Story and Photos by Alan Parkhouse
The first team of Thai juniors to
come through the ranks, playing as Thai Thevada, did well against the
Gipsies on the opening day.
Former Australian representative
Trevor Chappell, bowling, is one of the big stars at this year’s Chiang Mai
International Cricket Sixes. His team the Moonshine Warathais started with a
win in their first match.
The Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes, one of the
biggest amateur tournaments in the world, was off to a flying start on
Sunday morning at the historic Chiengmai Gymkhana Club grounds in the heart
of Thailand’s northern capital.
A record number of teams entered this year with 33 club
sides from around the world flying into Chiang Mai for a week of exciting
six-a-side cricket in a party atmosphere.
With interest in the sport at an all-time high thanks to
the ongoing World Cup in the West Indies and the Chiang Mai Sixes
celebrating its 20th year, this year’s tournament shaped up as the best on
Teams from Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, China,
England, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Arab
Emirates, Vietnam and Wales have entered, as well as six teams from
Each year some of the big names in the cricket world play
in Chiang Mai, and this year former Australia representative Trevor Chappell
is returning, along with Sri Lankan stars Jeewan Mendis, Rangana Herath,
Avishka Gunawardena, Mahesh Perera, Riaz Farook and Lanthra Fernando.
Chappell, a regular every year in Chiang Mai, plays for
Australian team the Moonshine Warathais, and they started with a win in
their first game on Sunday.
Six-a-side cricket, which was pioneered in Thailand, is a
very fast and shortened form of the one-day game, and the short format
produces an intensity of play that even first time viewers can enjoy.
Each team fields six players and the batsmen face a total
of 30 balls, five overs of six balls each. In six-a-side cricket each ball
counts and the action is fast and furious.
The Chiang Mai venue is a classy one. Set close to the
middle of town, the Chiengmai Gymkhana Club was started 109 years ago by
British teak traders and apart from a first-class cricket oval and practice
nets, the grounds also boast a golf course.
The Gymkhana Club ground is in top shape this year with a
number of improvements taking place since last year’s tournament. A set of
turf wickets has been installed along with new drainage on the ground as
well as a new scoreboard that can be seen all around the oval.
Each day’s play kicks off at 8.30am and up to 14 matches
are scheduled daily before stumps at about 5.30pm. The fact that up to 14
games are played each day is a good indication of how fast and furious the
But while cricket is the main theme and topic of the
week, fun and socialising are also high on the agenda at the Chiang Mai
Sixes. Many of these amateur cricketers return every year and in between
cricket matches they enjoy sightseeing and meeting the locals in Thailand’s
Other activities such as parties and a pub crawl around
the old city through the week ensure the teams get to know each other as
well as get a good look at one of Thailand’s oldest cities, plus its
The biggest winners at the end of the week, however, are
the local school children, with all proceeds from the tournament going
towards developing cricket in local schools.
Many Thais are surprised to learn that hundreds of local
children are involved in regular cricket competitions in the area and as
well as the Chiengmai Gymkhana Club grounds, Privy Council chief Prem
Tinsulanonda has also had a proper cricket ground built in Chiang Mai.
Over the years many of the visiting teams have donated
their equipment to the local school teams and top players like Trevor
Chappell always spend time coaching the juniors in the nets during the week.
As in previous years, a junior competition is held on a
pitch next to the main field and for the first time a team of young players
who have graduated through the local school system will take part in the
Named Thai Thevada, the team of local boys had a rough
introduction to senior cricket when they played the Gloucestershire Gipsies
in their opening match, an experienced side from the UK.
The local boys did well, but eventually fell to the
experienced bowling of the visiting team.
Admission to the beautiful, spacious grounds of the
Chiengmai Gymkhana Club is free and there is plenty of shaded seating for
spectators plus a wide variety of foods on sale. Cold beer and other
beverages are available from the Boundary Bar, which is right in the heart
of the action.
For more information, see www.chiangmaisixes.com.
Chef takes his position in the
The media was well represented at
this year’s Chiang Mai Sixes.
Australian team Yarrambat took on
the United Arab Emirates side Darjeeling on the first day.