March 2013: Worth the wait
We look back at what happened in the world of sport in March, as Bobs Worth won the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
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March 1: Ryan Giggs signed a new one-year contract with Manchester United.
Rory McIlroy walked off the course midway through the second round of the Honda Classic in Palm Beach, Florida, complaining of toothache after dropping seven shots on the first eight holes.
Sheffield City Council voted to close and demolish the Don Valley Stadium where Jessica Ennis trained.
2: QPR recorded a 2-1 win at Southampton - just their third of the season - in the wake of allegations about their players' conduct on a mid-season tour.
Luis Suarez scored a brilliant hat-trick as Liverpool won 4-0 at Wigan.
Widnes and Catalan Dragons recorded Super League wins, beating Hull and Wakefield respectively.
3: Tottenham beat Arsenal 2-1 in the Barclays Premier League with goals from Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon.
Perri Shakes-Drayton won double gold as Britain claimed six medals on the final day of the European Indoor Athletics Championships.
Ronan O'Gara was left out of Ireland's extended 32-man squad for their RBS 6 Nations clash with France.
4: Carlos Tevez scored the only goal as Manchester City beat Aston Villa 1-0 to keep alive their slim hopes of retaining the Barclays Premier League title.
The Danish Football Association announced it would not consider striker Nicklas Bendtner for international selection for six months after he was arrested for drink-driving.
League Two side York appointed former Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington as their new manager to replace Gary Mills, who was sacked two days earlier following defeat to Bradford.
5: Manchester United were knocked out of the Champions League in controversial fashion as Real Madrid claimed a 2-1 win in the second leg at Old Trafford, having been 1-0 behind when Nani was harshly sent off. Ryan Giggs made his 1,000th senior appearance in the match.
Spinner Graeme Swann was ruled out of the Test series in New Zealand on the morning of the opening match. James Tredwell was called up as cover.
Wales recalled flanker Sam Warburton to the side for their RBS 6 Nations clash with Scotland, but retained Ryan Jones as captain.
6: UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Manchester United relating to Nani's red card and the club's failure to fulfil post-match media obligations in the Champions League tie against Real Madrid as the debate over the sending off continued.
Celtic lost 2-0 in Turin to exit the Champions League 5-0 on aggregate, while Paris St Germain progressed 3-2 on aggregate following a 1-1 draw with Valencia,
Rory McIlroy admitted his decision to walk off the course during the Honda Classic was a mistake and something he would not do again, saying "There is no excuse for quitting".
7 Gareth Bale once again proved the catalyst for Tottenham, who hammered Inter Milan 3-0 in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 clash. Elsewhere, Chelsea were lacklustre in a 1-0 defeat at Steaua Bucharest, while Newcastle claimed a goalless draw at Anzhi Makhachkala.
London Welsh were handed a five-point deduction, with an additional five-point deduction suspended until the end of the 2013-14 season, and fined £15,000 for fielding an ineligible player in the Aviva Premiership.
The International Tennis Federation announced plans to introduce an Athlete Biological Passport Programme in 2013 to boost the sport's fight against doping.
8: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson insisted Wayne Rooney will still be at the club in the 2013/14 season.
Swansea boss Michael Laudrup agreed a one-year contract extension, keeping him at the Liberty Stadium until summer 2015.
Former London Welsh team manager Mike Scott was banned for life from any involvement in rugby union for his role in the events that led to the club fielding an ineligible player in the Aviva Premiership.
9: Wigan reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time with a 3-0 win at Everton.
QPR and Aston Villa earned vital wins over Sunderland and Reading respectively to boost their Barclays Premier League survival chances.
Wales beat Scotland 28-18 to set up an RBS 6 Nations title decider against England, while France secured their first point of the tournament with a 13-13 draw against Ireland.
10: Manchester City were drawn against either Manchester United or Chelsea in the semi-finals of the FA Cup. Millwall or Blackburn against Wigan was the other semi-final.
England beat Italy 18-11 at Twickenham meaning victory against Wales in their final game would give them the Grand Slam.
Bernard Hopkins became the oldest man to win a world title after beating Tavoris Cloud on points to claim the IBF light-heavyweight crown.
11: Reading sacked manager Brian McDermott with the club second bottom of the Premier League.
England number eight Ben Morgan was ruled out of RBS 6 Nations decider against Wales with an ankle injury.
