The district saw success upon success for its sports stars in 2012. ADAM LORD looks at whether sport in Lancaster and Morecambe is as good as it’s ever been.
Are we in a golden age of Lancaster and Morecambe sport?
A look through the pages of The Visitor from the last 12 months would suggest so.
A boxer on the verge of a world heavyweight title shot, a motorsport icon and a fast-rising darts star are just three of the people that call our district home.
And that’s without mentioning the district’s representation at the London 2012 Olympics as well as its football teams.
Where to start then?
Morecambe’s most long-standing sporting great is Isle of Man TT and all-round motorcylcling legend John McGuinness.
Now at the tender age of 40, the Morecambe Missile clocked up his 18th and 19th wins at the festival of racing meaning his now seven short of his great friend and rival Joey Dunlop’s record of 26 victories.
The best thing about McGuinness is that if the contents of a new pictoral biography on the Honda TT Legends rider are anything to go by, he’s no intention of stopping any time soon.
Is he is the established star, then two other men, Tyson Fury and Dave Chisnall are fast reaching the same level in their respective disciplines.
Morecambe-based Fury is within touching distance of a match with one of the heavyweight-ruling Klitschkos after a string of impressive victories in 2012, and his on-off clash with British rival David Price is arguably one of the most anticipated in all of boxing.
Chisnall on the other hand started the year with a win over darting great Phil “The Power” Taylor at the Ladbrokes World Championships at the Alexandra Palace and now finds himself number 12 in the world.
And after topping the PDC’s Pro Tour order of merit Chizzy reached the last 16 dart’s biggest event to finish the year, in a sport that has catapulted itself into the mainstream over recent years.
It’s worth remembering that we’re talking about great local sporting success in what was the year to end all years for sport in Great Britain, appitomised by the unrelenting triumph that was the London 2012 Olympic games.
The district did have representation there, Lancaster swimmer Rob Bale taking part in a piece of sports history, swimming the third leg in the 4x200m relay that saw American juggernaut Michael Phelps become the most decorated Olympian of all time.
Also in the pool, five members of Lancaster Water Polo club Alex Rutlidge, Beckie Kershaw, Ciaran James, Alex Parsonage and Glen Robinson, helped raise the profile of what is a minority sport in the UK, not coming close to the medals but giving some of the tournament’s more fancied sides a fright along the way.
With all this sporting success on an international level it might be easy to forget about Morecambe FC.
Yes, in terms of the Football League, The Shrimps are a small club, but the summer of 2012 marked five years since ‘that’ day at Wembley when Danny Carlton’s goal sent Morecambe to the promised land.
Jim Bentley’s side are well-established in League 2 and the club’s former skipper is performing minor miracles working on a tight budget.
There will always be grumbles, whether it be about crowds or form at their relatively new £12 miilion Globe Arena home but after spending the majority of their history in non-league Shrimps fans should celebrate the position they find themselves in at the start of 2013.