Saturday, August 08, 2009

"The Ashes" in Headingley

When living in England, one cannot escape that every 18 to 30 months or so the sports news are filled with talk about "the Ashes". As I learned, this is a competition between only two countries: England (yes, this is not the UK but England only, as one of the "Nations" of the UK) and Australia play cricket to "win the Ashes". And this weekend, Friday until Monday, this competition takes place here in the famous Headingley Carnegie Cricket Stadium. When I passed by the stadium Friday late afternoon, there was lots of activity. The weather had been great Friday and Saturday, so the drainage system on the grounds which had some problems a few months ago was not put to a test. Instead, the only tests were the matches, because in cricket a game is called a "Test". Don't as me why there are only test matches (when are then the real matches?) of what an "Inning" is (are there any outings?) - I am blissfully ignorant of cricket or any other sport... I once heard (by an American) that Cricket is nothing else than "Baseball on Valium", because unlike Baseball which is usually over in 2 1/2 hours, cricket test matches last usually a few days and appear to go on a very slow pace. Americans would not have any patience for that.

And what is the story about "The Ashes"? As my German friend Falk explained to me, in 1882 Australia won for the first time a cricket match on an English ground. Some saw this as the end of English Cricket, and so the wickets were burnt, and their ashes was kept in an urn. Since then, these two countries play every 2 years about winning this urn, "The Ashes". Most times Australia won the Ashes, and also currently hold the title. Following the recent news from Headingley, it does not look good for England this season eather...

There is good info on the Ashes on Wikipedia.

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