Best of the Week: 31st December 2012 to 6th January 2013

So long 2012! You were a fantastic year to cover with amazing British sporting achievements all over the place. But you’re so last year. It’s time for 2013 to really get underway.

As you might expect at the start of a year, not a lot’s happening at the moment. It’s cold and miserable, so it’s the perfect time for winter sports to really get into the swing of things. Not just those, either; many sports’ seasons started last summer and are starting to reach the crunch time in the next few months.

Time to get back into the routine of selecting the top ten athletes or teams from the previous week of sport. As before, competitions that didn’t finish until after last week ended aren’t included, so no Six Days of Rotterdam cycling or the BDO World Darts Championships.

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Surrey Heat – Basketball

Image: BBL

Image: BBL

The BBL Cup Final may be ready to be contested by Newcastle Eagles and Leicester Riders next week, but third-placed team Surrey Heat are keeping the pressure on their rivals in the championship table. Two wins, against London Lions and Durham Wildcats, put the Heat level on points with Leicester and in prime position for the upcoming playoffs.

Mark Selby – Snooker

Image: World Snooker

Image: World Snooker

After a brilliant end to 2012 by winning the UK Championship, the “Jester from Leicester” couldn’t have started 2013 any better by winning the latest round of the European Tour. Selby won a tightly fought final against Scot Graeme Dott, edging it 4-3. He also picked up three century breaks throughout the tournament, whose initial stages began in November, including a massive 137.

Andy Vernon – Athletics

Andy Vernon couldn’t lead the home nation to a win in the Great Edinburgh XCountry 8km race but a great individual performance from him saw him cross the line in third place.

Jordan Fitzgerald – Skiing

A name that’s foreign to a lot of people, youngster Jordan Fitzgerald had a brilliant week. If claiming fourth place in the slalom event at Snowbird wasn’t enough, she returned the next day and came second! Perhaps a name to look out for in the future.

Team Bath – Netball

Image: England Netball

Image: England Netball

They’ve struggled on without any silverware for a while now but the Superleague side won 2013’s first trophy on offer in the Fast Net Grand Prix. A narrow 26-21 against Manchester Thunder saw them crowned this year’s champions in advance of the division kicking off again in February.

Andy Murray – Tennis

Image: Sky Sports

Image: Sky Sports

It wasn’t exactly a tournament strewn with difficulty, but winning the Brisbane International meant everything to Andy Murray. Not only did he relieve some of the pressure bestowed on him after winning the US Open, but Murray dedicated the win to a “sick friend”, later believed to be team-mate Ross Hutchins who was diagnosed with cancer recently. The tournament was ideal preparation for the Australian Open, for which Murray is seeded third.

Lizzy Yarnold – Skeleton

Lizzy Yarnold on her first run in Altenberg. Image: AP/Daily Mail

Lizzy Yarnold on her first run in Altenberg. Image: AP/Daily Mail

Elizabeth Yarnold is definitely eager to grab the World Cup top spot with only a few legs of the tour left to go. Although Shelley Rudman won’t be keen to relinquish her crown just yet, Yarnold lies in second place and her fourth place last weekend is just another reminder that she wants the prize so badly. Let’s hope she replicates that drive in the upcoming World Championships.

Manchester City – Football

Gareth Barry scores a rare goal against Watford. Image: Daily Mail/EPA

Gareth Barry scores a rare goal against Watford. Image: Daily Mail/EPA

Things might not be so rosy off the pitch, with training ground spats involving Mario Balotelli making the headlines, but they brushed any worries aside with two strong wins last week. After seeing off Stoke 3-0 in the Premier League, they repeated the feat against Watford in the FA Cup. City were the only team to play two matches and concede no goals, so they held off their rampant neighbours for once.

Ed Clancy – Cycling

Image: Revolution series/Luke Webber

Image: Revolution series/Luke Webber

Just another day at the velodrome for Ed Clancy. Not content with storming the flying lap in the third round of the Revolution series, Clancy went on to dominate in the 23-man elimination race. His heroics weren’t enough to help Rapha Condor-Sharp win on the day but they still head the standings, holding off Team Sky with one round to go.

Laura Massaro/Nick Matthew – Squash

There was nothing to celebrate the two English squash stars as they both reached their respective finals in the PSA/WSA World Series Finals in Malaysia. On another day they might have been successful, but it’s hard to argue with the talent they came up against, particularly home favourite Nicol David who just can’t stop winning. Nick Matthew fought hard in his showdown and will soon be looking to reclaim his number one crown that he lost in 2012.

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About archangelffx

An aging music and sports enthusiast who has nothing better to do but write lists of stuff.
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