Dork Sport are delighted to present our top ten sporting highlights from 2015. We apologise if some of the choices are quite parochial. This is indicative of our current sporting knowledge and preferences. As the year progresses we look to embrace more sport across the globe. Here is the list in reverse order.
10. Wayne Rooney is England’s Record Goal Scorer
In September Wayne Rooney reached 50 goals and passed Bobby Charlton’s 1970 record. His penalty against Switzerland ended an anxious wait to secure the record. Rooney has remained relatively injury free throughout an England football career lasting 107 games to date. Of his 50 goals, 36 of them have been scored in competitive fixtures. Given the demands of the modern game, it looks like his record will be safe for many years to come. England will look to Rooney to add to his goals tally in this year’s European Championship finals.
09. Leicester City’s Remarkable Change in Fortunes
“I managed a lot of top teams with a lot of champions. Maybe here there are not many champions, but they are a good team with good spirit” ~ Claudio Ranieri – Leicester City FC Manager.
Leicester City are the only team to top The Premier League 12 months after being rock bottom. As a reminder Leicester had 13 points at the end of 2014, twelve months later, with a very similar squad they topped the pile with 39 points. They have some very good players. Whilst, Jamie Vardy and Riyah Mahrez have made the headlines they have a strong nucleus of hard-working professionals. Best of all, they seem untroubled by the growing public expectations and media attention. The Foxes have earned the affection of all non-partisan fans who would love them to win the Premier League.
Huge credit belongs to former manager Nigel Pearson and now Claudio Ranieri who have moulded a team full of self-belief. At the time of writing Leicester sit five points clear at the top of the league and twelve points clear of Manchester United in fifth place. There are punters who have backed Leicester City at 1000-1 to finish in the top four this season. That looks like incredible value at present
08. England Regain The Ashes
In probably the most fluctuating test series in Ashes history England prevailed 3-2. Their innings defeat in the final test prompted the most inappropriate champagne and fireworks celebrations. All five matches were won by large margins. England’s top batsman was Joe Root and the bowling plaudits went to Stuart Broad. There were enough positive signs from England to believe that they can again become a force in world cricket. The series also saw the end of Michael Clarke’s awesome international career.
07. Japan beat South Africa in the Rugby World Cup
The All Blacks clinically retained the Webb Ellis Trophy. This was considered for our top ten sporting highlights. The top story of the tournament for us however was Japan’s shock 34-32 defeat of South Africa. Japan, who defied odds of 66-1 for the match, pulled off the greatest shock in Rugby World Cup history. Massive credit goes to full-back Ayumu Goromaru who scored 24 of points and their coach Eddie Jones who crafted the equivalent of a rugby miracle. Japan will be hosting the tournament in 2019.
06. Stuart Bingham Becomes World Snooker Champion
In a year full of sporting shocks, rank outsider Stuart Bingham landed the 2015 Betfred World Snooker Championship. he beat Shaun Murphy 18-15 in the final. This may have been the biggest upset since Joe Johnson stunned Steve “Interesting” Davis nearly thirty years ago. Bingham beat Williams, Dott, Trump and O’Sullivan en route to the final. Like a fine wine Bingham seems to be maturing with age. At the age of 39 he enjoyed his best season ever as he won four titles and climbed to number two in the world rankings.
05. Mo Farah Wins Long Distance Double Gold
At number five in our top ten sporting highlights is Mo Farah. It was another stellar year for the British distance runner. In February he broke the world indoor record for 2 miles. The following month he broke the long standing European half marathon record. Then to top it all, he won gold at both 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the World Athletics Championships. This took his global medal tally to seven, which is four more than any other British athlete. Who would dare bet against him adding marathon glory to his list of achievements before his retirement?
04. Jamie Vardy Breaks Premier League Goal Scoring Record
In November Jamie Vardy broke Ruud van Nistelrooy’s Premier League goal scoring record. When he scored against Manchester United this was the 11th consecutive game in which he had made the scoresheet. Vardy’s incredible goal scoring form has been instrumental in Leicester City’s rise to the top of the table. It is possible that Vardy will have even more cause for celebration in 2016 as part of Roy Hodgson’s European Championship squad and as a Premier League title winner with Leicester.
03. England’s Women Finish Third in Soccer World Cup.
Fara Williams’ extra-time penalty gave England victory over Germany for the first time in 31 years. This secured the best World Cup finish by any England team since the men’s side won in 1966. The British public took to the competition which raised the profile of the women’s game. Defender Lucy Bronze was also nominated for BBC Sports Personaility of The Year. England have made a decent start to their Euro 2017 qualifying campaign winning both games to date.
02. Great Britain Win the Davis Cup Final Against Belgium.
“He’s just incredible but he’ll be the first to say that this is a team effort and rightly so. he’s put his whole body, his whole mind on the line every single time for them. Really it’s incredible. We’re all grateful and proud of him.”
Team Captain Leon Smith on Andy Murray
England’s quartet of Andy & Jamie Murray, Kyle Edmund and James Ward landed Great Britain’s first Davis Cup triumph for 79 years by defeating Belgium 3-1. Andy Murray won a total of eleven Davis Cup matches in 2015 and he was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year for the second time.
01. Usain Bolt Wins Triple Gold
Usain Bolt takes pride of place at number one in our top ten sporting highlights. For some two years Justin Gatlin had been the peerless king of sprinting. With that fame came equal notoriety after two drugs bans. As the World Championships in Beijing approached many thought that Usain Bolt would surrender his 100m title and his world record to Gatlin. In the end Bolt triumphed by the smallest of margins. The one hundredth of a second winning margin is barely the thickness of a vest. Many felt that this transcended mere athletics and saw it as a triumph of good over evil, In the end Bolt won the 100 & 200 metres and the sprint relay to take his World Championship tally to a staggering nine gold medals. Sporting world order was restored.
Global Top Ten Sporting Highlights
Dork Sport welcome suggestions for a top ten sporting highlights from around the world. We wish to expand both our knowledge and coverage of other sports and hope to publish a wider top ten list later in the year.