At the beginning of July the Thailand Under 13 cricket
side embarked on the annual Under 13 Tuanku Jaafar tournament between
Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand. They were again to have the
coaching services of David Buck and the team manager was his wife Linda. The
tournament this year was held in July and not in December to accommodate the
host nation Malaysia. Due to these changes, the Thailand side was severely
weakened, and a number of young players were introduced into the squad,
namely Suphararn Sonbun from Ban Mai Dueng School out in Doi Saket, and
another Chiang Mai boy, Sean Penney from Prem School who joined his brother
Kurt in the squad.
Thailand, Man of the Match Arnab (Beefy), David Buck, and captain of the
Thai side, Vihar.
In fact there were only three boys from the original
squad that played in that memorable victory against the highly fancied
Singapore side back in December.
This year’s format had been changed to a 40 over game
each side, which in contrast to the usual 30 overs was a huge step up for
these youngsters, and with no rest day, it proved to be a tough task for the
The first game of the tournament brought Thailand and
Singapore together and the thought that the Thais would gain a repeat
victory against them, was disbursed with a five wicket victory for the
Singapore side. They had new coaching staff and had been preparing for a
week together in Malaysia, to make sure there was not a repeat performance.
The second day of the tournament brought about the
biggest upset – Thailand did it again – they beat the highly fancied
Hong Kong side by a convincing six wickets. This was undoubtedly one of the
best team performances by a Thai side.
Having won the toss and put Hong Kong into bat, Thailand
put in a very professional performance both with the bowling and fielding.
Vihar taking 3-13, Kurt Penney 3-33 and Ishan 2-14, bowling the Hong Kong
side out for 114. The side was exceptional in the field, notably Kurt
Penney, Isham and debutant Sean Penney. In response, and working to a plan,
the Thailand batting, which revolved around Arnabs 47 runs, achieved their
target in the 35th over with Kurt Penney striking the winning run.
It was unfortunate that only the Manager, Coach and two
parents were there to see the boys celebrations at the winning hit, this was
achieved by a team who might not have had the technical ability, but the
togetherness and teamwork and bravery to believe in themselves really showed
on the day.
On the third day Thailand were defeated by the host team,
but this was not surprising as the boys did not have a rest day, and the
host nation chose to have the presentation dinner on the second night,
leaving most of the boys feeling very weary after their efforts the previous
Now on the fourth day it was a struggle to put a full fit
side on the pitch for the plate game against Hong Kong. At one stage Hong
Kong were 35 for five, but again the heat and various injuries allowed Hong
Kong to recover to post a score of 108 for 7 wickets. Vihar again excelled
with the ball, taking 3-13, assisted by Jai with 2-12. In response the early
loss of Arnab and the many changes in the batting order due to injuries
resulted in Thailand’s demise.
When reading the above report, it should be remembered that Hong Kong,
Singapore, and Malaysia are all encouraged and assisted by their relevant
governments. They also receive huge sponsorships from various companies.
This allows them to have pre-tour practice sessions, involving coaches,
physios, analysts, and special training equipment. On returning from
Malaysia, the coach remarked that this squad should feel very proud of their
achievements, and hold their heads high knowing they played to the best of
their ability with their limited resources.