Doug O’Kane goes back over a difficult but successful year for the town’s sportspeople


Barnsley Women’s FC played the biggest game in their history as they lost 5-0 at professional top flight club Tottenham Hotspur in the fourth round of the FA Cup at Barnet’s The Hive.

The Reds had won their previous ten matches in all competitions and were backed by 200 away fans out of the crowd of 651.

Worsbrough Bridge enjoyed one of the best nights in their recent history as they reached the Sheffield Senior Cup semi-finals for the first time in their current form with a 3-0 win over visitors AFC Emley. They were joined in the last four by neighbours Penistone Church but the competition would eventually be cancelled.

Barnsey sprinter Amanda Shaw took bronze over 200m at the Northern Indoor Championships in Sheffield, despite the 35-year-old being the oldest in the final by 12 years.

Wath RUFC won 51-17 against relegation-battling local rivals Barnsley.


Boxer Josh Wale claimed his fourth straight win as a featherweight with a third round TKO victory over Tanzanian southpaw Iddi Kayumba at the Metrodome.

Wheelchair table tennis star Sue Gilroy took two bronze medals at the Polish Para Open.

Two Barnsley teenagers won their events in different sports at the British University and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Championships. Dodworth woman Lauren Fretwell won the kata karate event, representing Nottingham University, while sprinter Joe Ferguson, from Darton, was part of the Hallam University team which won the 4x200m relay – breaking the championship record by more than a second.

Motorsport star Oliver Rowland, from Penistone, finished in the top ten of Formula E races in Mexico City and Marrakesh.


Footballer Bethany England competed for England in the SheBelieves Cup in America. She collected her sixth and seventh caps before pulling out through injury. The Kingstone woman had just scored both goals as Chelsea beat Arsenal 2-1 in the final of the League Cup at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground – which was her first major trophy, but not her last of the year.

Another England international from Barnsley, John Stones, played in the men’s League Cup final the following day – helping Manchester City beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Wembley.

Cricketer Katherine Brunt was devastated by England’s controversial exit from the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia. They ‘lost’ their semi-final because it was called off due to rain and, with no reserve day planned, India went through to the final as they had won their group.

Barnsley Gymnastics Club won more than 30 medals as the Metrodome hosted the Yorkshire round of the National Development Pathway (NDP).

The coronavirus crisis hit this country midway through the month with all sport being shut down by the end of March. Before the country was totally locked down, the seventh and eighth legs of the darts PDC Players Championship took place at the Metrodome featuring the likes of Michael van Gerwen.

A boxing show at the Metrodome was cancelled after it had been due to feature hometown fighters JA Metcalfe and Callum Simpson.


While very little sport took place in April, darts player Carl Wilkinson earned the biggest win of his PDC career from his house in Darfield.

Carl, pictured right, won his group in the PDC Home Tour then set off for a shift as a delivery driverat 5.45am the next morning. Wilkinson would go out in the following round.

Barnsley’s top non-league football clubs feared closure after the 2019/20 season was cancelled.

People behind the scenes at Penistone Church and Athersley Rec spoke of concerns their clubs would go under, due to a lack of income from matches with bills still to pay, but they were saved by fund-raising within their community as well as grants.

The Northern Counties East League season was expunged, denying Penistone a possible promotion after they were in first place for most of the campaign, and saving bottom club Athersley from relegation.

Wombwell Town had gained promotion to the Premier Division in the County Senior League but it did not count after the season was expunged so they remained in Division One.

Barnsley Women’s FC threatened legal action after their season was cancelled with them top of the fourth tier, but they eventually accepted the decision.

Barnsley RUFC’s league was decided on a points-per-game basis, meaning the Shaw Laners were relegated to Yorkshire Division Three for the first time in more than a decade.


Barnsley Hockey Club reached the highest level in their history after being unexpectedly promoted to Yorkshire Division Two.

The Reds thought they had missed out on promotion after their season was called off due to the coronavirus crisis with them third, just outside the two promotion places in Division Three.

