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My sporting month: October 2010

October is a busy month in the sporting calendar, with its opening weekend in particular crammed full of potential highlights from all over the world – two of them taking place in Melbourne.

Here are five of the events which I will be looking out for over the next 31 days, with an honourable mention to three others which will struggle to compete for my personal airtime in what looks set to be a jam-packed month of intense – and hopefully exciting – sporting action.

1. AFL Grand Final replay (2nd)

For only the third time in the history of Aussie Rules, last Saturday’s Grand Final between Collingwood and St Kilda ended in a tie, 68-68, after St Kilda overturned a 24-point second half deficit.

Tomorrow’s replay of the final at the MCG promises to be equally tense. It is a long time since either club has enjoyed the privilege of being reigning Premiers – Collingwood’s last Grand Final win was in 1990, St Kilda’s in 1966 (when they defeated Collingwood in the final).

Philippe Gilbert

2. UCI Road World Championships: Men’s road race (3rd)

Cycling’s annual championships in Geelong and Melbourne actually started on Wednesday – Great Britain’s Emma Pooley won the women’s time trial – but the highlight will be the closing event, the men’s road race, which takes place on Sunday. The riders will tackle a 262.7 km course with a tricky uphill finish which may favour Classics strong men over pure sprinters like Mark Cavendish.

Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert, winner of this year’s Amstel Gold race and of two stages in last month’s Vuelta a España, will feature among the favourites for what promises to be an open race.

For further analysis of the contenders for the race, read Jack Sargeant’s preview over at The Sports Review.

3. Premier League: Chelsea vs Arsenal (3rd) and Man City vs Arsenal (24th)

After last weekend’s shock home defeat to West Brom, Arsenal face two tough Premier League away trips this month, travelling first to Chelsea on Sunday and then to Manchester City, who dealt the champions their first defeat of the season last week.

Arsène Wenger‘s side suffered heavy losses in both these fixtures last season. After these two games we will have a good idea whether they are in better shape to mount a credible title run this year.

Mark Webber (image courtesy of formula1.com)

Championship leader Mark Webber

4. Formula 1: Japanese GP (10th) and Korean GP (24th)

With a potential 100 points still available from the four remaining races and just 25 separating current championship leader Mark Webber from fifth-placed Jenson Button, there is still everything to play for as one of the tightest F1 seasons of all time approaches its climax.

Ferrari‘s Fernando Alonso currently has the greatest momentum, having won three of the last five races (including the last two). By contrast, Lewis Hamilton will be desperate to reignite his title challenge, having crashed out of the last two races.

Meanwhile, the entire F1 circus will wait with bated breath to see whether or not the new Korean GP will actually go ahead as planned, with the organisers struggling to get the new track complete in time.

5. San Francisco 49ers vs Denver Broncos (31st)

After an unbeaten preseason, the 49ers have started 0-3 and already parted company with their offensive co-ordinator. Mike Singletary‘s team will need a good run over the next four games if they are to arrive for the NFL‘s fourth regular season game in the UK with their playoff hopes still intact. Their opponents at Wembley, the Denver Broncos, are 1-2 after a difficult start, so both teams will desperately need to win this repeat of Super Bowl XXIV (which the Joe Montana-led 49ers won 55-10).

The game will be covered live on Sky Sports, with highlights shown on the BBC. 80,000-plus fans will be there on the day; I’ll be one of them.

I have omitted (at least) three other major events from this month’s list, which I will at least follow in some capacity. Golf‘s Ryder Cup runs from today through to Sunday at Celtic Manor in Wales. The 19th Commonwealth Games, despite its much-publicised problems and the withdrawal of many competitors, will nonetheless start in Delhi on the 3rd and continue until the 14th. And finally, baseball‘s World Series is scheduled to start on the 27th.

Like I said, it’s a jam-packed month. Enjoy.

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About Tim
Father of three. Bit of a geek. That's all, folks.

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