2015: A Year in Sport

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Image Credits: Reuters

Where to start? Perhaps with Tyson Fury who in late November stunned Wladimir Klitschko to become WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion of the world. Enigmatic as ever, Fury – at his Everest – serenaded the world with Aerosmith’s “Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” and in a year of upsets, shocks and glory, who would?

Glory for England’s cricketers looked far off when they were dumped out of Australia’s World Cup after a string of embarrassingly fragile performances. Coach Moores was dumped just as unceremoniously, making way for Trevor Bayliss to plot a four year path to 2019’s barest of margins summer. First up though were antipodean visitors. England were able to harness kiwi positivity in a thrilling drawn series in the early summer, which saw the re-emergence of a certain Ben Stokes, and rolled into an Ashes series with a little of their confidence back. The series was close on the score line but not the scorebook, with each test heavily one-sided. Joe Root became England’s golden boy with the bat but it was Stuart Broad’s astonishing 8-15 we will remember the series for. Oh My Broad.

It was a year of tennis domination for Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic, both winning three grand slams in the calendar. Britain won their first Davis Cup in 79 years thanks largely to the town of Dunblane. Chris Froome raced to a second Tour de France victory though it was largely a joyless affair, relentlessly suspected of doping violations and covered in urine by an unloving French crowd.

England’s Rugby side will want to forget their part as Rugby World Cup hosts. Failing to emerge from their group after defeats to a resurgent Australia and inspired Welsh team. Scotland were harshly treated in losing to Australia at the quarter final stage. Ireland lost another quarterfinal, quel surprise. 

Japan, with the moment of the year, beat South Africa thanks to a relentless team try finished off by Karne Hesketh with the clock red. The competition erupted and the world watched. This was the most ridiculous, joyous upset rugby had ever seen and it was deserved by the Brave Blossoms.

The All Blacks won the Cup. Who else? It was always going to be so and the tournament was a fitting farewell to Legends McCaw, Carter, Nonu and Smith and a side with strong claim to be regarded as the best sports team in history. Moments of brilliance filled the campaign and Dan Carter’s drop goal from distance in the final ensured he finally had a defining moment at World Cup. 

In Football, England’s Lionesses were brave in their World Cup semi-final loss and showed women’s football really was starting to break through to the masses. Sepp Blatter finally, finally paid the price for his years of dirt and corruption and stood down as FIFA president. If 2015 was a quiet year on the pitch in football, Leicester City were not sleeping. They were top at Christmas…