England Test defeat a costly affair

LONDON: England's crushing fourth Test defeat by Australia here at Headingley could cost the local economy up to two million pounds (3.3 million US dollars), experts quoted by the Yorkshire Post newspaper said Monday.

A full, five-day, match at Headingley, the headquarters ground of county side Yorkshire, would have been expected to generate some eight million pounds (13.3 million dollars) for the economy of Leeds.

But these projections had been downgraded to six million pounds (10 million dollars) after Australia won by an innings and 80 runs inside three days here on Sunday to level the five-match Ashes series at 1-1 ahead of the final Test at the Oval, in south London, which starts on August 20.

With supporters already checking out early of local hotels and the 18,000 fans who had bought tickets for Monday's scheduled fourth day set to be refunded, Gary Verity, chief executive of tourism organisation Welcome to Yorkshire, told the Post: "It is disappointing the full five days won't be played out.

"Of course, it will affect the estimated total aimed at boosting Leeds's economy," he added.

But Deborah Green, chief executive of Marketing Leeds, insisted the city and the surrounding region could still do well financially out of a Test match that only just lasted past lunch on the third day.

"We won't make as much as a region as would have done from the full five days but six million pounds could still be a conservative estimate," Green told The Times.

"And we count ourselves lucky that we've at least had three good days when the sun has shone."

Less fortunate are those fans who had purchased tickets in advance for what should have been the fifth day's play on Tuesday.

Unlike their fourth day counterparts, they will not be refunded.

Fifth-day tickets were sold at the reduced price of 20 pounds (33 dollars) for adults and five pounds (eight dollars) for children.

Helen Longley, Yorkshire County Cricket Club's ticket office manager, told the Post: "The tickets were sold on a non-refundable basis at a reduced price and if it had gone on for the full five days, supporters would have got a bargain. As it stands though, it is just the way it has turned out."

Fans with fifth-day tickets will have the chance to watch a Yorkshire match before the end of this season instead.