But Chapeltown, who had been playing at a higher level, folded so Barnsley – who were in Division Ten in 2008 – took the extra promotion place.

Barnsley Tennis Club was one of the first clubs to re-open, after recreational tennis was allowed to re-start.

Motorsport man Oliver Rowland began competing from home in a simulator in Formula E’s Race at Home Challenge in support of Unicef.


Bethany England and her Chelsea colleagues were awarded the Women’s Super League on a points-per-game basis.

Boxer Josh Wale moved his Micky’s Athletic Boxing Gym to his home village of Brampton.

Barnsley RUFC appointed former Rotherham Titans boss Ant Posa as their head coach.

Local football clubs such as Worsbrough Bridge and Athersley Rec got the go-ahead to return to socially-distanced training.


The club cricket season began, three months later than planned.

All leagues postponed promotion and relegation for a season while there were regular sanitising breaks and lines marked for where batters could run.

Cawthorne joined Elsecar and Barnsley Woolley Miners in the top flight – the ECB Yorkshire Premier League South.

Darts player Carl Wilkinson played in the PDC Summer Series, losing to world champion Peter Wright.


Oliver Rowland gained his first victory in Formula E.

The Penistone man crossed the line first in the penultimate event of the season which was completed by a series of races behind closed doors in Berlin.

Elsecar cricketer Jack Shutt made his First Class debut for Yorkshire in the first game of the Bob Willis Trophy against Durham. Later in the month, he claimed his first First Class wickets as he helped Yorkshire to a dramatic win over Nottinghamshire.

In club cricket, former Barnsley FC striker Jon Parkin smashed his first century in senior cricket as he blasted 124 for Darfield 2nd XI.

Chris Holliday hit an astonishing 316 not out off 113 balls in Hoylandswaine’s victory at Denby but, after a storm of criticism on social media, wished he had retired on 100. He fired 21 fours and 34 sixes in Swaine’s 456 for three off 30 overs then Denby were bowled out for 78.


Sprinter Joe Ferguson, from Darton, claimed a bronze medal over 200m at the British Athletics Championships in Manchester.

Former Yorkshire CCC captain Azeem Rafiq, from Gawber, made a series of allegations about racism at the club which prompted an ongoing investigation. Other former players and staff have supported his claims with a panel due to reveal their findings next year.

Barnsley Woolley Miners were skittled for 19 in a loss to Hallam but, after finishing bottom of their league, beat local rivals Cawthorne on the final day.

Two England footballers from Barnsley faced each other as the Women’s Super League began. Bethany England’s Chelsea drew with Amy Turner’s Manchester United.

England was voted as the PFA Women’s Player of the Year.

Non-league football re-started, with Penistone goalkeeper Adam Rhodes being called off the golf course to play due to injury and saving a decisive penalty in an FA Vase win.


Cricketer Katherine Brunt helped England to a 5-0 success in a Twenty20 Series against West indies behind closed doors including a fixture on the BBC – the first women’s game on terrestrial TV since 1993.

Manager Lee Morris left Worsbrough Bridge and was replaced as manager by former captain Luke Forgione.

Barnsley Hockey Club’s season began in Yorkshire Division Two.


A second national lockdown in early November meant sport shut down once again in Barnsley.

Penistone Church had reached the second round of the FA Vase for the first time in their history with a 3-0 home win over AFC Liverpool.

England cricketer Katherine Brunt was still in action in the Big Bash League in Australia but her team Melbourne Stars lost the final.


Bethany England, the England and Chelsea striker from Kingstone, took part in a training camp with the national team but the friendly against Norway at Bramall Lane was cancelled.

Non-league football re-started after the second lockdown with the government initially banning crowds then allowing 150 supporters. Rugby union was also allowed to re-start with Barnsley RUFC playing a friendly before competitive games are due to start next year.

In boxing, Barugh Green man Matty Heppenstall turned professional while Josh Wale earned his manager’s licence.