2019 has been a memorable sporting year for our fair town.

Whether it be Wembley wins, promotions or world titles, we have had it pretty much covered.

As we prepare to move into 2020, we take a look back over 10 of Warrington’s finest sporting achievements from the past 12 months…

Wire bring home the Challenge Cup

If the pundits and bookmakers were to be believed, The Wire needn't have bothered turning up to Wembley.

So overwhelming was the opinion that St Helens would waltz to victory in the Challenge Cup Final, Steve Price even went as far as to say his side were the biggest underdogs in Challenge Cup history.

That may have been a bit of a push but nevertheless, what happened next was truly extraordinary.

Even with star half-back Blake Austin injured, Wolves put on a performance for the ages to stun the red-hot favourites and bring the famous trophy home.

Daryl Clark dazzled to win the Lance Todd Trophy as he, Joe Philbin and Ben Murdoch-Masila crossed for tries in an 18-4 victory.

It marked the first trophy of Price's reigh as head coach and ended a run of six consecutive major final defeats.

This one will forever go down as an "I was there" moment.

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Warrington Wolves lift the Challenge Cup. Picture by Mike Boden

Yellows thrive in the lion’s den

The 2018/19 season may have ultimately ended in heartbreak for Warrington Town, but in it featured a day that will be forever remembered.

The sun shone on Tyneside for a Northern Premier League Premier Division play-off final Yellows were not expected to win.

They were entering the lion’s den of South Shields and when the Mariners took a first-half lead, it looked as if it would be they who advanced to the ‘super play-off’ final for a tilt at promotion to the National League North.

However, they did not bank on a second-half fightback from the men in yellow.

After Dylan Vassallo had equalised, Josh Amis’ last-gasp winner sealed a 2-1 victory for Town to spark memorable celebrations.

They lost the subsequent final clash with King’s Lynn Town the following week, but the scenes after the final whistle at Mariners Park will live long in the memory.

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Warrington Guardian:

Josh Amis celebrates Yellows' memorable play-off win at South Shields. Picture by John Hopkins

Wembley joy for Great Sankey High

August 24, 2019, is a day not many in Warrington will ever forget.

For Great Sankey High School’s year seven rugby team, however, there is extra reason for that day to live long in the memory.

They got to step out on the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium for the Champion Schools Final – the traditional curtain-raiser to the Challenge Cup Final.

It did not look promising as they trailed Wigan’s Standish High School 8-0 with the clock ticking down.

However, two tries in the final minutes ensured a 10-8 victory for Great Sankey, who were the first ever Warrington school to reach the Wembley final, as what turned out to be a memorable day started with a bang.

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Warrington Guardian:

Great Sankey High School celebrate winning at Wembley. Picture by Mike Boden

Wire Women’s remarkable first year

As inaugural seasons go, Warrington Wolves Women had a pretty good one.

Having held open trials last November, the team gelled better than anybody could have expected.

They even lost their first game of the campaign but went unbeaten in the league after that to secure a place in the Women’s Championship Grand Final.

That game against Barrow – the side who beat them in the season opener – proved dominant as The Wire Women won 40-4 to secure their place in the Women’s Super League.

“The season’s been absolutely fantastic. They’re a great bunch of girls,” head coach Lee Westwood said.

“To get to the final was absolutely unbelievable.

“I can’t say how proud I am of all the players and staff.”

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Warrington Wolves Women are jubilant after winning promotion to the Women's Super League. Picture by Mike Boden

Rylands make the step up with ease

At the beginning of the 2018/19 campaign, the North West Counties League was completely new to Rylands.

However, few would have imagined how well they would take to their new level.

A dominant league campaign meant they stormed to automatic promotion and on Easter Monday at Gorsey Lane, they were crowned champions.

It could well be Blues’ first step in their journey through the divisions.

“We’ve done really, really well. It’s difficult to put into words how special it is, really,” player/co-manager Stuart Wellstead said.

