based factory just a few miles down the road from the track.
Red Bull have been convincing in subsequent victories in Austria, but the long-awaited race may have come at just the right time for Hamilton and British fans.
Date: July 18
Lewis Hamilton has dominated at Silverstone in recent years, but Red Bull is in charge
The Hundred has finally arrived
The glitzy cricket tournament is finally emerging after its postponement last year.
The brand new competition features each side bowling 100 deliveries, designed to be affordable and attract a new generation of fans.
The counties are replaced by eight regional franchises: Birmingham Phoenix, London Spirit, Oval Invincibles, Manchester Originals Northern Superchargers, Trent Rockets, Southern Brave and Welsh Fire.
The throws will be held on a stage while ‘five’ will be called by the referees, instead of ‘over’ to signal the end of every five ball over. Ten balls are thrown from the same end – by one or two players – with the referees showing a blank card to indicate that there are only five balls left.
National cricket will use the Decision Review System for the first time while a “super five” – one ball less than a super over – will be played in the event of a tie.
Date: July 21-August 21
The Hundred is a new franchised 100 ball cricket tournament starting on July 21st
The Olympics can rekindle the feel-good factor
Finally less than a week to go before the Tokyo Olympics. The journey up to this point has been arduous and totally unique and unfortunately there may be other obstacles in the way before the opening ceremony points to kick things off on July 23rd.
Sadly, fans were banned from participating after Japan declared a state of emergency for the coronavirus last week, but there are many reasons why the Games are worth waiting for.
There will be new baseball / softball, karate, skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing events, Noah Lyles can fill the void left by Usain Bolt, Sky Brown will become Team GB’s youngest summer Olympian while Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith is one of the favorite to claim gold this summer.
The Olympics offer that feel-good factor and give fans a chance to see sports that are rarely seen.
Date: July 23-August 8
Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith is one of the favorites to win gold at the Tokyo Olympics this summer
Don’t tame the lions
The British and Irish Lions’ tour in South Africa looks set to go on despite being marked by cases of Covid.
There have been more than 20 positive Covid members in the South African camp, but a South African A team beat Warren Gatland’s team on Wednesday.
The preparations have not been ideal but it seems that the three tests will take place.
The Lions took a hard hit when Captain Alun Wyn Jones dislocated his shoulder just seven minutes in the warm-up clash against Japan at Murrayfield, but he could very well return to the fold.
“Given his age, they think they could potentially take a few more shortcuts than a young player would,” Gatland said. ‘So he’s a little optimistic that a miracle can happen, and then he can get back on his feet.
A timely boost for Lions and the tour as a whole.
Date: July 24th August 7th
Warren Gatland’s Lions team will face South Africa in three test matches this summer
The road to the ashes
The No. 2 in the world, India, is in town to face England in a five-game test series, starting August 4.
It is an opportunity for England to take revenge on their disappointing defeat in India earlier this year.
Their line left a lot to be desired, but Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler are expected to return to the fray as well as Jofra Archer if he has recovered from his elbow injury.
Fans will also return for the mouthwatering clashes at Trent Bridge, Lord’s, Headingley, The Oval and Old Trafford, which Joe Root’s men could tap into to gain an advantage.
England v India fall short in terms of excitement over the Ashes, but this summer’s five-match streak serves as a good yardstick for the Australians’ upcoming showdown this winter.
Everything is leading to the Ashes and England will be looking to achieve some form and momentum.
Date: August 4 September 14
England welcome India to a five-game test series this summer, seeking revenge
Goodwood will be glorious
One of the prestigious Glorious Goodwood horse racing meetings can accommodate crowds of capacity.
The sensational stars on the turf will be cheered by a sell-out for five days after the annual festival was held behind closed doors last year.
The government’s initial pilot plan for 5,000 fans at Goodwood Races was shelved a day before it was supposed to go ahead in 2020 with the U-turn costing over £ 250,000.
Glorious Goodwood comes just days after King George’s highly anticipated Ascot weekend.
Thousands of punters will be a welcome sight in what will be a pretty long week on the horse racing calendar.
Date: July 27-July 31
Crowds of garments will return to Glorious Goodwood for the first time since 2019 (pictured)
Battle for number 21 in Flushing Meadows
The curtain has fallen on Wimbledon, but the last Grand Slam of the year is around the corner.
Attendance numbers increased in the two weeks at SW19 and the US Open is expected to welcome a full-fledged audience for the entire tournament at the end of August.
And it promises to be spectacular with Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at all levels in 20 Grand Slam tournaments after the Serbian clinched the Wimbledon title last Sunday.
Djokovic has the momentum, Nadal missed the tournament on the grass while Federer suffered a shock exit, so all three are looking forward to being the one pushing forward in the battle for supremacy.
Date: August 30-September 12
Novak Djokovic joined Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in 20 Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon
Another Wembley final
A week later and another final at Wembley. St Helens take on Castleford in the Rugby League Challenge Cup final on Saturday.
Castleford has an added incentive with manager Daryl Powell leaving his hometown club at the end of the year for Warrington,
St Helens’ Sione Mata’utia will miss the showdown after receiving two separate match disqualifications for high tackles with only one overturn on appeal.
The striker, who is in his first Super League season and was facing his older brother Peter, was judged for committing a high tackle rated as “reckless” in the eighth minute of Saint’s 30-14 win over Wakefield la last week and was therefore deemed to have made “dangerous contact” 20 minutes later.
“I’ve talked to him and he’s pretty gutted to be honest and angry at the same time,” said Peter.
Date: July 17
Leeds Rhinos won the Rugby League Challenge Cup after beating Salford at Wembley last year