MM’s top five… Manchester sporting events not to miss in 2013

By Dominic Claeys-Jackson

By God, 2012 has gone quickly hasn’t it?

Okay, so it’s not quite over yet but – barring a Mayan-forecasted apocalypse – we will be embracing 2013 before we know it.

With that in mind, it’s time to look forward rather than back; and, more particularly, at the sporting events Mancunians can savour over the next twelve months.

While this sporting year has been an incredible one for Manchester, a quick glance at next year’s pickings prove that 2013 will be none too shabby either…

1. 2013 Rugby League World Cup

October 26 – November 30, Various Venues

Rugby league lovers across the region are in for a treat next autumn, with the 14th World Cup reaching Mancunian shores.

Not only will Old Trafford host the November 30 final, but four further matches will be held at various venues across Greater Manchester – including, potentially, an England quarter-final.

Rochdale’s Spotland Stadium will host Fiji vs Ireland on October 28, whilst Salford City Stadium welcomes Scotland vs United States on November 7.

Leigh Sports Village meanwhile will play host to Tonga vs Cook Islands on November 5.

And if Steve McNamara’s England finish runners-up in their group they will play their last-eight match at Wigan’s DW Stadium on November 16.

England, Wales, Ireland and France are co-hosting the rugby feast with fourteen nations battling it out to be crowned the planet’s finest.

Tickets for all matches can be purchased here (subject to availability).


2. The Ashes 2013, Third Test

August 1 – August 5, Old Trafford

After this summer’s pitiful weather offering, the region’s cricket fans – and everybody else presumably – will be praying for sunshine this coming August.

Because for the first time since England’s epic 2005 victory the Ashes series will return to Manchester.

The third of the five tests takes place at Lancashire’s Old Trafford Cricket Ground, meaning that the five-day fixture could prove to be the decider.

England will hope to retain the famous urn in the nation’s favourite grudge match, after beating the Aussies 3-1 in their own backyard in January 2011.

Captain Alastair Cook is looking to lead England to their 31st victory – a feat which would equal Australia’s tally of wins.

Trent Bridge, Lords, the Riverside and the Oval are the four other venues.

Tickets for the Third Test at Old Trafford can be purchased here (limited availability).


3. Manchester United vs Manchester City, Barclays Premier League

Saturday April 6, Old Trafford (Date and time subject to change)

Okay, so this titanic battle happens at least twice every year.

But under no circumstances should the Manchester Derby ever be neglected from such a list, as the month’s earlier breathless encounter demonstrated.

United grabbed a 3-2 victory with an injury-time Robin van Persie free-kick, putting them six points ahead of City at the top.

City themselves are seven points ahead of third-placed Chelsea, meaning that the title will most likely remain in Manchester come May, though goodness knows where.

The match is now more significant than ever, with City’s own last-gasp winner in the final game of last season wrestling the title from United’s grip.

With the same 94th minute miracle (surely) unlikely to happen again, April’s Manchester Derby could prove a huge indicator as to where this season’s title is heading.

There’s many hoping the game is another mouth-watering example of why the Premier League is the world’s greatest.


4. English National Badminton Championships 2013

February 1 – February 3, National Cycling Centre

For three days this coming spring, The National Cycling Centre gives up its day job, with Badminton England taking over in search of the country’s finest.

Sir Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins and Victoria Pendleton are just three names which usually set the centre ablaze, but the refurbed Velodrome will seek a new set of sports stars.

Rajiv Ouseph is the main attraction, with the London 2012 Olympian and Commonwealth silver medallist bidding to claim a record sixth consecutive men’s singles title.

Meanwhile Chris Adcock, World Championship silver medallist, aims to win a second consecutive English National title in both the men’s doubles and mixed doubles.

Tickets start at £9 for adults and £6 concessions, and are available here.


5. Manchester Rugby 7s Festival

May 17 – May 19, Broughton Park RUFC

After the four superb spectator events aforementioned, it’s only fair to include one which Joe Public can truly get stuck into: Manchester Rugby 7s.

A three-day international rugby festival, the event welcomes more than 200 male and female teams worldwide across 17 tournaments – making it the largest of its kind in the world.

Indeed, Rugby stars including Jason Robinson, Ben Foden and Sam Tomkins have previously attended, speaking of the festival in glowing terms.

However, it offers more than just top-class rugby – the event also doubles up as a music festival, with visitors able to camp for the whole weekend.

Live bands, fancy dress, VIP hospitality, a kids’ play zone and a trade village are just a few of the attractions at this true family event.

The Heineken Cup final will also be shown live on big screens, making it the ideal place to grab a beer and watch the big game in the sunshine.

Tickets start at £10 for adults and £5 concessions, and are available here.

Picture courtesy of stuandgravy, with thanks

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