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Cubs round out drought-breaking 2016

AAP logoAAP 3/11/2016 Scott Bailey

Only in 2016 could a team being denied their first title in 68 years still result in a fairytale drought-breaker.

When Cleveland led Chicago 3-1 midway through the seven-game World Series, they looked certain to claim their first championship since 1948.

Instead, they now have the longest drought in MLB history, after the Cubs snapped their own 108-year drought with their 8-7 10th-innings win in the series-deciding seventh game in Cleveland on Wednesday (Thursday AEDT) to take out the series 4-3.

Chicago's title drought dated back to 1908, and was the longest-running in US professional sports history.

Folklore said the franchise were suffering from the Curse of the Billy Goat, after the owner of an animal kicked out of the stadium during their most recent World Series appearance in 1945 told the team's owner they'd never win again.

That spell has now been broken.

The city of Cleveland has known a thing or two about breaking their own curses this year too.

At the turn of 2016, the city's professional sporting drought had dated back to 1964, or a combined 147 seasons of the NBA, MLB, NHL and NFL.

But that all changed when LeBron James produced the block of a lifetime on Andre Iguodala to help the Cavaliers to a four-point win in the deciding Game Seven against Golden State to deliver the franchise their first championship since joining the league in 1970.

But neither or those will go down as the greatest drought-breaker of 2016.

Leicester City's was the longest of them all, their spectacular English Premier League title their first top-tier league trophy in their 132-year history.

While every other global drought-breaker in 2016 had at least gone close to the title before, the Foxes entered the season 5000-1 outsiders, aiming to starve off relegation.

Instead, they went on a miracle run, losing just three games to wrap up the title with two weeks to go.

In August, Wellington's Hurricanes also claimed their first Super Rugby title in their 21-season history, defeating a Lions side in maiden final.

That came before the magical first weekend of October in Australia when Cronulla and the Western Bulldogs ended the longest-running droughts in their respective sports.

In their first AFL grand final since 1961, Luke Beveridge's men overcame a two-point half-time deficit to Sydney to run out 22-point winners - claiming their first title in 62 years.

A day later, Cronulla's dream of a maiden NRL title in their 50th season looked shot when Melbourne took the lead in the final 20 minutes.

But a late Andrew Fifita try, combined with a last-ditch defensive effort on their own line sending their supporters into a frenzy of celebrations - just as 2016 has for long-suffering fans all over the globe.

2016 TITLE DROUGHT-BREAKERS

* Leicester City (English Premier League) - 132 years

* Chicago Cubs (Major League Baseball) - 108 years

* Western Bulldogs (AFL) - 62 years

* Cronulla Sharks (NRL) - 49 years

* Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA) - 46 years

* Hurricanes (Super Rugby) - 20 years

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