5 places to see balls this #summerinbrum
Birmingham. Home to more World and European sporting championships than any other UK city. The place where lawn tennis was invented... where the Football League was founded... where England’s cricket team just love playing... and where many of the sporting trophies that are held aloft by our heroes are made.
In short, it’s the perfect destination to watch our favourite games this summer. Allow Visit Birmingham to set the ball rolling, keep our eyes on the ball – and any other tedious ball-related idiom – by taking you through our top five places to see balls in the region this summer.
(1) International cricket at Edgbaston Stadium (England v Pakistan, 3-7 August)
If you had to show an international tourist – Birmingham had more than a million foreign visitors last year, have you heard? – a quintessential British summertime afternoon, then the sweet sound of leather on willow at a sunny cricket ground would be high on the list... with England’s Barmy Army belting out a tune from the Edgbaston Stadium stands. Edgbaston is one of this country’s finest cricket stadiums, and it’s one of England’s most successful grounds to boot. This summer, our nation’s cricketers – who now make up one of the top one-day international teams in the world – take on Sri Lanka in a day/night game, then there’s a Test Match against Pakistan. Edgbaston officially has the best atmosphere of all UK cricket venues, so it’s well worth a visit this summer to see if anything can match last year’s incredible ODI thrashing of New Zealand and the super-fast Ashes victory against Australia.
Click here for details and to buy tickets.
(2) British Par 3 Championship, Nailcote Hall, 26-29 July 2016
Fore! Well... it’s actually number six on our list. The Visit Birmingham team likes nothing more than a game of mini golf at Cannon Hill Park, but this event is a slightly bigger affair. Nailcote Hall – a super 49 bedroom country house hotel in Warwickshire – hosts as big names from the worlds of golf, TV, entertainment and other sports test their skills on a challenging par 3 course. The organisers promise “short game golf with a big game feel” – recent competitors have included Ryder Cup star Paul Lawrie, Peter Schmeichel, Sir Alex Ferguson, Brian McFadden, Steve Cram and Birmingham’s own Jasper Carrott OBE. And it would be remiss to have a golf feature without also highlighting The Belfry, where you can follow in the footsteps of the masters. Having hosted The Ryder Cup an unprecedented four times, The Belfry resort is synonymous with truly special golfing moments and is steeped in tournament history.
For more details about the British Par 3 Championship, click here
(3) Football pre-season friendlies
OK, the 2015-16 campaign won’t go down as the most memorable for many West Midlands football fans, especially those of a claret and blue persuasion, but there’s always next season, right?
With West Bromwich Albion flying the flag for the region as the only Premier League team in 2016-17, and Aston Villa, Birmingham City and Wolverhampton Wanderers battling it out to get promotion from the Championship, and Walsall hoping for League 1 success, it certainly won’t be dull. So, keep your eye out on each of our clubs’ websites to see which teams will be visiting the area for pre-season friendlies. And, who knows, maybe the Villans, Baggies, Blues, Wolves or Saddlers captains will be holding aloft a trophy next May??! And, not too far from Birmingham, St George’s Park’s Ultimate Football Experience is a brilliant way to help and encourage students to take part in sport. With a trained FA coach, a 3G pitch and fun football activities on the ground where the nation’s football teams train, the venue promises an unforgettable time.
(4) T20 Finals Day, Edgbaston Stadium, 20 August 2016
Here at Visit Birmingham, we don’t like Twenty 20 cricket, oh no, we love it. Four teams, three matches, two finalists, one white ball... and one big winner. T20 cricket has taken the world by storm in recent years. The speed of the game, the huge shots, the loud music, the entertainment, the fireworks, the fancy dress, the mascot races – spectators can’t get enough of it, which was proved last year when Finals Day at Edgbaston drew record crowds. Lancashire Lightning were crowned winners last summer, but home fans will be hoping the Birmingham Bears can improve on their semi-final placing. While the identity of the finalists is unknown at the time of writing, you can be sure of big hitting, nail biting finishes and a wonderful Edgbaston atmosphere.
Tickets and more information can be found here
(5) Best of the rest...
Right then, we’ve nearly reached the end of our summer sporting compilation. So, if tennis, cricket, golf, athletics, football or inflatable obstacle courses don’t float your boat, you could play a game of ping pong in locations across the city (more info here) or be really brave and take part in the City of Birmingham Triathlon in Sutton Park (24 July). But, hang on a minute I hear you all cry, is that last event really in keeping with the title of this blog? Well, we reckon you’ll need balls to take part!!!
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