Test Match 21 July 2005

 

Early on the morning of Thursday 21 July 2005 I took the train from Leeds to Kings Cross. I was going to the first day of the first Test match against the Australians at Lordís. As a Yorkshireman, I had been to many Tests at Headingley, the ground of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, but Iíd never been to Lordís, the home of English cricket. It was exciting; a day off work, a lovely English summer morning and a new first for my achievements list.

Leeds Town Hall

Two weeks earlier bombs had exploded on the London Underground and on a bus with horrendous results. Our turn. The whole country caught its breath. These were the first terrorist bombs in Britain since the IRA campaign. I had decided before leaving Leeds that I would walk to Lordís. It was a most enjoyable stroll across Regents Park.

King's Cross

 

At the ground I met old friends with whom Iíd attended Test matches for twenty years. The cricket was exhilarating; Australia were bowled out quickly and then Englandís wickets also tumbled. We had great fun exchanging friendly insults with the many young Australians around us. There are Test matches and Test matches against Australia. The second are the ones that matter. Australians when it comes to sport are so committed, so competitive and so damned cocky. But they are family Ė the rivalry is spirited but warm and civilised.

 

Soon though thousands of mobile phones began to inform the crowd of the awful fact that the bombers had struck again.

 

Fortunately these bombs did not explode. Within weeks the police had caught the alleged would-be bombers.

After the match and a few drinks in leafy St Johnís Wood, I got a taxi to Kings Cross. The traffic was heavy as the Tube was still disrupted. The police presence at Kings Cross was, not surprisingly, also heavy.

 

St. Johns Wood

At midnight back in Leeds the taxi driver asked me if Iíd had a good day. I had, I said. I didnít yet fully realise the extent to which on that day my life had collided with the two big news stories of summer 2005. England went on to win the Ashes in the most wonderful series in a generation, perhaps ever. And, though one series of terrorist atrocities in Britain had ended, a new one had seemingly begun.

 

The Tube

 

JDB

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