As the dust settles on 2018, it would be easy to sit back and reflect on another amazing year of sport. With the FIFA World Cup, the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and all of the annual events too, there was certainly plenty to celebrate. Even if it didn’t quite come home.
Growing up, I would normally dread the odd years. No Olympics or Commonwealth Games. No World Cup or European Championships. I always preferred a nice, round 2010 or 2012 to a horrible 2009 or 2011 when I didn’t think there was anything to look forward to.
But as I’ve grown older I’ve learnt to understand that sport never stops. There is still plenty on offer to whet the appetite of any sports lover. So, as you finalise your Christmas preparations, what better way to end the year than by studying this month-by-month guide of what sport has to offer in 2019.
As always, the year begins with the final of the PDC Darts World Championships on New Year’s Day. With Raymond van Barneveld and Peter Wright already out, could we see another outsider triumph, like Rob Cross last year?
It’s time for FA Cup third round action on the first weekend of the month. Who will provide the biggest giant killing act this year? Could we see Woking topple Watford? Or maybe Tranmere can overcome Spurs?
Elsewhere, Andy Murray – who missed three of this year’s four majors – is scheduled to return to Grand Slam action at the Australian Open which is being held from January 14-27.
In snooker, Mark Allen will defend his Masters title at Alexandra Palace, while Joe Root and his men will get their series in the West Indies under way with the first Test in Bridgetown on January 23.
After a promising autumn, England will be hoping to eradicate memories of a disastrous 2017 Six Nations campaign. They face arguably their trickiest test in their first game away at defending champions Ireland on February 2nd, a day after Wales and France get the ball rolling in Paris.
The centrepiece of American football will have millions of British fans awake until the early hours with Super Bowl LIII (number 53 to you and me) taking place in Atlanta on February 3rd.
The last of the three Tests in the West Indies starts on February 9th, before the first of five ODIs on February 20th. Football’s Carabao Cup Final takes place on February 24th at Wembley – who will win the first domestic title of the year?
The first major athletics meet of the season sees Glasgow hosting the European Indoor Championships from March 1st to 3rd, while the West Indies cricket series will be wrapped up with a third T20 game on March 10th.
The Cheltenham festival gets under way on March 12th, with the coveted Gold Cup being run on the 15th.
The last round of Six Nations fixtures take place on March 16th, while Lewis Hamilton will begin his hunt for a sixth World Championship when the F1 season starts in Australia on March 17th.
Gareth Southgate leads his England team into European qualifiers vs Czech Republic and Montenegro on March 22nd and 25th respectively, and the Gymnastics World Cup comes to Birmingham on March 23th.
British Open champion Georgia Hall will be among the favourites at the first golf major of the year – the ANA Inspiration – at the start of the month, while the men compete for the Masters in Augusta from April 11th to 14th.
The Grand National at Aintree is on April 6th, a day before the Boat Race in London. Can Oxford get revenge on Cambridge who won both races last time out?
Elsewhere, Anthony Joshua has Wembley booked for April 13th – could we see him fight Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury?
The Snooker World Championship is back at Sheffield’s Crucible a week later, while the London Marathon takes place on April 28th.
Always a busy month for sport, May starts with England’s ODI vs Ireland, before a home series against Pakistan ahead of the World Cup which begins on May 30th. Can Eoin Morgan’s boys deliver on home soil?
The domestic football season comes to an end ahead of the FA Cup final on May 18th and the various football league play-off finals over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Before that, we have rugby union’s Champions Cup final on May 11th, while Chris Froome will be looking to defend his Giro d’Italia title, with the race starting on the same day.
Elsewhere, the PGA Championship will take place from May 16th to 19th, ahead of the women’s US Open which starts on May 30th.
The darts Premier League reaches its conclusion in London on May 23rd, while Rafael Nadal will defend his French Open crown, with the action getting under way at Roland Garros on May 26th.
