December 25, 2022 10.00 am This story is over 16 months old

Rewind: Lincolnshire’s show stealing sports stars in 2022

Commonwealth medalists, football promotions and England rugby star

By Local Democracy Reporter

In a year where England achieved its greatest ever Commonwealth Games medal haul, the Lionesses brought football home at the Women’s Euros, and GB curlers stole the show at the Winter Olympics, Lincolnshire had more than its fair share of sporting success stories.

2022 has been an unforgettable year for sports fans. Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Ash Barty announced their retirements from tennis, the FIFA World Cup in Qatar brought drama round every corner – and we also had the small matter of both the Commonwealth and Winter Olympic Games.

England and Great Britain enjoyed remarkable success in 2022 sporting events – whether it be the European Championships win for the Lionesses, England’s T20 Cricket World Cup victory, Tyson Fury’s world boxing champion victory lap, a record medal haul at the Commonwealth Games, and Ronnie O’Sullivan earning his record-equalling seventh world snooker title at The Crucible.

Heroic accomplishments were also seen across Lincolnshire this year, with blossoming sports stars who learned their craft in our county making their name on the big stage.

Here are some of Lincolnshire’s shining lights in the world of sport, and the remarkable achievements they managed in 2022:

Tom Jarvis

Tom Jarvis saw all his dreams come true when he won the English Championship earlier this year. He is now also a Commonwealth Games bronze medalist. | Photo: Alan Man

It’s been a year to remember for Skegness’ young table tennis sensation Tom Jarvis. The 23-year-old wrote his name in the history books in March when he won the singles title at the English National Table Tennis Championships, and that was just the start.

His victory in the nationals earned the Lincolnshire-born player a spot in England’s Commonwealth Games table tennis squad, playing a big role in the bronze medal match that earned his country third place in the team competition.

Tom unfortunately fell short in the quarter finals of both the doubles and mixed doubles events, but it proved to be a vital learning experience for the youngster – who can take a lot away from his first ever Commonwealth Games.

The next focus will be attempting to defend his crown as English champion next year, as well as potentially trying his luck at the ITTF World Championships in South Africa in May 2023.

Freya Colbert

Grantham swimming sensation Freya Colbert. | Photo: @chewbokeh/Steve Li

If people on the world swimming stage didn’t know about Grantham’s Freya Colbert before the Commonwealth Games, they certainly did afterwards.

The 18-year-old swam with the experience of a veteran at the Games in Birmingham, picking up an incredible first medal as she won bronze as part of the 4x200m Freestyle relay team – alongside Tamryn Van Selm, Abbie Wood and Freya Anderson.

It avenged the demons of just days previous, where Freya swam a lifetime best time in the 400m Individual Medley only to end up in an agonising 4th place at the Commonwealth Games.

Then, in August, Freya Colbert brought three medals back to Lincolnshire from the European Aquatics Championships in Rome. The teenager won individual bronze in the 400m medley, team silver in the 4x200m freestyle and a stunning gold in the team 4x200m mixed freestyle.

Ollie Chessum

Lincolnshire-born Ollie Chessum in action for Leicester Tigers against Bath. | Photo: Leicester Tigers

2022 saw a Sleaford-born rugby star who developed his love for the game right here in Lincolnshire make it to the pinnacle of the sport by earning caps for his national team.

Ollie Chessum, 22, not only won the 2021-22 Premiership Rugby final with Leicester Tigers, claiming possession for the match-winning drop goal in the process, but his form also saw him called up to the England squad for the Six Nations.

The former Kesteven RFC Under 16s player made his England debut against Italy in the Six Nations, and has gone on to appear another four times for his country – with high hopes that the 6ft 7 Second Row can be a mainstay in the team for many years to come.

A Premiership winner and an England international at 22, Ollie Chessum is threatening to have a rugby career unlike anything we have seen in this county before.

Abbie Donnelly

Abbie Donnelly was again the first female across the line at the City of Lincoln 10K. | Photo: John Aron for The Lincolnite

Lincoln’s queen of 10,000 metre running once again showcased her talents this year, as Abbie Donnelly continued to make a name for herself on the local, national and international stage.

Donnelly, 26, won the fastest female crown at the City of Lincoln 10k in dominant fashion in October, breaking her own course record by completing the route in 32 minutes and 52 seconds. It was the fourth year in a row Abbie had been the fastest female at the event, and the quickest time ever run by a female in a Run For All 10k race anywhere in the country.

More recently, Abbie ran a sensational 9th place finish at the European Cross Country Championships in Italy, improving on her 12th placed finish in 2021 and running almost a minute quicker in the process.

She still holds ambitions of representing the United Kingdom at the next Olympic Games, and her career trajectory suggests the 26-year-old is only getting quicker and quicker.

