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20th Chiang Mai Cricket Sixes begin this weekend

Happy go walkabout

Chiang Mai Pool League

Chiangmai SportRoundup

20th Chiang Mai Cricket Sixes begin this weekend

Setting the pitch

by Peter Cummins, Special Correspondent, Chiangmai Mail

In spite of the dire environmental conditions prevailing in the north and north-east of the Kingdom, the 20th Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes competition will, no doubt, be on schedule, from 31 March to the seventh of April. Tournament organizers expect that the pall of smoke covering the northern city will lift by then, and the record number of 33 teams coming from the world’s nations of cricket-lovers will have their usual week of exciting competition, social intercourse, camaraderie and the odd beer or six between the fast-moving games.

Admission is free, there are many shady areas for spectators, a well-stocked bar (of course!) and snack areas - so come along and experience the 20th Chiang Mai Cricket Sixes.

Played, as always, at the Chiengmai Gymkhana Club cricket ground, there will be teams from 13 cricketing nations, including some “wannabe” cricketers: Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, England, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and Wales.

With 14 matches scheduled for the first few days from 8.30 until “stumps” - usually in the failing light around 17.30 - it is going to be a real feast for cricket lovers. Not only will the action be relayed in both audio and video formats - this latter re-played at the cricketers’ bars in Chiang Mai - but also the aficionados will be able to catch up on the great event being played out in the Caribbean, “My Cricket World Cup”. And, throughout it all, will be the dulcet tones of perennial commentator, Ric (Viking) Davis who has only missed two years since the tournament was established in 1988.

Defending Cup champions from former years will also be back to contest the five major divisions, the Cup, the Shield, the Bowl, the Plate and the Spoon.

As usual, there will also be an “old crocks” challenge but, unfortunately, one of the ‘master old crocks’, Bangkok Post’s Old Crutch, will be absent this year and it was suggested that Peter Cummins, definitely the oldest “old Crock”, pad up for the game. But, as he has said every year, “I will be too busy hiding behind my camera to do anything strenuous like that.”

The ever-popular Women’s Challenge will again pit the Chiang Mai Chassies against the World Women Dixie Belles - two formidable teams who are careful to have lots of liquid refreshments prior to their game: “One must avoid dehydration,” one of the ladies pointed out last year, as she downed prodigious quantities of beverage.

Another highlight will be the Eighth Sawasdee Cricket Cup for Thai juniors, comprising a number of schools affiliated with the Chiangmai Schools Cricket Alliance. A number of these budding Thai cricketers, supported by the International Sixes teams, have developed into international stars.

Besides the regular supporters of this week-long cricket fest, ESC (European Security Concepts) and the re-opened Chiangmai Mail newspaper will be the major sponsors.

The driving force behind the International Cricket Sixes has been the Bromleys - Maurice and Renita - who have worked hard and diligently to ensure the success of the event. Maurice, as tournament director through all these years, has vowed that this will be his “Swan-song” but, somehow, after knowing him through our long association, I doubt it!

Actually, prior to last year’s devastating floods which inundated Chiang Mai and virtually washed away the surface of the grounds of the now 109-year-old Gymkhana Club, cricket there was facing a dismal future and, during the 19th tournament, the cricket area, at times, looked like the Gobi Desert.

But, since then, major improvements have included a set of turf wickets, new drainage and an up-to-date highly visible electronic scoreboard, guaranteeing the beautiful ground many more years of great cricket. Ironically enough, now that the ground is in great shape, we have to worry about the air above. Let’s hope that the burning off, causing much contaminated air, will be a thing of the past, come the first of April.

Entry to the event is free and there are many shady areas for spectators, a well-stocked bar (of course!) and snack areas.

Programmes will be available on arrival and, in the meantime, if any further information is required, go to the Sixes web-site: www. chiangmaisixes.com

To finish with an immortal cricket phrase: “HOWZAT!”


Happy go walkabout

Sandy Lie

Happy Bar Std’s completed four days of tournament golf last week, which included a trip to Chiang Rai province for their Chiang Rai Cup stroke play competition. The first of this two day event was played over the Santibury Golf course on Tuesday, where nine players teed off in near perfect conditions.

Chiang Rai Cup and Eclectic Champion - Noel O’Dwyer.

At close of play Kieran Savage was leader in the clubhouse with a net 71 - four strokes ahead of Peter Efremgan and Noel O’Dwyer - while favourites Don Peterson and David Grimble struggled to get to grips with their game.

But as Kieran’s game faded towards a disappointing net 84 on day 2 at Waterford Valley, and Peter Efremgan faced a similar fate, Noel O’Dwyer played from strength to strength to card a second round net score of 68, and become the first winner of the trophy in two consecutive months.

