IT’S not been a bad year for sport in the Observer patch. In fact, it’s been an amazing one, writes Observer sports editor Steve Bone.
The year has flown by – maybe that’s a sign of age! – and the more I think back over 2012 and what I’ve reported on in these pages, the more high points come to mind.
But I’ve picked out five favourite sporting stories. In chronological order, they are:
1 In March I made my ‘debut’ at Chichester Rugby Club. They’ve been trying to get me to one of their famous lunches for ages and I finally got round to it.
I admit I’m not a huge rugby fan but it was a fantastic day – chatting to some of the many volunteers who have turned the club into such a successful one from top to bottom; then watching the Blues hammer Trojans.
2 Watching the Rocks win their play-off semi-final and final at a packed Nyewood Lane was superb.
The semi-final against Godalming, which ended in a 5-4 win on penalties after a 4-4 draw, was one of the most dramatic games of football I’ve ever seen.
Seeing them secure promotion by then winning the final was a magical day.
3 The Chichester & District Youth Sport Awards ceremony, which I’m lucky enough to be involved in each year, is always a highlight.
Just seeing the sheer number of young sporting stars we have in the area, and all their supporting parents and coaches, is humbling.
4 Frankel’s return to Glorious Goodwood was phenomenal. We may never see another horse like him – yet I was one of the lucky ones to see him two years in a row at Glorious. Why he wasn’t on the BBC’s sports personality shortlist, I’ll never know.
5 Chatting to and reporting on local Paralympian Emma Wiggs, who captained the GB women’s sitting volleyball team, was a privilege.
The London Paralympics have changed people’s attitudes to disabled sport and inspirational Emma has played a big part in that.
And I can’t let the column pass without a fond farewell to Fontwell Park supremo Phil Bell. He’s been a huge friend to everyone at the Observer and will be missed as he moves on.
You can read about his memories of his decade at Fontwell in this week’s (Dec 27) paper.
What’s been your favourite local sport story of 2012? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a tweet to @stevebone1
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