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Friday, 7 July 2023

CONNECT at the cricket: Ashes, Headingley 2023

CONNECT at the cricket: Ashes, Headingley 2023

Last weekend, we welcomed our CONNECT members to the third Ashes test at Headingley for a weekend of cricket which will be sewned deep into the history books. The Headingley test had it all: sun, rain, highs and lows. It was a fit and worthy suitor to follow the previous test at Lords, and outside of the tropical downpour, our guests were treated to exemplary test match cricket in the sunshine.

Headingley will never forget Ben Stokes’ formidable 135* in 2019, and all eyes were once again on England’s brilliant captain after a courageous display only a few days before at an extremely lively and action-packed test at Lords. A stoic display with bat in hand saw Stokes produce another fine example of leading from the front which kept England in the hunt prior to England’s second innings. With all great sporting battles, it takes two to tango and this remained true in Headingley. Both sides looked as though they could, and at some points would, take the spoils - with Australia’s captain Cummins having his counterpart’s number on both occasions.

Those who joined us on the Day One at Headingley were treated to a glimpse of magic from Man of the Match Mark Wood. His ferocious bowling reached speeds of 96.5mph, and lit the wicket and set the tempo for four spellbinding days of Test cricket.

Off the field, our members joined us at the wonderful Howard Suite for an afternoon of hospitality. This provided the perfect base for members old and new to mingle, meet, eat and drink during lunch and to take shelter from the tropical conditions which took hold of Saturday’s play. A special mention must go to the Headingley ground staff for their resilient and professional approach to ensuring play would resume as soon as possible, with a surface that provided both teams with the platform to showcase why The Ashes is so closely contested, and popular, after so many years.

Sunday’s chase and victory brought so many positives for the game, and of course a lifeline for England’s series hopes. What looked to be Australia’s clincher was impressively reprieved by England but as we pass the baton, and the dust settles over the Headingley chapter in a series which still has so much left to give, we are left with some bittersweet thoughts. It will be a crying shame for cricket and The Ashes to see Headingley missing off the fixture list in four years time, for both travelling support who have thoroughly revelled in Yorkshire’s hospitality over the past week, and those from Yorkshire, and further North, in Durham and beyond. The feverish support was encapsulated by fans packing Headingley’s bars and restaurants, waiting patiently after Saturday’s rain delay, only to return to fill the ground for the 25 overs played before the end of Day 3.

One thing remains certain; we had a wonderful weekend with our CONNECT members and can’t wait for The Ashes eventual return to Headingley and Yorkshire in the future. Next up for our CONNECT members will be our Simulated Shoot Day at The Bilberry Estate. If you would like to find out more about how you can join CONNECT, get in touch -

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