Frank Warren announced his intention to sue Ricky Burns after the boxer had decamped to Eddie Hearn's Matchroom team.
12: Wales captain Ryan Jones was ruled out of Saturday's RBS 6 Nations title decider against England because of a shoulder injury.
Dereck Chisora regained his British Boxing Board of Control licence a year after it was withdrawn following his behaviour in Germany last February when he clashed with David Haye.
Barcelona came back from a 2-0 first-leg deficit to win 4-0 at the Nou Camp thanks to a brace from Lionel Messi and goals from David Villa and Jordi Alba.
Galatasary joined them in the last eight after winning 3-2 at Schalke to secure a 4-3 aggregate win.
13: Arsenal beat Bayern Munich 2-0 at the Allianz Arena but still exited the Champions League on away goals following their 3-1 defeat in the first leg.
Heavy favourite Sprinter Sacre, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Barry Geraghty, won the Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Roger Draper announced his decision to step down from his role as chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association at the end of September.
14: Tottenham, Newcastle and Chelsea advanced to the quarter-finals of the Europa League, with Chelsea overturning a 1-0 deficit against Steaua Bucharest with a 3-1 win, capped by a Fernando Torres goal, while Papiss Cisse scored deep in stoppage time as Newcastle beat Anzhi Makhachkala 1-0 on the night and on aggregate. Tottenham had earlier withstood a scare, losing 4-1 to Inter Milan in Italy but advancing on away goals.
Roy Hodgson recalled Rio Ferdinand to the England squad following a two-year absence.
Amateur jockey JT McNamara suffered a serious neck injury in a fall at the Cheltenham Festival.
15: Bobs Worth, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Barry Geraghty, won the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Southampton were fined £20,000 after they admitted a charge of failing to control their players following the awarding of a penalty to Norwich during last weekend's match at Carrow Road.
Sir Alex Ferguson admitted he was "surprised" by Rio Ferdinand's recall to the England squad.
16: Wales retained the RBS 6 Nations title with a 30-3 defeat of England at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
France beat third-placed Scotland 23-16 in Paris for only win of Six Nations while Italy defeat Ireland 22-15 in Rome.
Manchester United beat Reading 1-0 to move 15 points clear of Manchester City, who lose 2-0 at Everton.
17 Frank Lampard scored his 200th goal for Chelsea as the Blues moved into third place in the Barclays Premier League with a 2-0 win over West Ham.
St Mirren lifted their first major silverware in more than a quarter of a century as they came from behind to beat Hearts 3-2 in the Scottish Communities League Cup final.
Kimi Raikkonen won the season-opening Australian Grand Prix for Lotus.
18 Rio Ferdinand pulled out of England's World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro due to "the detailed pre-planned training and medical programme he must follow", England manager Roy Hodgson said.
Brian O'Driscoll was cited for stamping in Ireland's RBS 6 Nations defeat by Italy..
England drew the second Test with New Zealand in Wellington after the final day's play was abandoned due to rain.
19 Former England, Liverpool and Manchester United striker Michael Owen announced he would retire from football at the end of the season.
Wigan's Callum McManaman escaped punishment over his ugly tackle on Newcastle's Massadio Haidara after the FA confirmed one of the match officials had seen the challenge, meaning retrospective punishment was not possible. Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias branded the FA's disciplinary process "not fit for purpose" in response.
Blackburn sacked manager Michael Appleton after just 15 games and 67 days in charge at Ewood Park.
20 England batsman Kevin Pietersen was ruled out of all cricket for six to eight weeks with a knee injury.
Brian O'Driscoll was suspended for three weeks for for his stamp on Italy's Simone Favaro in Ireland's RBS 6 Nations defeat in Rome.
Former England midfielder Paul Gascoigne said boredom was to blame for the latest setback in his efforts to beat alcohol addiction.
21 England manager Roy Hodgson said he would have to "wait and see" if Rio Ferdinand had a future with the national side after he pulled out of two World Cup qualifying games in order to manage his fitness only to opt to act as a TV pundit for the two games for a station in Doha.
The Football Association board unanimously approved the nomination of Greg Dyke to succeed David Bernstein as FA chairman in July.
Southampton striker Rickie Lambert, the leading English scorer in the Premier League, extended his contract until 2016.
