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Wednesday, December 19, 2012
If Christmas films are not your thing and you want to get in some sporting action, then MICHAEL BAILEY takes a look at the best sporting events over the festive period.
1 India v England (Dec 20 & 22)
It wouldn’t be Christmas without watching England play sort of cricket in weather we all miss. This year, it’s about basking in the glory of a Test series victory by taking on India in a format they excel at - two keenly anticipated Twenty20 matches.
2 Lowestoft Town v Margate (Dec 22)
The Blues’ big aim is to become a Conference outfit, and beating the Ryman Premier Division leaders at Crown Meadow would be a real boost ahead of their festive trips ahead. Plus Crown Meadow is as good a place as any in the region to watch non-league football.
3 King’s Lynn Town v Sheffield FC (Dec 22)
The Linnets’ FA Trophy exploits have lit up their season - but their own desire to make the Conference set-up remains the ultimate goal. Sheffield’s other club arrive at The Walks not quite on the pace of the leaders, while Lynn are desperate for victory. Expect no quarter to be given.
4 Norwich City v Chelsea (Dec 26)
The Canaries begin their festive football programme with a visit from last season’s European champions - and given what Chris Hughton’s men have already done to Arsenal and Manchester United at Carrow Road, the Blues would be wise not to take it easy. Norwich also have a point to prove, after being outclassed 4-1 at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season.
5 Kirkley & Pakefield v Gorleston (Dec26)
Getting a ticket isn’t always easy at Carrow Road, but there a couple of cracking non-league Boxing Day fixtures to tickle any football fan’s festive fancy. One to stand out is the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League Premier Division derby between two east coast neighbours at Walmer Road. Both are doing well, but earning bragging rights will be the order of this day.
6 Dereham Town v Norwich United (Dec 26)
Another Thurlow Nunn League Boxing Day treat is the Planters’ visit to Aldiss Park. After a blinding start to the season, United have struggled in recent weeks and sit bogged down in midtable. In contrast, Dereham are flying and arguably prime title favourites with games in hand on the two teams above them. No doubt United would love to upset the applecart.
7 King George VI Chase (Dec 26)
The prized national hunt chase at Kempton Park is a Boxing Day institution with the likes of Desert Orchid and Kauto Star basking in its glory. This year the early betting and form suggests Long Run will add to his 2010 victory - but you never know.
8 Norwich City v Manchester City (Dec 29)
Norwich’s games with Manchester City are rarely dull and both Premier League fixtures with the eventual champions last season produced a glut of goals - 11 of them flying past John Ruddy. Three points off the red half of Manchester in November will have been duly noted at the Etihad.
9 Leicester v Gloucester (Dec 29)
The race to make the Aviva Premiership’s end of season play-offs is hotting up ahead of the international absences brought by the Six Nations. Norfolk hot shots Ben and Tom Youngs will hope to lead the Tigers, fourth, to a Welford Road win over fifth-placed Gloucester in a fixture always relentlessly contested.
10 PDC World Darts Championship (now until Jan 1)
It only feels like Christmas and the New Year if the darts are on. Although this year’s championship will sadly be missing the iconic words of commentator Sid Waddell, who died in August, the action should live up to his memory.