The cricket world’s most popular international amateur
six-a-side tournament will celebrate its 17th successful year when the
tournament opens in Chiang Mai on Sunday April 4th. Alongside, for the 5th
year in a row and beginning on April 6th, will run the Sixes’ sponsored
Chiang Mai Sawasdee Cricket Cup for junior school teams.
year the Chiang Mai tobacco industry give their team a new name. Last year
it was ‘Out of Africa’ reflecting the Zimbabwean homeland of team
members Wally Pohl (back 2nd left) and Steve Penney (back, 2nd right). This
year’s name is Maori - Te Pakeha (meaning ‘white men’) - because
Captain Dean Henderson (back, right) hails from NZ.
This entire ‘festival’ of cricket for both adults and
juniors will as usual be held in the grounds of the 106 year old Chiangmai
Gymkhana Club. For the third year running the Sixes also welcomes close to
thirty teams (actually 29 this year). And to accommodate this large number
of entries, the Chiang Mai Sixes will run for the seven days, April 4-10.
Among the teams taking part, are many returning for their
umpteenth tour. Three in fact have participated in all seventeen years - the
Wombats from Australia, Drifters from England, and Darjeeling CC from Dubai.
The local Chiang Mai tobacco companies who helped to bring Sixes cricket to
Chiang Mai in 1988 have also entered a team every year, but they change
their team name each year. This time they will play under a Maori name “Te
Lions of CMW in their third year at the Sixes. The team is sponsored by CMW
Oriental Collections, a local company specializing in oriental carpets,
shawls, craft objects and furniture . The company is run by Wani (2nd from
right , back row) who is captain of the cricket team.
New teams also discover the Sixes and the hospitality of
Chiang Mai each year - the Surrey Vagrants, and Marchwiel Outlaws from the
UK, together with Commonwealth CC from Bangladesh are the lucky new entries.
12 countries are represented at the Sixes this year -
Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Dubai, England, Hong Kong, Malaysia,
South Africa, Spain, Wales and Thailand.
Sponsorship is always an important concern for this
volunteer-organized, non profit event. And while the Tourism Authority of
Thailand has consistently helped to support the Sixes and the over 300
cricketers and friends it now brings into Chiang Mai, corporate sponsors
have been slower to appreciate the potential. This year however Tesco Lotus
is making an important business contribution with the supplies of liquid
refreshments, not just for the adults, but also the junior cricketers.
Champion Sparkplug has agreed to sponsor a new “Big 10” scoring and
junior cricket challenge at the tournament.
Always open to innovation, the Sixes is experimenting
this year with a boundary worth 10 runs. Cricket’s traditional boundary
scores of 4 and 6 runs are maintained, but it is felt this short version of
the sport might gain added excitement with the possibility for a batsman to
score 10 runs from one ball. The 10 score is achieved by the batsman hitting
a large sponsored sign with the ball. The Thai junior cricket program will
benefit by a donation of 4,000 Baht from the sponsor, every time the sign is
hit. It is believed Chiang Mai Sixes is the first cricket event anywhere to
introduce a boundary 10 score.
As usual at Chiang Mai Sixes, a sprinkling of
international cricket professionals will be assigned on a one-per-team
basis, adding to the quality of the cricket and the sporting experience.
Expected to play this year are ex-test stars Roy Dias and Amal Silva from
Sri Lanka, Tom Hogan and Trevor Chappell of Australia, and Meyrick Pringle
from South Africa. Other pros and ex-pros include Paul Pritchard, the hard
hitting ex-captain of English County Championship team Essex, and from Sri
Lanka, Malinda Warnapura, Jeewantha Kulatughe, Rohan Buultjens and Lanthra
Fernando. This year also sees a second visit from former international test
match umpire K.T. Francis.
It promises to be yet another glorious week of sporting fun in the sun at
this year’s 17th Chiang Mai Sixes. Several evening social events are
planned. Admission is free at the Gymkhana Club ground, although security
will be in place, and spectators are welcome to enjoy the all-day, non-stop
cricket and the bar. Shaded seating is provided. The Chiang Mai
International Cricket Sixes runs from Sunday April 4 to Saturday April 10.