As a somewhat wilful child ‘growing’ up in Tasmania,
Australia, every time I did something which my older siblings, parents,
teachers, priests - the whole cart-load of them - considered anti-social, I
would be admonished by a tired old clich้: “that’s not cricket,
Lanka belts a four during this year’s Chiang Mai Sixes.
Cup Winners Gloucestershire Gipsies with Surapong Sukkanasilp, Chairman,
Chiengmai Gymkhana Club (far left) and Syed Ashraful Huq, Chief Executive,
Asian Cricket Council.
Well, just last week in Chiang Mai, at the Cup finals of
the sixteenth edition of the “Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes and
the Fourth Sawasdee Cricket Cup”, the British team, the Gloucestershire
Gipsies did something that was “just not cricket, you know” - they
administered a thrashing to the Aussies - West Australian team Lord’s
Taverners, thereby winning the premier group, the Cup Division. After
suffering humiliating defeats at the hands of the Aussies in the big Test
Match arenas for decades, the British redeemed ancient glories, albeit in
the limited confines of the Chiengmai Gymkhana Club.
It was the sweet smell of success (revenge?) from another
perspective, too. At the 2002 Sixes, the Gipsies lost the title by just one
run to the Aussie Taverners in the Cup final.
Elsewhere, in the Bowl final, the Aussies were back on
track, with the Newcastle, N.S.W. team, the Warathais, in their sixth
appearance at Chiang Mai, knocking out South Africa’s consistently
performing Almar Cricket Club.
Veteran Australian test cricketer Trevor Chappell, who
took over the captaincy of the Warathais from Steve Christie who was
indisposed, clearly showed his experience and ability in both batting and
bowling, leading the team to victory. His shock of gray hair was a false
signal: he was agile, quick and sure, slamming 31 not out in the final and
taking some ‘juicy’ Almar wickets along the way.
Not only on the pitch did the Warathais perform well
either: at the traditional fancy-dress parade held at the “Pig Picking”
night at the Gymkhana Club, they walked off with the best-un(dressed) prize.
Ashraful Huq, Chief Executive, Asian Cricket Council presents the Sawasdee
Award to Bangkok’s Prince Royal’s College, the Southerners Sports Club.
Director Maurice Bromley (L) with scoring specialist and junior cricket
supporter, Peter Dawson.
beautiful guides enjoy their newly-won fame in the Chiang Mai Mail.
The Plate final was won by the B.A. Dragons from Wales,
by beating the Malaysian Silver State, with a ‘little help from their
friends’ on both sides: former Sri Lankan test cricketers, Amal Silva
scoring 34 not out and Roshan Mahanama, 35 not out, for the B.A Dragons and
Silver State, respectively.
Hometown teams fought out the Spoon Final, with,
appropriately, the host club, the Gymkhana Cavaliers downing the Gang Green
United Nations Irish Pub, after which BOTH teams downed un-countable
The ladies slogged it out and again the perennial
winners, the Chiang Mai Chassis, retained their title, beating the World
Woman’s All Stars Dixie Belles, in spite of a lucrative bounty on the
heads of the Chassis team and in spite of - or, maybe in this case, because
of - bottles of champagne ensconced behind the wickets.
The traditional Stars Challenge, comprising the ‘Rest
of the World Stars’ and a Sri Lankan team, saw the former triumph.
The Juniors who, in this reporter’s opinion, have
improved phenomenally since last year, especially in their fielding - and
enthusiasm - reached the big time this year.
For the first time, they played on the central pitch
(Wimbledon’s Centre Court?), with the hard ball and all the gear of the
big people. The Southerners’ prot้g้s - the 11-year-olds from
Bangkok schools - beat their Chiang Mai counterparts in the Grade Six
Division, while Wat Rong Or San Pee Su School won the Grade Five section.
Finally, at the awards dinner on Saturday night, Keith
Mustow was named ‘Player of the Finals’ and Damian O’Hara, the
Lord’s Taverners’ captain, was elected ‘Player of the Tournament’.
staff and Sixes managers at the Mckean Rehabilitation Center - resident
Australian medic, Dr. Trevor Smith (3rd right).
finest: the Pectel 69ers.
R) Witty commentator Rick Davis, Tournament Director Maurice Bromley and
Umpire Tony Gough.
One of the side-benefits arising from the Sixes was the
annual visit to the Mckean Hospital Rehabilitation Center, to deliver food
for the inmates suffering from leprosy. It was, indeed, a most moving visit
which three of us attending the Chiang Mai Sixes made - Hilary Neve (Match
Steward), Peter Gray (Umpire) and this correspondent. Set in beautiful
tree-lined areas and following the contours of a river, the serenity and
peace of the environment gives these unfortunates some happiness in their
difficult lives. It was, indeed, a moving experience.
Hilary Neve, as usual, swam 100 lengths of the pool to
raise money for the Sawadsdee Cricket. It is a tremendous effort and
deserving of the highest praise. I pondered that I can barely drive that
far, without a rest or a coffee break, at least.
Also, as is traditional, each team - and, of course,
those worthy gentlemen of the press corps - is assigned a guide. And each
year an incredible bevy of Chiang Mai beauties comes forward. All, again, at
the 2003 event, were beautiful. BUT, ‘Niu’, unluckily (for her) attached
to the representatives of the Fourth Estate, was exceptional. She was, in a
word, gorgeous. One gentleman who, of course, must remain anonymous, was so
mesmerized with our guide that he barely watched the cricket. To protect his
confidentiality, suffice to say that he was the oldest and, thus, according
to the other three, has less time left to see such beauty!
Fletcher’s prot้g้s: the Shenanigan’s IOS Malakas.
Sawasdee cricketers, with coaches, supporters and Sixes Tournament Manager,
Maurice Bromley (far right).
Tournament Director Maurice Bromley was most grateful for
the sponsorship of Heineken, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the many
other sponsors and helpers who make the event not just possible, but highly
enjoyable. With Renita Bromley “counting the beans”, Rick Davis running
a daily titillating commentary, as well as the eagerly-anticipated Quiz
Night and Geoff Thompson taking care of the publications, it is no wonder
that so many keep returning to Chiang Mai.
See you next year in Chiang Mai for the Seventeenth. Is
it too much to hope that the press will have ‘Niu’ again?
For more photos of this great event, please turn to page