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County Cricket Division 1: Hampshire at Yorkshire

24 September 2009 No Comment

As I wrote earlier my plan for Thursday afternoon was to attend the first division county cricket match between Yorkshire and Hampshire at Headingley Carnegie Cricket Ground in Leeds. The match started at 10:30 am and it took anywhere between 2 and 2.5 hours to take the train from London to Leeds. One train left London’s King’s Cross station at 8:10 am and arrived Leeds at 10:21 am. By the time I would arrive at Headingley it would be around 11 am which seemed like good timing even though it was early. However, the deciding factor was when Big Chris (on Wednesday night) stated he needed to leave the house at 7:15 am Thursday morning and would drive right by King’s Cross station on his way to work so he offered me a ride.

I woke up at 6:30 am to get ready and we were out of the house by 7:15 am. Big Chris dropped me off at the train station around 7:40 am and I grabbed some breakfast at the train station. The train left at 8:10 am and I was on my voyage to Northern England.

Traveling by Train
Before leaving for Europe I purchased a BritRail England pass. Since I had an idea about how many days I would be traveling in England, I purchased the flexible pass for eight days meaning I could travel any eight days within a two month time period. I activated the pass when Nicole and I traveled to Sheffield, England for the U2 concert in August and used the second day to return to London.

Now I was using my third day. The best part of the BritRail pass is that you do not need to plan what trains you are taking ahead of time. Thus, you can change your plans if needed. Second, you can travel as I was planning to today – meaning traveling from London to Newcastle but with a lengthy stopover in Leeds. My first journey from London to Leeds in the morning and my second journey from Leeds to Newcastle in the evening were considered the same “trip.”

Leeds Train Station
After arriving in Leeds I needed to 1) Check my luggage at the train station and 2) Determine how to get to Headingley.

I first asked for directions on how to get to Headingley. I was told to take a local train to the Headingley train stop. The train left in about 10 minutes and the next one was 30 minutes after that. Hurriedly, I found the bag check for the day – it was £7 per bag. Since I would be sitting in a stadium all day I only chose to check my large suitcase and carry my backpack and camera bag with me. I had considered checking my backpack as well but decided against it.

After checking my bag I made the train to the Headingley Station with three minutes to spare. Even though I got off at the Headingley Station, you can also get off at the Burley Park Station. Both are about a 10 to 15 minute walk to the cricket ground.

Obtaining Tickets
I arrived at Headingley around 11 am just as I thought I would. I walked up to the ticket office and noticed they had a regular priced ticket for £15 or a concession ticket for £10. I had no idea what a concession ticket was but asked for one anyway. The guy at the window sold me one so I saved £5. I’m assuming a concession tickets is for a youth, senior or student. Not sure what I qualified for but I think the guy did not care too much.

Headingley Carnegie Cricket Ground
Headingley was similar to the Oval – an old stadium with a lot of stands around the pitch that were empty. Only one concession stand was open as was the case with the Oval so I obviously sat in the section there.

I did not notice much of a difference between Division 1 and Division 2 cricket – probably because I am not an expert in watching cricket. The pace felt the same and neither team had an incentive to win the match since neither would be demoted to Division 2 by losing.

Getting back to Leeds Train Station
To get back to the Leeds train station, I took the local train back as I had in the morning. However, I failed to look at the time tables to see when the train was returning to the main train station. Just as I had barely made the train in the morning, I barely missed the train in the evening. At first I was fairly aggravated but then appreciated the relaxation of waiting at a train station on a fall afternoon in Europe. The wait reminded me of when I had to wait for awhile after the American Memorial 500 Champ Car race I attended in Germany on September 15, 2001.

Of course, my 30 minute wait at the Headingley train station did not matter since by the time I got back to the Leeds train station and collected my bag, I made the same train I would have if I caught the earlier train – I just waited in a different location.

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