The choice of the best British team of the year was a little narrower than in most of the previous years. Some of the usual suspects that have been successful for the last decade such as rowing and cycling weren’t as prominent having seen athletes retiring or taking a break in a post-Olympic year. This left the way open for others and here are some of the best.
The England women won the cricket World Cup on home soil with a thrilling comeback when it seemed they were on the verge of defeat to India in the final. However, they were unable to regain the Ashes later in the year when tying the series in Australia.
Ben Saxton & Katie Dabson won the Nacra 17 sailing world title after a very close final. Also in sailing in the 49er class Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell won the world and European championships with some other good results elsewhere.
At the world swimming championships the 4x200m freestyle relay team of Stephen Milne, Nicholas Grainger, Duncan Scott and James Guy upset the USA and Australia to win the title.
In shooting the women’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions Team won the European championships with Jennifer and Seonaid McIntosh also winning individual events.
Kristina Cook, Nicola Wilson, Rosalind Canter and Oliver Townend made up the British team that won the European Three-Day event team gold.
Individual world champion Mallory Franklin teamed up with Kimberley Woods and Eilidh Gibson to win the C1 team title at the canoe slalom world championship.
After years of dominating world rowing Britain only won one gold medal at the world championships. That came in the Para rowing mixed fours race where Grace Clough, Giedre Rakauskaite, Oliver Stanhope, James Fox and Anna Corderoy (cox) won.
Greg Townley, Elliott Browne and Kristof Willerton combined to win the gymnastics Tumbling team world title.
At the World Athletics Championships the Great Britain men won the gold medal in the men’s 4x100m relay against strong opposition from USA and Jamaica with Usain Bolt running his final race. Bolt pulled up injured but his team was trailing at the time and the British would have held on anyway. The team of Chijindu Ujah, Adam Gemili, Danny Talbot, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake ran a time of 37.47 to set a European Record and take quarter of a second off the old mark set in 1999.
Saracens Rugby Union team retained the European Cup but unlike last year when they were my team of the year but in 2016-17 they only came third in the English League and lost in the play-off semi-finals.
The England Rugby Union team won the 6 Nations championship but lost to Ireland and didn’t play the All Blacks to test themselves against the best team in the world.
Mention should be made of the England under 17s and under 20s football teams who both won World Cups. However, as they are junior teams I am not considering them as winners of team of the year as opening it up to junior teams adds a whole extra level of research.
My runners-up are the women’s cricket team and the swimmers but my choice as British Team of the Year is the world championship winning athletics relay team. They won the European Team Championship relay setting a world leading time early in the season and produced a brilliant record-breaking performance to take the world title.
2016 Saracens Rugby Union Team Runners-up: the England rugby team, Louis Rolfe, Jon-Allan Butterworth and Jody Cundy (Paralympic cycling Team Sprint).
2015 Great Britain Davis Cup Tennis Team Runners-up: Helen Glover and Heather Stanning (Rowing), the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay swimming team
2014 Helen Glover and Heather Stanning (Rowing): Runners-up England women’s rugby union team, GB women 4×100 relay team (athletics)
2013 Great Britain Women’s Cycling Team Pursuit Squad world champions and world record setters again: Runners-Up: Sprinter Sacre (Horse Racing), GB Men’s Squash Team
2012 Frankel (Horse Racing) – winner of all five races to finish his career unbeaten and achieved the highest rating in history. Runners-Up: Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins (Rowing), Women’s team pursuit cycling, England women’s rugby union team, Paul Foster and Alex Marshall (Bowls)