With a fiercely proud County cricket side, two top teams playing both codes of rugby, and Leeds United FC, the city of Leeds has a sporting heritage second to none in the UK.
Home to much of this activity is Headingley Carnegie. Cricket and rugby are played here at the dual stadiums on the site, with Leeds United playing 'across town' at Elland Road.
Headingley is perhaps best known for its cricket. The list of former players is like a who's who of the game; Herbert Sutcliffe, Len Hutton, Fiery Fred Truman, Geoff Boycott and, in recent years, former England captain Michael Vaughan along with Matthew Hoggard, Ryan Sidebottom (now at Notts) and, of course, the enigmatic Darren Gough, currently captain of the Yorkshire team.
It is said that a strong Yorkshire means a strong England, and it is hard to argue with that statement.
The two rugby codes sit happily alongside the cricket and they too can boast well known names and not inconsiderable success.
The Rhinos have twice won the World Super Cup and the Super League. Former players have included Elery Hanley MBE, Barrie McDermott (now with Sky TV) and Garry Schofield OBE.
Leeds Carnegie RUFC (formerly the Tykes) are now back in the Premiership. Iain Balshaw, Simon Easterby and Roland de Marigny have all graced the Carnegie turf.
The pressures of maintaining the turf at these stadiums, very often in the full glare of watching millions on TV, falls on two experienced Head Groundsmen, Andy Fogarty, who looks after the cricket facility, and Jason Booth, current RFL Groundsman of the Year, at the rugby stadium.
Our editor, Laurence Gale MSc, joined them as they respectively prepared for a Twenty20 'Roses' clash and the visit of St. Helens to play the Rhinos, a game that was shown 'Live at Leeds' on Sky Sports.
Yorkshire take on Lancashire in a Twenty20 'Roses' clash in front of 8,000 spectators at Headingley ... and it's raining!
I arrived at the Headingley Carnegie cricket ground at 7.30am, after a two-hour drive from Shropshire, to find Andy Fogarty and his staff getting ready for the War of the Roses Twenty20 match between Yorkshire Carnegie and Lancashire Lightning.
The weather forecast was awful with light rain predicted for the morning followed by heavy showers in the evening. Not ideal for getting a game of cricket played!
And so it was that we spent much of the morning watching light rain fall and drinking cups of tea. The wicket and square were well protected with raised covers and flat sheets, most of the preparation work had been completed in the week leading up to the match.
There are four large sheets and two run up sheets to help cover the whole square. The flat sheet covers are made locally and measure 100ft x 40ft, with run up covers measuring 50ft x 50ft.
The outfield and square had been cut on the previous Tuesday along with final wicket preparations (mowing brushing, rolling and marking out). All there was left to do on the day, fortunately given the weather, was a final roll, clean up, touch up of the lines and setting out the stumps.
Andy has been Head Groundsman at Headingley for eleven years. He has two full time staff to help him, his assistant Christian Dunkerley, who has been at the club for ten years, and Gareth Milthorpe, who has seven year's service. On match days Andy's son often comes in and helps out, a useful extra pair of hands, especially when having to move covers on and off!
The square at Headingley has sixteen tracks constructed with Ongar Loam. In addition there are another four practice tracks at either end of the square. Andy has to get at least two matches per track. This season he will have two international matches, six four day county games, three second eleven matches and thirteen one dayers.
As always the quality of the square is dependant on the success of the previous winter's renovations. The square was scarified in four directions to a depth of between 3-4mm and overseeded and topdressed with 4 bags of Ongar Loam per pitch. The seed used was a 50/50 perennial rye grass mix using Sauvignon and Margarita. A programme of aeration was undertaken after November and completed in January.
The square is maintained at 25mm, with tracks cut to a height of 15mm at the beginning of the 10-14 day prep for matches. Final height of cut is between 3-4mm using Lloyds Paladins.
Andy's equipment includes three Paladins for the square, two 36" Allett Regals for the outfield and two rollers, a 1.5 and 2.5 tonne for the square and wickets. He also uses a Sisis RotaRake and CombiRake for preparing the tracks and square.
Fortunately, with the weather as it is during my visit, he has two water removal machines, a Blotter and a Water Hog. Any other equipment is usually hired in or borrowed from Jason Booth at the Rugby Stadium.
Headingley Carnegie Stadium is the world-famous home of The Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Leeds Rhinos RLFC and Leeds Tykes RUFC. It has two separate grounds, with a two-sided stand housing common facilities.
Last year the Stadium was saved from possible closure to international test matches through a ground-breaking deal between Leeds City Council, Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Leeds Metropolitan University, which saw it renamed Headingley Carnegie Stadium; the university's sports faculty is known as the Carnegie School of Sport, Exercise and Physical Education. As one local resident commented, "Headingley without test matches would be like roast beef without Yorkshire pudding."
The capacity of the rugby ground currently stands at 17,700 whilst the new Carnegie Stand is being built to replace the old Eastern Terrace. The ground is shared by the world's first dual-code rugby partnership, Leeds Rugby Limited, which incorporates both the League-playing Rhinos and the Union-playing Tykes.
Headingley cricket ground adjoins the rugby stadium via a shared main stand. It has seen Test cricket since 1899 and has a capacity of 17,000.
Headingley spectators have been lucky enough to witness some of the greatest moments in cricket. Local boy and demon spinner, Hedley Verity, took 10 wickets for 10 runs in 1932 for Yorkshire v Nottinghamshire - a world record
Preparing for a top of the table clash between Leeds Rhinos and St. Helens, which will be screened live on Sky TV, brings unique challenges
When I returned to Headingley two days later to catch up with Jason Booth, he was preparing for the top of the table clash between Leeds Rhinos and St Helen.
Jason and his assistant, Kiel Barrett, had been mowing the pitch post to post, overseeing the logo painting and setting up the initial line marks for pitch lining.
Jason has been Head Groundsman at the club since 2001 and has improved the pitch to such an extent that it is now regarded as one of the best playing surfaces in both codes of rugby. It's remarkable feat when you consider that, because he has to cater for both codes, the playing seasons overlap leaving him with little or no clear period for traditional 'end of season' renovation works, quite simply because the seasons never end!
If he is lucky he may get a two-week window to carry out some renovation works but, usually, it is a case of getting as much work as possible completed in between matches.
He has a staff of three to help him maintain both the stadium and training ground pitches - Kiel Barrett, Ryan Golding and Allan Wright.
Over the years they have continued to raise the standard of the pitch. They work very hard to ensure the pitch is at its best, both in performance and presentation, for every game. Having taken over from his mentor, the redoubtable Keith Boyce, the previous Head Groundsman, Jason is now highly respected by his peers, players and management staff.
It has not been easy and there are still many issues to face, particularly with the ground improvements earmarked for the future. New stands are to be built to increase crowd capacity. This alone will bring new problems with shade and air flow. However, his biggest decision is likely to be whether to upgrade the pitch to a sand based reinforced system or to keep his trusted soil based pitch, but with improved drainage.
Whatever decision he takes, the current condition of the Headingley Carnegie pitch is a credit to his commitment, dedication and drive.