Headingley In The Sun

After my first ashes experience at Edgbaston had resulted in a wash out, the very nice people at Betfair through http://www.fanvfan.com/ had allowed me two tickets to Saturday’s play at Headingley.

Who was I to say no!

I had only one wish for the day ahead as this time I set off from Darlington with my good friend Chris (Dan had to work this time around), can you guess what it is?

Yes indeed, your right, no rain!

The journey was reasonably smooth though poor communication at York and what seemed to be a lack of previously promised trains meant a very full slow train to Headingley.

The optimism was at a reasonable level though the weather was increasingly becoming obvious, batting weather if ever I had seen it. The most enjoyable aspect on the journey and in the ground is the banter between complete strangers.

Plus Chris and I will talk to anyone!

Most other aspects of the operation and entry to the ground ran smoothly, the game begun and as the sunshine became hotter the enthusiasm for anything other than an Australia win was becoming more apparent with all fans.

Having enjoyed the rains of Edgbaston I partly wanted it to set in here as winning the ashes has to be our main objective, but we can’t complain in a country always under the gaze of the dreaded dark cloud.

Australia did bat well coupled with some very ordinary bowling. Marcus North hit a fine century (110) and it was a pleasure to be amongst appreciative cricket fans who gave him a deserved ovation, especially getting to your century whilst hitting a six.

Very enjoyable!

He had notable support in the shape of Michael ‘Pup’ Clarke (93) and one of my favourite Aussie cricketers Stuart Clark (32), both hit some fine cricket strokes, notably a Michael Clarke skip down the wicket and a Stuart Clark straight drive for six.

Wickets finally began to fall after lunch and England thanks to Stuart Broads first decent bowling performance of the series (6-91) bowled Australia out for 445. This slight momentum continued as England begun their second innings.

I have always believed whilst Andrew Strauss and Alistair Cook occupy the crease, especially in the absence of Kevin Pietersen we are in good shape, even when heavily behind. 56-0 soon became 78-5 and this was devastating to say the least.

England had capitulated and the bowling prowess of both Ben Hilfenhaus (4-60) and the return of Mitchell Johnson (5-69) bode for ominous signs as we head to the Oval.

The result was set and the following day would be a case of going through the motions, despite some resistance.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable day, we caught the sun (well my face looked more like a beetroot), spoke with some very nice people and watched some fine cricket (Australia) in the process.

With particular highs watching the Weston Terrace make many attempts at beer snakes and the overall atmosphere this re-developing ground produced. The lows are obvious to all English fans.

The journey home was a long one and the poor train availability after the days play needs to be investigated.

It was an amazing experience to experience an ashes test match and hopefully (with over optimism) England can win the series so I can say I was there. The momentum has swung and I doubt this will happen but who knows in sport.

Maybe rain was what I secretly wanted. It was what England desperately needed.

Now we need to win at a ground which is grinding out draws this season.

Cheers for reading.


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