Since 1890, the sound of leather on willow emanating from the square at Headingley has been a constant part of the Yorkshire summer. And while the look of ground has evolved almost as much as the game of cricket itself in that time, the famous old stadium remains one of sport’s greatest institutions.
The saying ‘Strong Yorkshire, Strong England’ is borne out by the statistics, with no other county in the history of the game winning more trophies and producing more players for the national side.
That expression hasn’t always rung true over the years but certainly appears to be the case at the moment, with Joe Root recently named as England captain and the national Test and one-day sides filled with other current Yorkshire players such as Jonny Bairstow, David Willey, Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid.
Headingley itself has played host to many of cricket’s most memorable moments over the years - the venue where Don Bradman, the greatest batsman of all time, twice scored more than 300 for Australia and the place where in 1977, Geoffrey Boycott scored his hundredth first-class hundred as England won the match to regain the Ashes.
Perhaps the most famous game played at the ground came four years after that when Ian Botham, supported by Bob Willis, inspired an extraordinary England comeback to beat Australia having at one stage in the match being 500-1 outsiders to win the Test.
As the sport has changed over the years, crowds for both county and international games are increasingly drawn to the one-day format, especially the quickfire Twenty20 matches. Headingley has adapted to modern-day demands through stadium improvements, with the eye-catching £21m Carnegie Pavilion opening in 2010. Further changes are planned to maintain Headingley’s position as one of the world’s top cricket grounds, with proposals to increase capacity from 17,000 to 20,000. After its incredible past, now Headingley is taking guard to prepare for whatever the future will throw at it.
Technical details: Nikon D4 camera with a Nikon 12mm-24mm lens, 1/5000sec @ f/5.6, ISO 500.