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Headingley: The Heart of Cricket in the North of England

11 May 2016

From County Cricket to International Matches – Plan a Thrilling Day Out in Leeds This Summer

One of the most prolific cricket grounds in Britain, Headingley Carnegie Cricket Stadium (popularly shortened to ‘Headingley’) is located on the north-western tip of Leeds, just a 13 minute drive from 42 The Calls. The stunning cricket ground is nestled amongst the Victorian, terraced streets of Headingley - a reminder that this venue has been at the heart of the community in Leeds for over a hundred years.

This summer there’s, what is sure to be, a gripping test match between England and Sri Lanka from May 19th to 23rd as well as an explosive England v Pakistan ODI on September 1st. For cricket fans – or even those new to the sport – this is your chance to visit Headingley and experience something really exciting. For visitors to Leeds, you won’t get a more ‘typically Yorkshire’ experience than attending a summertime cricket match in Leeds with a cup of Yorkshire Tea (or local Black Sheep ale) in hand.

Headingley - Flickr 18360144116
Headingley Cricket Ground

A Proud Heritage and Strong Sense of Identity

Although it’s possible to trace cricket in Yorkshire back to the 1750s, officially the Yorkshire County Cricket Club was formed in 1863 and test cricket has been played at Headingley since 1899. As a county team, Yorkshire have always strived for a sense of pride and tradition. Aiming to be recognised as one of the leading cricket clubs in the world, they worked their way up during the 19th century to be classified as an official first class team in 1895, progressing to a List A team in 1963 and have been classified as a major Twenty20 team since 2003.

This determination to succeed has seen the team become the most successful English cricketing team of all time. Over their illustrious history, the club has won 33 County Championship titles and are the current trophy holders, having won the title in 2014 and 2015 under the astute leadership of coach Jason Gillespie (an Australian, but we’ll keep that quiet). With most of their home games played at Headingley, as well as this being a location for international cricket, the months between March and September are a busy time at this stadium.

Famous Headingley Moments

With numerous famous cricketing spectacles taking place at Headingley through the years, modern-day spectators are walking into a richly historic sporting venue. It was here in 1932 that Hedley Verity took 10 wickets for 10 runs, during a Yorkshire v Nottinghamshire match – this is the best bowling analysis ever recorded in first-class cricket and is yet to be beaten.

As part of a protest against George Davis’ wrongful prison incarceration in 1975, campaigners dug holes in the pitch at Headingley and poured oil over the wicket – the match was then abandoned and declared a draw, denying England their chance to win back the Ashes from Australia. Perhaps one of the most famous historic moments at Headingley though, came in 1981 when Ian Botham scored a brutal 149 not out, bringing about a seemingly impossible England victory against old enemies Australia and against all odds (500-1). His extraordinary century set the tone for England winning the series and they regained the Ashes. His performance has, understandably, gone down in history as one of the finest of all time.

International Matches in Summer 2016

Between May 19th and 23rd, Headingley will host a five day test match between England and Sri Lanka. The ground is somewhat of a bastion for the England team and for good reason. The northern English conditions, lush terrain and bouncy pitch are well-matched to the team’s pace bowling attack, particularly the wily and lethal swing bowler- James Anderson. Currently ranked the top bowler in the world, spectators will also enjoy watching what Stuart Broad achieves in May with his pace and bounce – between them, he and Anderson are sure to make this a real test for the Sri Lankan batsmen and a test match to remember for the watching crowds.

James Anderson - Flickr 18388124121
James Anderson bowls at Headingley

Headingley is also the home ground of Yorkshireman, England star and world number two batsman Joe Root, so he should enjoy a fruitful match on his home turf. Fans can look forward to watching his typically exquisite stroke play. Leading the team will be steely England Test captain Alastair Cook and he will be keen to start off the team’s summer with a win.

The Sri Lankan team typically struggle at grounds like Headingley, being more used to the drier conditions of their native country, though it has to be said that the last time the two teams played here in 2014 they claimed a dramatic 100 run victory – so any result is on the cards. The International Cricket Council currently rate England 4th in the world and Sri Lanka 7th – so if you want to guarantee an exciting match of cracking cricket, this could be the game to build into your visit to Leeds.

England also take on Pakistan in the One Day International game on 1st September. This promises to be a challenging match for England. Currently ranked as 3rd in the world, just above England, Pakistan are an exciting team to watch live. Captained by Eoin Morgan, England will be hoping to earn a win, with a talented team of young players including big hitting batsman Joss Buttler and leg-spin bowler Adil Rashid. Pace bowler Chris Jordan will also be very important for England, having recently impressed with his ‘death bowling’ during the Twenty20 World Cup.  Eoin Morgan will be relying on him to spear in some ‘yorkers’ right at the batsmen’s feet at the end of the Sri Lankan innings.

While the bowlers will enjoy themselves, England’s batsmen will have their work cut out in this match – Pakistan’s rapid left-arm bowlers Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz will be tough opposition. Amir in particular will be itching to get stuck in as he recently returned from a five year ban for participating in match-fixing. To avoid the kind of meltdown seen against the hostile bowling of Australian leftie Mitchel Johnson, during the 2013/14 Ashes, England will have to focus and prep well for some serious ‘short stuff’ – the ball is sure to be whistling past their ears.

Tickets for both of these games are available here and tickets for county games throughout the summer can be found here. Food and drink are allowed to be taken into the stands at Headingley – the specific rules are found here. So pack a picnic, grab a score card and sit back for an enjoyable day in the great outdoors at this historic location in Leeds.

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