London - Former
England cricket and rugby captains Alastair Cook and Bill Beaumont
headlined sporting personalities in the New Year's Honours List with both
men receiving knighthoods from Queen Elizabeth II.
Cook - who has more Test centuries (33) and runs (12 472) than any
other England player accrued during a record 161 Test matches - is the
first cricketer to be knighted since legendary all-rounder Ian Botham in
The 34-year-old opening batsman finished his Test career in the best
possible manner with a century against India at The Oval despite having
declared there "was nothing left in the tank".
"It's a fitting tribute to a man who has led with distinction on and
off the pitch ever since he made his England debut," England and Wales
Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves said in a statement to Press
Beaumont - chairperson of the sport's governing body, World
Rugby, - skippered England to the 1980 Five Nations Grand Slam as well
as captaining the British and Irish Lions.
Following his retirement as a player the 66-year-old became a much
loved face on BBC television, his avuncular style adapting well to
captaining a team in Question of Sport.
"I am honoured and humbled to receive this accolade from Her Majesty
the Queen for services to rugby," Beaumont told World Rugby.
"I have always viewed my work in the sport as an administrator as
that of a guardian, driven by a passion to do the very best I can for
Football did not miss out, with England manager Gareth Southgate and
captain Harry Kane rewarded for the national side's run to this year's
World Cup semi-finals.
whose sartorial elegance in Russia saw sales of waistcoats rocket,
received the middle-ranking Officer of the Order of the British Empire
(OBE) whilst Tottenham Hotspur sharpshooter Kane garnered the lesser
Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).
Kane, who won the World Cup Golden Boot for finishing top scorer with
six goals, said he learnt of his award from his fiancee Kate just prior
to a Premier League game with Southampton in early December.
"We got a letter to the house, Kate opened the letter." he told Spurs TV.
"Normally we'd talk a little but she would never call me just before
the match. I had a missed call and she texted me 'could you answer?'.
"I thought something was wrong! But Kate was excited and told me that we'd had a letter from the Queen saying we'd get an MBE."
Another British sporting success story of the year Welshman Geraint
Thomas received an OBE after winning road cycling's showpiece event, the
Tour de France.
Beaumont was not the only rugby personality to be honoured with
former Scotland lock Doddie Weir, whose courageous battle with motor
neurone disease has helped to raise its profile through his 'My Name'5
Doddie Foundation', being awarded an OBE.
Irish rugby legend Willie John McBride - like Beaumont a Lions
captain having skippered the combined outfit's most successful side of
all time on the brutal 1974 tour of South Africa, which saw them win the
four-Test series 3-0 with one draw - adds a Commander of the Order of
the British Empire (CBE) to his MBE.
McBride's fellow Northern Irishman former Manchester United
goalkeeper Harry Gregg, who survived the Munich air crash that killed
several of the Busy Babes in 1958, received an OBE.
Horseracing, was acknowledged as well with Richard Johnson, who has
been British jumps champion jockey the past three years after being
runner-up on 16 occasions to legend AP McCoy, receiving an OBE.
But, as ever Johnson, has to give second best to his old rival as McCoy was knighted in 2016.