The War of the Roses

With my husband being an avid cricket fan, he mentioned to me in passing that Yorkshire would be playing Lancashire at Headingley Cricket Ground during the summer for the famous War of the Roses match. The game is called such because Yorkshire’s symbol is the white rose and Lancashire’s is the red rose. I did my research and saw that tickets went on sale at the beginning of February for the T20, so I set myself a reminder to purchase the tickets that morning in February for Richard’s birthday gift. He told me what stand he wanted to sit in and I did the rest.

Flash forward to Friday the 5th of June and it was time for the cricket match. I had told Richard he could take one of the guys if he preferred, but he wanted me to go, which made me really happy because I’ve actually come to enjoy cricket over the past few years. Yes, some of the matches can go on for days (literally), but as I mentioned earlier, this match was a T20, which meant each team bowled 20 overs for a total of 120 balls (6 balls in an over). T20s are fast-paced because each club bats their heart out since they have a limited amount of time to get as many runs as possible.

Roses1Warming up

The atmosphere at these matches is brilliant with the fans being extremely enthusiastic about their home county. Any event which pits Yorkshire versus Lancashire is bound to be full of banter and shows the fairly intense rivalry between the neighbouring counties.

We arrived about an hour prior to the start in order to grab a pint and some food at the grounds. It was already filling up and there was a buzz in the air, a lot of which was due to the extremely excited Yorkshireman that I am married to! He was filling me in on random facts and bits of information, and I was completely enjoying seeing him so excited.

After finishing off our dinner of sausages and our first round of pints, we made our way to our seats. As we started to come down the stairs in our sections, I was convinced we were fairly high up, but Richard just kept walking down closer and closer to the cricket pitch until we realized that we were in the front row. At that moment, I believe I scored close to 1 million wife points! Richard’s face (okay, let’s be honest…mine too!) was plastered with a giant smile.

Sitting in our seats, we were enjoying people watching when we heard an announcement stating that before the start of the match there would be a filming for one of our favorite shows, A League of Their Own. (Those of you in the U.S. may recognize the host of the show, James Corden, as the new host of The Late Late Show.) We were even more excited now to see some of the cast from the show playing cricket. It was quite hilarious to see these non-cricketers trying to bat. (Well, one of them is a cricketer, but he bowled at them…FAST.) We’re looking forward to when the episode runs next season. Soon after, the match started and my favorite Yorkshireman was in rare form as he cheered loudly for his county’s cricket team.

Roses2Filming for A League of Their Own

One of the things I was looking forward to was hearing the chants from the fans. Many sports teams here have some epic chants, so Richard had said there would likely be some great ones at this match. We could not help but laugh though as the only chant coming from the Yorkshire fans was a very drawl “Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire.” It was so blah and had no oomph to it, which was such a stark contrast to the energy of the match.

Roses3Love the lights in the shape of roses that encircle the grounds

Although Yorkshire put themselves in a great position to win after batting first, Lancashire ended up winning by a few runs. The result was disappointing, but we still had an amazing time. I completely enjoyed the experience and hopefully we’ll be able to catch another T20 next summer. I have always liked sports – not all, but most – and with cricket being such an iconic sport here in England, I’m happy that it is something I can enjoy watching with Richard.

Roses4

A Yank at the Cricket: Bowled Over or Board to Death?

Big thanks to my witty husband for the ‘punny’ post title!

Last year we tried to make it to a cricket match, but the weather had other plans for us. This year though, we were much luckier. First and foremost, England is having a summer (!!!) that has made for perfect cricket weather. (I really should spend every day writing about this weather after all of the moaning I did last year about the lack of summer.) Second, England was host to The Ashes 2013, which is a big deal cricket series between England and Australia. Our brother-in-law scored some tickets from a friend and asked us if he wanted to join him and Richard’s sister for Day 2 of the third test match series which took place at Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester over this past weekend.