22 Jermain Defoe scored twice as England beat San Marino in their World Cup qualifier in Serravalle. Wales came from behind to win 2-1 against Scotland at Hampden Park while the Republic drew 0-0 against Sweden in Stockholm.
West Ham were confirmed as anchor tenants of London's Olympic Stadium by the London Legacy Development Corporation. Plans were unveiled to transform the venue into a 54,000-seater stadium by the start of the 2016-17 season.
Manchester United midfielder Nani was suspended for one match for his dismissal in the Champions League tie with Real Madrid at Old Trafford while manager Sir Alex Ferguson was fined £8,500 for non-fulfilment of post-match media obligations.
23 Heavy snow forced the postponement of Northern Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Russia for the second time in 24 hours. Four games in npower League One and six in League two along with five in the bottom two divisions of the Irn-Bru League in Scotland were off. The William Hill Lincoln was postponed for a week after flat racing at Doncaster was snowed off too.
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel qualified on pole position for the Malaysian Grand Prix ahead of the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.
Andy Murray eased into the third round of the Miami Masters with a 6-3 6-1 win against Australian Bernard Tomic.
24 Sebastian Vettel caused controversy at the Malaysian Grand Prix as he disobeyed team orders and overtook Mark Webber, denying the Australian a win.
Wrexham beat Grimsby on penalties to win the FA Trophy.
Would-be-winner Tiger Woods was told to come back tomorrow as the last day of the Arnold Palmer Invitational was washed out.
25 Tiger Woods returned to golf's summit with a two-shot victory at the Arnold Palmer International.
Aberdeen confirmed Derek McInnes as their new manager on a two-and-a-half-year deal and said he would take charge after the Clydesdale Bank Premier League split.
England manager Roy Hodgson told Montenegro he was not interested in mind games ahead of the sides' World Cup qualifier.
26 England drew 1-1 with Montenegro in their World Cup qualifying Group H match in Podgorica. Wales lost 2-1 to Croatia, Northern Ireland lost 2-0 to Israel, the Republic of Ireland drew 2-2 against Austria and Scotland lost 2-0 in Serbia.
Reading appointed Nigel Adkins as manager on a contract until the summer of 2016.
London Welsh lost their appeal against a five-point deduction and a £15,000 fine for fielding an ineligible player in the Aviva Premiership.
27 New Zealand cricketer Jesse Ryder was admitted to Christchurch Hospital in a critical condition after being attacked at a bar.
Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher and midfielder Lee Cattermole were ruled out for the remainder of the season with ankle and knee injuries respectively.
Red Bull rejected suggestions that Mark Webber's days with the team were numbered as a result of the controversy that erupted at Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.
28 Oscar Pistorius was allowed to travel abroad to compete after a judge changed his bail conditions, though his uncle Arnold Pistorius later revealed the Paralympian had "no intention" of an imminent return to action.
Police in Christchurch confirmed they had arrested a 20-year-old male in connection with the assault that left Jesse Ryder in an induced coma.
England were reported to FIFA by FARE after fans sang abusive songs about Rio and Anton Ferdinand during the match against San Marino.
29 Kick It Out chairman Lord Ouseley called on the Football Association to take a stance on the "vile" and "abusive" chants by England fans aimed at Rio and Anton Ferdinand.
Andy Murray reached the final of the Miami Masters with a 6-7 (3/7) 6-1 6-2 win over Richard Gasquet. British number two Laura Robson also reached the final of the women's doubles alongside American Lisa Raymond by thrashing world number one pair Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci 6-1 6-2.
It was confirmed that the neck injury suffered by jockey JT McNamara in a fall at the Cheltenham Festival had led to paralysis.
30 Manchester United remained 15 points ahead at the top of the Barclays Premier League after their 1-0 victory at Sunderland was followed by neighbours City's 4-0 win over Newcastle.
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill parted company with the Black Cats.
In Scotland, Rangers became Irn-Bru League Division Three champions.
31 Paolo Di Canio was appointed Sunderland manager on a two-and-a-half-year contract.
Andy Murray climbed back to number two in the world by beating David Ferrer 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7/1) in the Sony Open final in Miami.
Neil Robertson warmed up for the World Championship by claiming his first ranking title in two and a half years after beating Mark Selby 10-6 in the final of the China Open.