In Happy Bar Std’s Monday stroke play tourney at Mae Jo, Kari Sirelius swept the field to one side and burnt up the course with a gross one under par 71, which included 3 birdies and an eagle on the par 5, 13th, where he holed out from 140 yards.

Monday also saw the conclusion of the eclectic placings, and it was that man again - Noel O’Dwyer - winner ahead of Don Peterson and Jim Cannon, who missed the last 5 rounds through illness.

However, what comes round comes round and obviously intoxicated by his recent success, Noel O’Dwyer shot a gross 121 on Friday at Mae Jo to finish miles behind the first three competitors - Mike Neun, Ian Fyles and Dennis Woerner.

Les Harvey is known to have trouble getting up early in the morning, but he must have been glad to make Chiang Mai Golfers’ 8.30 a.m. start at the Lanna course because he went on to take the stroke play tournament from 14 other competitors with a notable net 69. The Stableford was won by the ever steady Jeff Birrell with 37 points, one better than Jim Catterson, who was runner up yet again.

On a close to empty Chiang Mai/Lamphun Golf course, Jack Cooper took the Chiang Mai Golfers skins event with a net 75 and six skins, with Nigel Jones and Garry walker coming joint second.

Taking a triple bogey on the first hole can be a demoralizing experience for the best of us, but in last week’s Royal League Stableford competition, Hong Kim shrugged off his bad start to go on and score 40 points in his best ever round at The Highlands. A round of 94 strokes was enough to see him finish first on the day, and with this steady performance that included 4 pars, Hong shouldn’t be a high handicapper for too long.

Steve Belair also shot a best ever round. His 78 at Royal Chiang Mai last Wednesday resulted in a handicap reduction, and after carding one over par on the first four holes last Thursday, the man lived up to his new status by firing a solid 37 points to secure second spot.

Despite a 7 on the 5th, Grahame Curry made the turn in 42 shots, and with a worthy 40 on the inward half, he accrued 36 points to see him home in third.

It should also be mentioned that Royal League Scratch Champion, Steve Polaski knocked the ball 361 yards down the 15th fairway. What do you put in your driver Steve - Semtex?

For more information contact www.theroyalleague.com, Noel O’Dwyer on 089 256 5705 for Happy Bar Std’s and 081 032 8803 for Garry Walker of Chiang Mai Golfers.


Chiang Mai Pool League: Villa bitten by Bar’s backlash

Pat Black

In a night of few surprises, La Villa’s recent winning run was ended abruptly at the hands of a Blue Sky Bar backlash. After a shock defeat at Heaven’s Beach seven days earlier, The Bar maintained their 100% home record and turned the screw on The Pizza Boys by zooming into an unassailable 5-1 lead by the break.

Tony of December Bar.

With the final score 7-2, The Bar managed to keep their one point lead over Half Moon Pub at the top of the Chiang Mai Pool League, but remember - the latter has a far superior frames won advantage.

High flying Moon did little to harm their cause, with a convincing away win against this season’s whipping boys - Em & Em. The score line could have been better for the reigning champs, however, after completing the singles frames 5-1 ahead, but last season’s runners up fought back to respectability by taking two of the three doubles.

It was a similar story at third placed Inter Bar. Despite Blue Sky Garden starting off brightly by winning the first frame, the League’s newcomers hit back with a vengeance to run out 7-2 victors.

The top three sides in the League stretched their lead over next in line Enjoy Place, who failed to hold up The Wall in the latter’s recent return to form. Enjoy took the early initiative by leading 1-0 and 2-1 before Brickies - Oz, Lom, Joe, Noume/Nok and Joe/Loui – killed off their oppo by taking five consecutive frames.

Like The Wall, December Bar kept themselves in with an outside chance of honours this season, with a well earned triumph at Happy Bar. December might have squandered a 2-0 lead to end the first half all square, but they came home strongly with a clean sweep of the doubles.

In other matches, Heaven’s Beach shot two places up the League ladder after narrowly beating lowly Chiangers & Bangers, 5-4 away from home, and Maggie’s place stayed in sight of mid table placings with a comfortable home win against second from bottom, The Local.

And Number 1 Pub inflicted heavy damage with an 8-1 victory over Rock Hard Bistro, who could find themselves rock bottom if they’re not careful.

In next week’s fixtures December Bar have an intriguing match at home to Inter Bar, while Half Moon Pub and Blue Sky Bar travel to tricky encounters at The Wall and Number 1 Pub, respectively. And Enjoy Place will be looking to get back on track in their home match with Happy Bar.