The first day of June treats sports fans to the Champions League final, the Premiership Rugby Union final and the Epsom Derby – something for everyone.
England play the Netherlands in the semi-finals of the Nations League in Guimaraes on June 6th as they bid to claim the inaugural crown, before the women compete in the World Cup which starts a day later. The men’s U21s also kick off their European Championship campaign in Italy, against France on June 18th.
England’s female cricketers begin their series against the West Indies on June 6th, while in golf the US Open will be contested from June 13th to 16th, and the Women’s PGA Championship will take place from June 20th to 23rd.
The inaugural hockey Pro League finals will also take place on June 29th and 30th.
Two weeks of tennis gets under way at Wimbledon on July 1st, before the Women’s Ashes begins with the first ODI a day later. The ladies will be looking to get revenge on their arch rivals after losing out in the World T20 final in November.
Geraint Thomas begins his quest for a second successive maillot jaune when the Tour de France starts on July 6th, while England’s netball squad will be aiming to add to their Commonwealth gold medal with success at the World Cup which is being held from July 12th to 21st in Liverpool.
The World Swimming Championships will be contested from July 12th to 28th, while the Cricket World Cup finally reaches its conclusion on the 14th.
In golf, the Open Championship at Royal Portrush – which begins on July 18th – signals the last of the men’s majors. The women’s penultimate major – the Evian Championship – will be contested from July 25th to 28th.
The Ashes will provide the major talking point of August, with play getting started at Edgbaston on the first of the month.
England sit as slight favourites at the moment and will surely be confident at home, barring any disasters going into the first Test.
In golf, the Women’s British Open takes place on the same weekend, before domestic football will return early in the month.
The Challenge Cup returns to Wembley on August 24th after Catalans Dragons’ famous win this year, while the Vuelta a Espana starts on the same day. The last of the tennis majors – the US Open – begins on August 26th.
There is plenty of cricket action in September, with the Kia Super League finals day on the first of the month, the start of the fifth and final Ashes Test on September 12th, the T20 finals day on the 21st and the last round of County Championship fixtures beginning two days later.
Aside from the cricket, there is also the Rugby World Cup in Japan. England are among the favourites to regain the Webb Ellis Cup and Eddie Jones’s men begin their campaign v United States on September 26th.
September also sees Doha host the Athletics World Championships, with action starting on September 27th.
With Dina Asher-Smith recording world-leading times in the 100m and 200m in 2018, could 2019 be her year?
Elsewhere, England are back in Euro 2020 qualifying action, with matches against Bulgaria and Kosovo on September 7th and 10th, respectively. In cycling, the Road World Championships will take place from September 22nd to 29th.
Besides the ongoing rugby World Cup and the conclusion of the Athletics World Championships on the sixth, October will be a relatively quiet month.
More Euro qualifiers are in store for England, away to Czech Republic and Bulgaria on October 11th and 14th, respectively.
The Super League Grand Final will be held at Old Trafford on the 12th, while the WTA Finals will start in Shenzhen on October 27th.
The final of the Rugby World Cup will take place in Yokohama on November 2nd, before the ATP Tennis finals in London, which start on November 10th.
England’s footballers play their last matches of the year at home to Montenegro on November 14th and away to Kosovo on November 17th.
The Davis Cup final will take place on November 22, four days before Ronnie O’Sullivan begins the defence of his UK Championship crown.
The first day of the final month of the year sees the Formula One season come to an end in Abu Dhabi.
The start of the 2020 PDC Darts World Championship will signal the start of the festive celebrations as usual, before we are once again treated to a look back on all of the year’s sporting achievements at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.
If we win the Nations League, the Ashes and the Rugby World Cup to name but a few, there could be plenty of options…
So, there we have it. No Olympics or World Cup, but more than enough to keep you entertained. Plan your diary now, there’s plenty to fit in!
Featured photograph/Mohamed Hassan/pxhere