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It’s been a big year for the various Vertu Motors sporting partners and as 2023 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on the main highlights before the New Year celebrations kick into gear.
Vertu Motors

Sporting Highlights 2023: Vertu Motors

Sporting Highlights 2023: Vertu Motors

It’s been a big year for the various Vertu Motors sporting partners and as 2023 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on the main highlights before the New Year celebrations kick into gear. 


The year would start in fine fashion for Burnley FC, with five successive league wins making it ten in a row – equalling the EFL Championship record held by Aston Villa and Reading.

Major highlights through the second half of the 2022/23 season would include the 2-1 victory at Middlesbrough in early April that secured promotion with seven games still to go, as well as the 1-0 win at Blackburn later that month – with Manuel Benson’s goal wrapping up the title for Vincent Kompany and his team.

There would also be a run to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup – which included an impressive away win at Bournemouth in a third round thriller.

Whilst a return to the Premier League has been difficult thus far, a 5-0 win against Sheffield United at Turf Moor has been the main highlight as the team chases an upturn in fortunes in the New Year.

Having returned to the second tier of English football, Sunderland AFC would produce an impressive season in the EFL Championship that saw the Black Cats battle into the play-offs.

That was partly thanks to an end-of-season run that would be one of the highlights of the year, with a nine game unbeaten run earning a top six finish before an unfortunate loss to eventual play-off winners Luton Town.

Approaching New Year – and with a new manager at the helm in the shape of Michael Beale – Sunderland remain well placed in the Championship again this season, with the highlight of the campaign to date coming at the Stadium of Light when relegated Southampton were dispatched 5-0.

Local rivals Middlesbrough FC would also end the 2022/23 Championship season in the play-offs as Michael Carrick’s side climbed up the table after a difficult start left the team looking more like relegation candidates.

As with Sunderland, there were plenty of highlights in a strong second-half to the league season, with big wins against Reading, Preston and Norwich helping ‘Boro to make it to the play-offs, although Coventry would end their promotion hopes in the semi-finals.

After a difficult start again to the current season, ‘Boro have been playing catch-up in the league but a seven game unbeaten run resulted in the team climbing up the table and included the undoubted highlight of the year – a 4-0 success away from home at Sunderland.

Plymouth Argyle would kick off 2023 sitting pretty at the top of League One, and the Pilgrims would remain in the top two through the remainder of the 2022/23 campaign to earn promotion back to the second tier of the English game.

Argyle would fail to win only seven games through the second half of the season as they went toe-to-toe with Ipswich Town for the title, with a run of five successive victories giving the Devon side the advantage going into the final round of games.

A 3-1 victory away at Port Vale capped a fine season as Argyle were crowned as champions, with further highlights so far this season including an impressive 6-2 victory over Norwich City in which Morgan Whittaker smashed in a hat-trick.

Arguably the biggest highlight of the year would come off the pitch however, with Argyle’s Project 35 social action initiative proving to be a huge success.


Also in Devon, our rugby partners the Exeter Chiefs may have failed to make it into the play-offs in the Gallagher Premiership, but there was still plenty of reason to celebrate in 2023 as the team secured its first silverware since doing the League and Champions Cup double in 2020.

Victory in the Premiership Cup would prove to the highlight of the 2022/23 season, particularly given the manner in which London Irish were defeated in extra time thanks to a try from Aidon Davis.

Highlights since the new season kicked off included an impressive 65-10 demolition of Saracens on the opening day of the league season, whilst late wins against both Toulon and Munster have resulted in a positive start to the European campaign for a youthful Chiefs side after a summer of change.


Our three partner sides in the County Championship enjoyed busy seasons on the pitch, although the trio were all left to reflect on what might have been had it not been for a raft of weather-related interruptions that impacted on the league campaign.

That’s not to say there weren’t a number of highlights along the way, most notably for Somerset after an impressive campaign in the Vitality Blast saw them secure victory in the domestic T20 competition for the second time; 18 years after the first win.

In the league, Somerset would end the year in seventh spot with one of the big highlights coming against Nottinghamshire – with George Bartlett and James Rew both smashing second innings centuries before four wickets from Josh Davey wrapped up victory by 399 runs.

Rew’s 221 against Hampshire was another highlight in a draw at Taunton, whilst another plus would come long after the season had ended when teenage bowler Shoaib Bashir was handed an unexpected call-up to the England test team mere months after his first class debut.

Nottinghamshire would end the County Championship season one place higher than Somerset in sixth as the team returned to the top flight.

A 321 run success against Kent was particularly impressive, with Dane Patterson and Brett Hutton ripping through the opposition batsmen to tee up a comfortable win.

Patterson also impressed with the ball with 5-16 in a win by an innings against Northamptonshire, with the standout batting performance coming from Joe Clarke as he netted an unbeaten 229 to help salvage a draw after following on against Warwickshire. 

Another highlight for the club would come in the final Ashes test of the summer after club legend Stuart Broad appeared in first class cricket for the final time – hitting a six with his final shot with the bat and then taking the winning wicket with his final delivery.

Having been relegated to Division 2, Yorkshire kicked off the season looking to try and bounce back at the first attempt but too often the weather would prevent them from securing a positive result – with eight of their 14 fixtures ending in a draw.

Amongst the victories however were two noticeably impressive performances, with a fine 277 run victory against Derbyshire in Scarborough and then a stunning success against Worcestershire on the final day of the season as captain Shan Masood produced a fine knock of 123 to help steer his side to a target of 360 with the loss of just four wickets.

Masood would also secure the highest score of the season for the team, with his 192 against Glamorgan coming in a high-scoring draw.


The 2022/23 season would be a challenging one for the Newcastle Eagles as the team battled to secure a place in the end of season play-offs in the British Basketball League.

For a while it looked like the Eagles were going to miss out, but after the final round of fixtures in the regular season, the team secured eighth place to make it through – beating Plymouth before losing out to eventual finalists Leicester.

The start of the 2023/24 season has proven to be more successful for the Giants thus far, even though the most impressive results have come away from the Vertu Motors Arena.

The undoubted highlight was an impressive 102-80 victory at the Cooperbox against London Lions, one of only two defeats inflicted on the league leaders on their home court.


2023 marked the start of a new partnership for Vertu Motors as title sponsors of the MINI CHALLENGE, which is part of the support package for the British Touring Car Championship.

The partnership would spread across the headline JCW category and the entry level Cooper class, with EXCELR8 duo Dan Zelos and Tom Ovenden securing the two championship titles.

Along the way there were numerous highlights on track, from an emotional first win in the Coopers for Nathan Edwards to a record breaking victory by the largest margin in JCW history for rookie Will Orton.

For the two champions, Zelos’ highlights would be a near perfect qualifying performance which saw him only miss out on pole once all year, whilst for Ovenden, the highlight came right at the end when he wrapped up his first circuit racing title – even though he had no idea at the time that he had scored the points needed to put himself out of reach of his rivals.