**At this point I must point out that I am still learning cricket and all of its intricacies, but I feel like I have a decent grasp of how the sport works from the endless watching of it that Richard has done since we got the Sky Sports package on tv in the new house. With that disclaimer, please grant me some leniency as I write about the match and the game. Richard has already said he might write an addendum to this post if I go into a lot of detail. I welcome his addition, but think I will stick to a simple post that doesn’t involve too much discussion about the rules!**

TheAshesfieldofplay

For those who do not know, a typical cricket test match last for five days, beginning on a Thursday and finishing on a Monday. There are two innings in each match allowing each team to bat and to bowl twice. (When I learned this fact, I started to compare cricket to baseball, but they really are not that similar so my comparison should not be acknowledged.) The Ashes are comprised of test matches, but there are also a few other types of matches that are shorter in duration and might be a good place to start if you are new to the sport.

TheAshespitch

We ended up with great seats that were just under cover, so we didn’t roast throughout the day like most of the other 20,000 fans did as proven by their extremely red faces. We were on the side of the pitch where the team ‘dugouts’ (I have no idea what they are called, but they are like actual boxes.) are and had a great view of the field of play. The match began at 11 AM and play ended around 6:30 PM. They take two breaks during that period as well – one for lunch and one for ‘tea’. (Ah, England.)

I will be honest and say that it can make for a long day. Because Australia was batting the majority of the day we were there, I didn’t consider runs to be a big deal as we did not want them to score more, so in my eyes, it took nearly 1 1/2 hours for the first major thing to happen, which was someone being caught out. As Richard likes to point out, that is an extremely long time to wait for those of us used to sports in the U.S. that are filled with big plays from start to finish! (I actually agree with him.) But, you make your own fun when the innings get long by laughing at drunk people and their antics. I also had a lot of questions about things that were happening, so that helped to fill some of the down time. I’m actually looking forward to going to another match next summer when I’m not pregnant because I spotted some people with pitchers of Pimm’s in the stands – now you’re talking!

So, what’s the verdict? Was I ‘bowled over’ or ‘board to death’? Overall, I would have to consider myself ‘bowled over’, which actually surprised me! It was fun to be part of a tradition that has gone on for years and to soak up the beautiful English summer. I couldn’t believe it on Monday when I was home alone and found myself putting the match on the telly to see how it finished. It ended in a draw (or a tie as we like to say in the States), which means that England will retain The Ashes urn for the time being!

Have you been to a cricket match? Do you enjoy watching the sport?  

TheAshessleepingA cricket match – the perfect place for an afternoon nap!

It’s just not cricket.

(I asked the Brit to help me come up with a title for this blog post and he informed me that they use the saying of ‘It’s just not cricket’ when something isn’t right. So, there you go and I just learned something today!)

Today, the Brit and I were supposed to be sitting in the sun at Headingley watching the England v. West Indies One Day International cricket match. Instead, he’s working from home and I’m applying to jobs while listening to the radio commentary from Headingley as we watch the rain pour down outside. (In the words of the English, ‘It is absolutely pissing it down!’) The match was set to begin at 10:30 and has yet to officially be called off, but it is difficult to imagine how the cricket grounds will be playable in the midst of this downpour.

Not only was I looking forward to spending the day with the Brit as it feels like we haven’t seen each other these past two weeks, I was also excited to see some cricket live. All credit to the Brit as he has tried many a time to explain the game to me while watching it on telly and because of that I do understand the very basics of it. However, I knew that if I could see the whole thing happening at once that I would understand it more fully and pick the rules up faster. But unfortunately, I think my cricket lesson will have to be postponed.

Oh, I have seen one other cricket match live, but I don’t think I can count it. It was a match in which the Brit’s 6-year old godson was playing. Granted, it was absolutely adorable to see the little ones in their cricket whites, but all I could think of were the days of my brother playing tee-ball when he was young. (For those who might not know, tee-ball is baseball for little kids in which they hit the baseball off of a tee instead of it being pitched to them.) It was a hysterical mess of cuteness!

So, although today’s match looks like a wash, I’m hoping we can soon catch a live cricket match as I’m really interested in learning more about the sport. And, I hope that the sun comes back. I really hope I didn’t curse the weather with my last blog post!