Here is the conclusion of our Top 5 Surprise Packages (part 1 here):
2. Ali Carter: Snooker
With so many names in the running to lift this year’s Snooker World Championship, few would have expected Ali Carter to progress all the way to the final. And yet, despite arguably running out of steam to finish runner-up to Ronnie O’Sullivan, that is exactly what Carter achieved. On his way, ‘the Captain’ thumped Mark Davis 10-2, produced an emphatic deciding-frame comeback victory over pre-tournament favourite, Judd Trump, and saw off Jamie Jones and Stephen Maguire thereafter. At the pinnacle of the snooker world, Carter most certainly defied expectations to match his best ever result at the Crucible Theatre with phenomenal success.
1 Chelsea Football Club
And finally – to London, home to the most remarkable surprise package of them all. During a tumultuous, woe-ridden season, Chelsea were once a team in decline – a group of discordant individuals facing near-collapse. But oh so suddenly, in the wake of decisive and – for once – effective action from owner, Roman Abramovich, Portugese manager, Andre Villas-Boas, was fired and replaced in a caretaker capacity by Roberto Di Matteo. Di Matteo proceeded to master-mind a reversal of fortune that was nothing short of miraculous, guiding his new team to the Champions League final. Add to this last Saturday’s FA Cup final triumph of Liverpool and Di Matteo and his Stamford Lions have the chance to return from Munich to Kings Road on 19 May as the unlikeliest kings of surprise packages.
Image courtesy of Richard Dudley