Headingley security to be increased in wake of ‘Just Stop Oil’ protests

Yorkshire will ramp up security levels for the third men’s Ashes Test at Headingley this week, following a pitch invasion by Just Stop Oil protesters during the second Test at Lord’s.

Three people were charged with aggravated trespass on the first day of the Lord’s Test. Two of them – Daniel Knorr, 21 and Jacob Bourne, 26 – ran onto the pitch carrying orange powder paint while a third – Judit Murray, 69 – was stopped by security before reaching the playing surface.

Players ignored the ECB’s security briefings and physically prevented the protesters reaching the pitch and disrupting the match by covering it with powder, with David Warner, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow all intervening.

Knorr, Bourne and Murray were released on bail and will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on July 31.

Just Stop Oil, a coalition of environmental action groups, have disrupted several high-profile sporting events in the UK over the past 18 months including Premier League football matches, the final of rugby union’s Premiership and the World Snooker Championship.

In a statement, the group criticised Lord’s for its sponsorship deal with JP Morgan Chase, the financial services provider, which it described as “the world’s worst ‘fossil bank'”, citing the 2021 report ‘Banking on Climate Chaos’.

The Times reported that a team of “sprinter stewards” have been hired by Yorkshire for their speed and agility and will be tasked with preventing damage to the pitch if protesters make it past the initial perimeter security.

A Yorkshire spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo: “The Ashes is a truly special occasion, and we want everybody visiting Headingley to have an incredible time watching first-class cricket at our iconic venue.

“The wellbeing of players, officials and spectators is paramount, and we are implementing appropriate measures to do everything within our control to keep everyone safe. Clearly, some incidents at Lord’s have heightened the interest and exposure of the third Test.

“We will continue to work closely with both the ECB and West Yorkshire Police to ensure our safety measures are proportionate for this fixture.”

Headingley’s Western Terrace carries a similar reputation to the Eric Hollies Stand at Edgbaston. “I definitely think it’s going to be ramped up,” Stokes said. “We get it in Australia: 90,000 Australians at the MCG all cursing at you.” Tickets have sold out for all five days of the Leeds Test.

Cummins has previously voiced his support for action against climate change and helping the sport become carbon neutral, launching the campaign group Cricket for Climate last year. When asked about the Just Stop Oil protest, Cummins said: “I think there’s better ways to go about it.”

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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