This year’s Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes
tournament kicked off in usual party style last Saturday evening at the
Pornping Tower Hotel. A free flow of drinks, eats and good friendship were
provided at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) sponsored ‘Welcome
With most of the 300 participating cricketers, plus many
sponsors and friends in attendance, TAT’s Region 1 (Chiang Mai) Director,
Junnapong Saranak, proclaimed the 18th Sixes “well and truly open”.
Among those attending the party and looking forward to a week meeting old
friends and new, was honoured guest Myles de Vries, the acknowledged
‘inventor’ of international Six-a-Side cricket tournaments, and one of
those responsible for starting the Chiang Mai Sixes back in 1988. Confined
to a wheelchair these days and resident in Hua Hin, it has been many years
since Myles was last able to get up to Chiang Mai for the Sixes.
With opening formalities already completed, cricket was
the total business of the first day on Sunday and each of the six
round-robin groups in Round 1 of the tournament saw action. This is the
first year that the Sixes had been expanded to a full day’s play on
Sunday. Pre-event publicity, the weekend start and the pleasant weather
appeared to have combined to bring out a record opening day crowd at the
Gymkhana Club ground. They were joined for the first time by a worldwide
audience now able to tune in to Sixes’ match commentaries broadcast
“live” via the event website (www.chiangmaisixes.com). The early matches
saw some old favourites staking claims for this year’s trophy honours.
press booth; for the first time in the games history, commentaries and
results are uploaded live, and available in real time on the internet.
In the main competition, Round 1 decides which teams go
forward to compete for the Cup, Shield, Bowl or Plate. The Perth Postals,
celebrating their 10th anniversary trip to Chiang Mai Sixes, notched up
three wins out of three in the first two days. Their match against the local
Mujibas (which the Postals won) provided the first “Big 10” hit of the
tournament when Mujibas’ David Hird hit the Champion sign to score a
boundary ten runs and earn a donation towards junior cricket development
from the sign sponsors. Also from Australia and like the Postals, a former
Cup winner, the Lords Taverners also began their campaign in winning style.
afternoon heat can not keep the Cricketers away from the games.
Countering the Aussie threat on behalf of English cricket
are the defending ‘Sixes’ Cup champion YesNoWaitSorries who began
strongly, scoring 70 for the loss of 1 wicket, and then blowing away the
local Irish Pub Gang Green (newly promoted from the Spoon Division this
year), who were all out for just 32. The Sorries’ stable mates, and also
former champs, Gloucestershire Gypsies were almost equally convincing
winners in their first matches.
In the social cricketer’s Spoon competition, first up
were the local Gymkhana Cavaliers Vs last year’s losing finalists Halylt
of England. Halylt posted a handy 63 for 0 score. Local eyes were on the
Cavs’ team which this year for the first time includes several young Thai
graduates of the local Sawasdee Cricket program for junior schools. The
Halylt score looked to be too much for the slow starting Cavs, but the
Gymkhana openers edged ever closer to a winning score thanks to sound
striking of the ball by Sawasdee graduate ‘Orf” and the Cavs captain
Eric Little. With 3 runs needed off the last ball ‘Orf’ managed a 2 and
the match ended as a tie with Gymkhana also on 63 for 0.
In other early Spoon action, Halylt continued to look
like strong trophy contenders, while the Chiang Mai Sixes 18 year veteran
Wombats also appeared up to the challenge, racking up the highest score of
the first day (89 for 0).
As we went to press Round 1 matches were scheduled to continue through
until Wednesday, with Quarter Finals and Semi Finals on Thursday and Friday
and Finals on Saturday April 2nd . Play on Saturday is scheduled to start at
9 a.m. and a big finals day crowd is expected to watch (and listen) to an
exciting day’s play that includes an exhibition junior hardball cricket
game and a Ladies Challenge match in the morning, before the finals take
place for all five of this year’s Sixes’ trophies in the afternoon.