It is sometimes claimed of the Chiang Mai Sixes
(six-a-side cricket tournament), that “everyone gets a chance to play at
the Sixes”. And, there certainly is a lot of cricketing opportunity going
on alongside the often high quality cricket excitement produced in the main
Sixes event which takes place April 2 – 8 at Chiengmai Gymkhana Club.
winners Sai Moon.
With its Ladies Challenge matches, the Spoon trophy
competition for social cricketers, an old crocks match for over 65’s, and
a wealth of junior cricket opportunities, the 19th Chiang Mai Sixes is most
aptly described as a ‘Festival of Cricket”.
For the seventh year at the Chiang Mai Sixes festival of
cricket, the Chiang Mai Sawasdee Cricket Cup for Grade 5 and Grade 6 Thai
junior school teams will be played for on an adjacent field to the main
Sixes event for three days from Wednesday (5th) to Friday (7th).
Sawasdee cricket is a soft ball, junior version of
cricket being used to develop the sport at Grades 5 and 6 level in local
schools by the Chiang Mai Schools Cricket Alliance (CMSCA).
were G5 Champs in 2005.
The initiative to introduce cricket to Thai school
children came first from the Chiang Mai Sixes tournament, and participants
in the Sixes have given generously to help fund the CMSCA’s year-round
coaching program. It is perhaps only unfortunate that the Chiang Mai Sixes
tournament itself coincides with Thai school holidays, otherwise there
almost certainly would be many more teams competing in the Sawasdee Cricket
Nevertheless, the 7th Sawasdee Cricket Cup this year will
be an opportunity to see around 10 to 12 of the junior school teams in the
CMSCA program in action. The Sawasdee Cup event comfortably mixes youngsters
from small village schools competing against the juniors at bigger city
schools. Last year’s cup winning schools - Baan Mae Phong school from Doi
Saket (Grade 6 winners) and Baan Sai Moon school from Hang Dong (Grade 5
winners) – will defend their titles against teams from Prince Royal’s
College, Prem International, Montfort and several other local village
Tillekeratne presents the 2005 Grade 5 trophy.
Many of the children who have learned basic cricketing
skills in the Sawasdee program over the past 7 years have gone on to play
the adult, hard ball version of the sport. Several have in fact now
represented Thailand in international under 13, under 15, under 17 and even
under 19 tournaments overseas. Some of these ‘graduates’ of the junior
program will be in action at this year’s Chiang Mai Sixes. Four are
included in the squad of the Sixes Spoon trophy defending champion Gymkhana
Cavaliers. Also, a selected “Chiang Mai Boyz” team is scheduled to play
an adult “Spoon Select” team on Thursday 6th (late afternoon).
shows his great bowling talent.
There is also a junior hardball cricket exhibition match
between two pick-up sides of youngsters on the morning of Sixes Finals Day,
Saturday April 8. It is hoped that both hardball matches, as well as the
Sawasdee Cup event, will amply demonstrate the cricketing progress made by
youngsters in the CMSCA’s ambitious program.
The 19th Chiang Mai Sixes and 7th Chiang Mai Sawasdee
Cricket Cup cricketing tournament and festival takes place at the grounds of
Chiengmai Gymkhana Club (off the old Chiang Mai – Lamphun Road) between
April 2 – 8th. Admission is free and spectators very welcome.