Leeds is undoubtedly one of the best cities in the country for watching great live sport. Here, The Gryphon takes a brief look at four of Leeds’ most successful sporting teams.
The most successful county cricket side of all time, with 33 titles since winning their first in 1893. The team, also based in Headingley, are currently sitting in second place in the table ahead of their final match with Middlesex, the current leaders. They will be hoping to win their third successive title as a parting gift to coach Jason Gillespie, who will be returning to Australia at the end of the season. The ground also plays host to international cricket matches as well, with countries such as Sri Lanka and Pakistan being recent visitors to Leeds.
Leeds Rhinos are one of the most successful rugby league teams in the country, having won the Challenge Cup 13 times (more than any team apart from Wigan), as well as completing the treble in 2015. This season has been more of a struggle for the Headingley-based team, only finishing ninth in the Super League, missing out on a chance to challenge for the title, and being forced to play in the Qualifiers in an attempt to keep their Super League status. So far, the team have a 100% record after winning all four of their matches in these qualifiers, and will be hoping to keep this up for the rest of the season. Student prices start from £13.
Leeds United are one of the most successful clubs in England, reaching one European Cup final and winning three first division titles, as well as reaching the Champions League semi-finals in 2001. However, over the last decade, the club have found it difficult to put themselves back on the footballing map. Indeed, the Yorkshire side have mainly played in the English second division during this poor period in the club’s history, although this also includes a brief spell in the third division of English football. This would have seemed unthinkable at the turn of the century, when Leeds United were competing competitively for the league title and in the Champions League, with many future England stars playing for them: James Milner, Paul Robinson, Alan Smith and Rio Ferdinand, alongside foreign greats such as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Mark Viduka. Currently, Leeds United are trying, as many teams are, to get promoted to the Premier League from the Championship, and have recently appointed former Swansea City manager Garry Monk in a bid for this to happen. As it is still early in the season, it is hard to tell how Leeds will fare, but one thing is certain: this is a very competitive Championship, with two former Champions League winning managers and more money than ever being spent on players. This could well be another difficult year for Leeds United.
Just as the city of Leeds can lay claim to being the centre for the Team GB triathletes, it was also at the centre of success in both triathlons at Rio 2016. Indeed, the Brownlee brothers – both alumni of the University of Leeds– won gold and silver in the men’s final, whilst Vicky Holland won the bronze medal in the women’s final, with Non Stanford finishing a few seconds behind her Leeds housemate in fourth place. This not only meant a continuation, but also a little improvement, on the results at London 2012. Indeed, in the men’s final four years ago, Alistair Brownlee won, whilst his brother Jonny was third, although no British female finished in the top three. The highest placed woman in London was Helen Jenkins who finished fifth and the aforementioned Vicky Holland who finished in 26th place. Just as Team GB improved on their performances in the overall medals table, so did the triathletes, who demonstrated that Leeds plays an important part in British sport.
Luke Etheridge and James Felton
Photographer: Gareth J Dykes