#1 SUCCESS FOR THE SILVER SHOOTER
When it comes to sport, the Commonwealth Games is the highest possible standard for Manx athletes to represent their country.
2018 saw the event held on Australia’s beautiful Gold Coast – the stunning beaches and sweltering weather some 10,000 miles from the murky climes we’re used to in the middle of the Irish Sea.
With some of the best sports stars in the world on show Down Under, it was, therefore, the ultimate achievement for a Manxman to medal at the Games.
But that’s exactly what shooter Tim Kneale did!
Battling back from disappointment at the Rio Olympics two years prior, where he narrowly missed out on the podium, Kneale put in a phenomenal performance to claim silver in the double trap discipline.
It made the 36-year-old a two-time medallist at the CWG, adding to the bronze he claimed eight years ago in Delhi.
An emotional Kneale dedicated his success to his former coach, Martin Barker, who passed away after the 2016 Olympics.
“It’s a real special moment. I’ve been on a long journey to get here. To be here wearing the Manx flag and getting us on the stage, it’s fantastic!”
#2 HICKMAN THE QUICKMAN
There are few things more synonymous with the Isle of Man than a combination of man and machine tackling the famous Mountain Course at astonishing speeds.
At TT 2018, however, the bar was raised even higher (and we’re not talking beer tents).
Engaged in an incredible battle on the roads, Peter Hickman and Dean Harrison produced one of the most thrilling Senior races in TT history.
Trailing Harrison – who had led for majority of the race – on the final lap of the festival’s showpiece event, Hicky posted a 135.492mph lap to overtake his rival and post the quickest lap ever seen on the 37.73 mile circuit.
The world’s fastest road racer rallied from 5.75 seconds behind at Ballaugh Bridge to claim the win in what will go down as one of the greatest TT fortnight’s in living memory.
#3 NETBALLERS TAKE INTERNATIONAL STAGE BY STORM
One sport which appears to have grown rapidly in the Isle of Man over the last couple of years is netball, with 2018 providing the best players on the Island the chance to compete on an international stage for the first time.
The Manx Rams jetted off to Gibraltar in May to compete in the Netball Europe Open, taking the tournament by storm and laying down a marker for future players.
There wins against the hosts and the UAE, but they missed out by a single point to pre-tournament favourites Ireland.
Capping the event off by thrashing Israel, the Isle of Man finished the competition with a silver medal, only missing the top prize by one goal.
However, Manx captain Ashley Hall scooped Player of the Tournament and the success of the team ensured more netball events will follow in the future.
#4 VALIANT VAGAS FINALLY WIN!
All sports teams go through sticky patches, but imagine going for almost a year-and-a-half without registering a win.
That was exactly the dismal rut Douglas-based Vagabonds RUFC found themselves in before they beat Oldershaw on 24 March – having gone a whopping 532 days without a victory.
Any sporting fanatic would usually enjoy a pointless and irrelevant stat to go along with that figure, and this article offers no different.
In the time since Vagas last win in October 2016, Usain Bolt could have run the 100m 4,797,996 times (providing he didn’t eat, sleep, or go to the toilet; and ran the distance consistently at his record-breaking speed of 9.58 seconds).
A jubilant Spring Saturday, however, saw the Ballafletcher team secure a 15-6 win and ended their long wait for a win.
Unfortunately, the Manx side were still relegated, but getting that monkey off their backs was a long time coming and the side is confident the good times will return in the near future.
#5 GERRARD WINS FIFTH PARISH WALK
Contrary to the belief of those who have never taken part, the Parish Walk is much more difficult than simply putting one foot in front of the other.
It’s a gruelling 85-mile course that pushes a person’s physical and mental strength to the limit.
This year, in baking heat, more than 1,200 entered the race, which was eventually won by Richard Gerrard.
He strolled to victory more than half an hour ahead of his nearest competitor, the reigning champion Liam Parker.
Having been forced to retire from the 2017 event, he came back in style; completing the course in a time of 15 hours 25 minutes and ten seconds for a fifth Parish Walk crown.
It meant he crossed the finish line before midnight and was able to get to his local for last orders.