Peter Hickman

Peter Hickman (middle) is a legendary name in motorsport. | Photo: Isle of Man TT Races

Fans of motorsport will tell you that Peter Hickman needs little to no introduction, his track record very much speaks for itself – and the Lincolnshire motorbike racer again dazzled in 2022.

The Louth-based rider was one of the stars of the Isle of Man TT this year. It is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous events in all of sport, but Peter Hickman, 35, kept his throttle down and raced home to four victories at the legendary event between May and June.

His wins in the Superbike TT, Superstock TT, Supertwin race and Senior race meant Hickman moved onto nine Isle of Man TT victories, placing him joint tenth on the all time list. It is also only the fourth time in history that someone has won four Isle of Man TT races in one week.

Peter finished the British Superbikes Championship season in 9th place, and also picked up points in the World Superbikes Championship, flying the Lincolnshire flag for all the racing world to witness.

Grimsby Town Football Club

John McAtee, Grimsby Town’s promotion hero last season. | Photo: North East Lincolnshire Council

After the heartbreak of relegation to the National League in 2020-21, Grimsby Town and their manager Paul Hurst had a point to prove, and they provided one of the most remarkable runs in the club’s history.

Despite only finishing 6th in the league, the Mariners were given a chance to win promotion back to the English Football League via the National League play-offs – and boy did they do it the hard way.

Grimsby went to extra-time in all three rounds of the play-offs, beating Notts County in the quarter final with a 96th minute injury time equaliser to force an additional 30 minutes of play before Emmanuel Dieseruvwe’s dramatic 119th minute winner sent the Mariners to the semi-final.

Ryan Reynolds-owned Wrexham were next, and Grimsby came out on top in a 5-4 victory that could well be the greatest game of football in 2022. Along came the final, and Grimsby came from behind again to force extra time against Solihull Moors, setting up that now famous Jordan Maguire-Drew goal that sent the London Stadium’s travelling fans into delirium.

Robyn Steward

Lincoln-born Robyn Steward was called up to the Great Britain squad for the 2022 IFAF Women’s World Championships. | Photo: GW Images

American Football is a blossoming sport over in the United Kingdom, and there was no greater evidence of that than the silver medal earned by Great Britain at this year’s IFAF Women’s World Championships in Finland this August.

Robyn Steward a Lincoln-born middle linebacker who plays for Manchester Titans, was named in the squad for the global competition, which saw Great Britain reach the final before falling short to the outright favourites –  the United States of America.

A valiant silver medal for Robyn and the team highlighted the growth of American Football across the pond, and was yet another example of sporting excellence from a Lincolnshire Yellowbelly.

The 33-year-old has already achieved so much in the game, becoming the first female head coach of a BUCS (British Universities and Colleges) Premiership team and representing her country over ten times – so this silver medal will have been another accolade to add to her growing collection.

Honourable Mentions

Callum Johnson and Georgie Twigg, gold medalists at the Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games respectively, retired this year.

2022 was also the year that saw some of Lincolnshire’s truly legendary sporting figures call time on their illustrious careers. Those include Olympic gold medal-winning hockey player Georgie Twigg, and Commonwealth Games gold medalist boxer Callum “The One” Johnson.

Bassingham-born motor racer Jack Harvey continued his spell as an IndyCar driver in 2022, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and ending up 22nd in the overall standings and racing in the world famous Indy500 for the sixth straight season.

Jack Harvey. | Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Bare knuckle boxer Nathan Decastro had a difficult 2022, losing his BKB Welterweight title to veteran fighter James Connelly in April via a points decision, and then losing to South African Lowrant-t Nelson inside the ‘world’s smallest combat arena’ the Triagon at The O2 in London in October.

Similar heartbreak would plague Grimsby runner Sam Atkin this year, as he was forced to limp away from the men’s 10,000m final at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham – a year after the same thing happened to him at the Tokyo Olympic Games in the same event.

Sam Atkin in action at the Tokyo Olympics. | Photo: Team GB / David Pearce

Steven Hallworth, Lincolnshire’s best snooker player, spoke candidly about mental health struggles this year as he lost his tour card and had to play competitions as an amateur again – but he did enjoy a last 16 run in the 2022 British Open, beating former world number four Barry Hawkins.

Grantham-born footballer Patrick Bamford also spent the majority of 2022 on the sidelines due to a series of injuries, meaning he couldn’t play enough games for Leeds United to catch the eye of Gareth Southgate and make it into England’s World Cup squad.

Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford, who was born in Grantham, has been selected for the England national team once in his career. | Photo: Leeds United FC

Dave Coupland was flying the county flag in the world of golf this year, putting in another solid display on the DP World Tour in 2022. The Bostonian has an official world ranking of 1,155th and earned over $26,000 in prize money this year, making three tournament cuts, but failed to finish in the top 10 for any of his events this year.

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