Four Groups of 4 epic feats will be placed before you, dear reader, and your votes alone will decide which two from each go through to two semi-finals; and then ultimately a final, where courtesy of your deliberations, your Sporting Moment of the Decade will be revealed.
Kindly see the graphic above for additional explanation.
Please tune in every day to take part – we need your input. Today we look at the second quarter – and some action of the highest order indeed.
Ben Stokes’ Headingley innings
What is it about the Yorkshire air? Leeds once again bore witness to an incredible cricket match, in an enthralling Ashes series. Ring any bells?
This time around England were on the very precipice of going 2-0 down to the old enemy. Six weeks previously we’d won the Cricket World Cup, but back to red-ball play and the situation was dire.
England needed 359 – a record chase for them. Root, Denly and Bairstow all chipped in significantly, but number five Ben Stokes, above, on a going day all right, was running out of partners.
Last-man Jack Leach, he of the modest demeanour and steamy, maths professor’s glasses, joined Ben with 73 still required to pull off an extraordinary victory. He hung on in there while Stokes pasted the Aussies to every part of a ground called ‘home’ down the years to greats like Sutcliffe, Trueman, Boycott, Close, and Hutton.
As England, well, Stokes, fired themselves to within sight of the finishing line, Nathan Lyon fluffed a simple run-out opportunity gifted him by Leach, then had a great LBW shout turned away against Stokes, when replays suggested the review officials may well have given it – but the Aussies were out of reviews!
Ben thrashed Pat Cummins through the covers for four, raised his arms aloft to the heavens, and victory was England’s. An astonishing display of courage, skill, invention and concentration.
No-one who saw it in Leeds, or on TV, will ever, ever forget it. 135 not out. Another generation had its own Headingley hero at last.
Aguero goal for City to win the PL 1st time
Sergio Leonel Agüero del Castillo (above) joined Manchester City from Atletico Madrid just before the 2011/12 season, for a fee reported to be around £35 million. His goalscoring feats are now the stuff of legend, but it was one he scored at the climactic end of that first campaign for which he’ll be remembered wherever football is discussed, marvelled at, and enjoyed.
It had been a fantastic but rather topsy-turvy season for City, as at times they’d looked like they would win the title readily, but also merely finish a worthy but distant second.
Five straight wins, and some late slip-ups by rivals Manchester United, left City with the task of beating Queens Park Rangers at the Etihad in the season’s final match. They led the league on goal difference only, and would wrap things up if they could get maximum points.
United were at Sunderland, and could only hope to win, and that City would make a mess of things. Well, …….
City took the lead, but calamity struck not once but twice, and Rangers led 2-1. City’s wait for a top-flight league title, stretching back to 1968, would be extended it seemed.
Added time began, and Edin Dzeko nodded in the equaliser – but with Utd winning at Sunderland it wouldn’t be enough. Tears flowed, Frustrations were keenly felt. The seconds ebbed away.
Nigel de Jong moved into QPR territory. Balotelli and Aguero swapped passes, and the ball broke for ‘Kun’ in the box. He glided past one defender, took dead aim with his right peg, and fired City to their first Premiership title. The place went absolutely bananas.
93 minutes and 20 seconds – 93.20 – a hospitality area at the Etihad now bears that legend. Utd’s hopes were dashed, and Martin Tyler’s iconic Aguerrrroooooooooohhhhhh commentary will live on almost as long as the goal. A day when dreams came true, in blue.
The most amazing and dramatic end to a season that anyone can ever recall. Of all his 170-odd goals for City it’s the one priceless Sergio Aguero strike that no-one will ever forget.
Man Utd’s 20th PL Title
It’s appropriate to celebrate, and commemorate, United’s great achievement in 2012/13 after weighing their situation at the end of the previous campaign.
Aguero’s late heroics will have deflated everyone at Old Trafford, and a wounded Alex Ferguson side with something to prove is a dangerous customer indeed.
City were strongly fancied to follow-up, but United, notably Robin Van Persie, and especially their legendary manager, had other ideas.
Interestingly, Utd’s campaign had begun stickily with defeat at Everton, but around Christmas and into the New Year the Reds drew clear of their rivals. They finished on 89 points, a yawning 11 ahead of City, and 14 clear of third-placed Chelsea.
RVP ended the season with a terrific haul of 26, and this was Fergie’s 13th title in 21 seasons. Absolutely incredible.
It was to be his last hurrah, as the irreplaceable Sir Alex (above) retired at the end of that fantastic campaign. The noisy neighbours had severely rattled his cage 12 months earlier, and he hit back in the only way he knew how.
By winning again. And in some style.
GB Olympic Gold Super Saturday
2012 – Britain’s London Olympic Games – and a certain Saturday. August 4th to be precise – and the day began brightly enough with joy for the home nation in both the rowing and cycling events.
Yet it was in the Olympic Stadium that history would be made, and emotions gloriously shredded. Within 40-odd sensational minutes we saw Jess Ennis win the heptathlon gold, Greg Rutherford leap to long jump glory, and then Mo Farah (above, with Jess) cut through the pack to win the 10,000 metres.
Seb (Lord) Coe, an Olympic great himself and responsible for organising the London Games, described it as “a narrative of infectious success.”
Team GB ended in overall third place in the medal table, and 29 of their 65 won were indeed gold. None were prized more highly, or celebrated as rapturously, than Saturday’s sparkling haul. Spectacular, and then some.