“I won the Counties Premier with Linnets last year, so to have back-to-back titles is unbelievable but having this first one in player-management leaves me a bit lost for words.”

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Warrington Guardian:

Rylands are crowned NWCFL First Division North champions. Picture by Lee Wolstencroft

Joy at long last for Woolston Rovers

After four consecutive seasons of play-off heartache, Woolston Rovers could have been forgiven for giving up.

In September, though, they got their rewards for doing the exact opposite.

They finally secured promotion from Division Three of the National Conference League. No play-offs needed this time as Mal Holt’s side were promoted as dominant champions.

Wild celebrations followed their title-clinching win over Batley Boys at Monk Sports Club after Rovers were presented with the trophy.

“We set our goal to gain automatic promotion but to actually win it is very special. We didn’t want to go through the heartache of the play offs again,” head coach Holt said.

“It has been a real team effort from everybody within the open age and we can now look forward to plying our trade in Division Two next season.

“This is a very special club with great people behind the scenes and we now want to continue on this upward curve.”

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Warrington Guardian:

Woolston Rovers celebrate winning the NCL Division Three title

Lewis rules the Thai boxing world

Darren Collins, the head coach of the Warrior Muay Thai boxing gym, is happy to predict a bright future for his 11-year-old protégé Lewis Robinson.

Just two years after walking through the door of the Latchford gym, Robinson picked up a gold medal at the Unified World Championships in November.

While his Thai boxing gold in the 32kgs weight class was undoubtedly the highlight, equally as impressive was a silver in the K1 kickboxing category – a discipline in which he is not even formally trained.

“He’s only been fighting two years and he’s an area champion, a two-time British champion and now a world champion,” he said.

“Give him another year and he’ll be champion again, without a doubt.”

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Warrington Guardian:

Lewis Robinson with his coach Darren Collins

Nine-year-old Theos on top of the world

February saw one youngster complete a remarkable journey.

Just two years after he took up Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Theos McEvatt hit the pinnacle as he secured a world title at just nine years of age.

Theos – a student at the Gracie Barra club based at Evans House – won gold at the IBJJF Pan-Am World Junior Championships to complete a stunning rise under the tutelage of head coach Graeme Finneran.

Of his five matches in California, Theos won four via kimura submission and produced a superb display in the final to win 4-0.

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Warrington Guardian:

Theos McEvatt with his world title

Grace makes history for Cheshire Martial Arts Centre

In June, Grace Barnett made a little piece of history.

She became the first Cheshire Martial Arts student to win two gold medals at a single world championships at the WUKF world event in Bratislava.

Beamont Collegiate Academy student Grace, aged 13, the female Mini Cadets Shito-Ryu Kata and Shobu Sandon Kumite (fighting) categories in her age group.

Barnett accounted for two of the five gold medals won by the CMAC team who were made up the Shukokai Shitoryu Karate Alliance (SSKA) England squad in Slovakia.

It was a truly stunning performance from the Evans House-based club, led by chief instructor Paul Graham.

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Warrington Guardian:

Grace Barnett, third from right, with her CMAC teammates

Matt conquers Europe

What a summer it was for Walton athlete Matt Barnes.

The 42-year-old travelled to Italy to compete in the European Masters Athletics Championships in September…and returned with a gold medal.

Competing in the v40 category over 1,500m, Barnes had to dig deep in order to hold off the challenge of home athlete Francesco Nadalutti and Bronislov Ghyr of the Czech Republic to bring the top prize back to Warrington.

“It was a really tough race,” Barnes said.

“I knew it would be tactical and my coach and I had discussed that I needed to stay focussed for when the move came.

“The Italian came by really fast but I kept my composure and was able to haul him in before the finish.”

Barnes was also crowned National Sprint Distance Triathlon Champion in Nottingham in June before turning his attention to athletics over the latter stages of the summer.

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Warrington Guardian:

Matt Barnes with his European masters title