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A year to savour for Lamphun girls cricket

The Lamphun girls are put through their paces to prepare for the coming season.

By Richard Lockwood
The start of the new cricket season is almost here and the first major event to be held will be the Northern Qualifier for the National Youth Championships. This will see boys and girls teams from Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Uttaradit and Petchabun compete for places in the main tournament next year.
Lamphun girls were the success story of last season as this time last year most of the team had not played any competitive cricket, yet they won their first match and went on from strength to strength to finish the 2012/13 season already ranked as the second best team in Thailand behind only local rivals Chiang Mai who have been playing for much.
Energetic Lamphun coach Chris Dodd has been hard at work visiting schools and holding net sessions at Muang Gwak School most nights of the week as he looks for new players as well as developing the skills of the mainstays of the team.
13-year-old Nok is already good enough to have played in the Chiang Mai Senior League and made a great impression against the Thailand women’s side in practice matches held at Gymkhana Club in Chiang Mai.
With the weather still uncertain and schools about to break up for the holidays, there was no time to lose for last minute preparation as Lamphun are also hoping to enter a boys’ team in the competition this year.
The team will be based around Bunchuaai, Cher and Chanchai who have been playing regularly for the last few seasons, with Bunchuaai already having represented Thailand at under-16 and under-19 levels while young Cher bowled outstandingly well on Gymkhana Club’s recent tour to Pattaya.

The Lamphun girls work hard to improve in a bid to overcome rivals Chiang Mai.

These three are already being trained as junior coaches and they have been putting their future team-mates through their paces as Muang Gwak School was filled with young cricketers willing to learn the basics of the game so they could play for their province.
Chris Dodd’s work in Lamphun is funded through the Chiang Mai Schools Cricket Alliance with a big contribution being made each year by the Chiang Mai Sixes.
The rewards of this support for youth cricket was seen not only in the multitude of young Thai children playing on the school field but in the practice facilities themselves which are being used almost every day of the week.
Chris Dodd is an exceptional coach and a hard task master and his efforts, and those of his young assistants, deserve to be rewarded with success on the field. All young children in Chiang Mai and Lamphun will have plenty of opportunities to play cricket in the coming season.
For further information about junior cricket in Lamphun follow Lamphun Junior Cricket on facebook.

Raonic triumphs over Berdych to win Bangkok title

Milos Raonic (left) hoists the champion’s trophy after defeating Tomas Berdych (right) in the final of the Thailand Open 2013 in Bangkok, Sunday, Sept. 29.

Number three seed Milos Raonic of Canada denied top seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic his first title of the year, with a 7-6(4), 6-4 victory in front of a packed Impact Arena stadium in last Sunday’s singles final of the Thailand Open 2013 in Bangkok.
The singles final was graced by Her Royal Highness Princess Ubonrat, who bestowed the winner’s trophy to the Canadian as the match was concluded.
Both players held serve strongly through the first set with the exception being the twelfth game which saw Raonic save the only break point he faced in the match to force a tiebreaker.
But it was the Canadian who gained the only mini-break on the first point of the breaker with a down-the-line return winner off the forehand side. He maintained the advantage to win the tie-break 7-4.
The second set saw Raonic quickly grab the only break of the match, in Berdych’s first service game. The world #11 was then in cruise control as he sealed his first Bangkok title, the fifth of his career.
The Canadian fired 18 aces, made 95 percent of points on first serve, and saved the only break point he faced.
“I think I struggled a lot more than him (Berdych) in the beginning. He found the rhythm better. In that tie-breaker, it just really came down to that one return and he was playing pretty solid after that. That return sort of gave me a little bit of a boost. It sort of gave me an insight on what I needed to do. I started to be more aggressive and tried to put the return in and to take control,” said the 2013 Thailand Open champion at the post-match press conference.
“It’s special to win here because I came back here second time and I enjoyed it. I’m happy with how I went the whole week,” he added.
“I’ve done a lot of great things since Montreal. I was not playing my best tennis there but I sort of worked it out and got the insight on what I needed to do. And I know that was within myself.”
While Berdych has yet to end his title drought this year, having reached the final in Bangkok gave him an important boost in securing one of the remaining five spots for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.
“He was exceptional. He was serving really well and didn’t give me many chances. I was able to keep with that. I served quite well. Basically, the match was about two points. Both of them Milos handled better and so he deserved to win,” said the runner-up.
In the Doubles final, #3 seeds Britain’s Jamie Murray and Australia’s John Peers captured their third title of the year, defeating fourth seeded pairing of Tomasz Bednarek of Poland and Johan Brunstrom of Sweden 6-3, 3-6, 10-6.

Raonic powers a forehand past Berdych in the final.

PM opens Government House to welcome women’s volleyball champions

Team captain Wilavan Apinyapong preparing to serve in a match. (Photo courtesy of Yakov Fedorov – Wikimedia commons)

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday, September 26, 2013 opened Government House to welcome the Thai women’s volleyball team, winners of the 17th Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship.
Led by captain Wilavan”Gift” Apinyapong, the team met the premier after winning the Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship.
Ms Yingluck congratulated the team and staff coaches for their success.
She thanked them for bringing happiness to the Thai people and asked them to maintain their high standards and bring home more good reputation and pride.
Ms Yingluck, representing the government, presented the team a one million baht reward from the Government Lottery Office while PTT Plc, Thailand’s oil and gas conglomerate, also gave them one million baht.
The Thai women’s volleyball team defeated Japan in three straight sets in front of a home crowd in Nakhon Ratchasima last Saturday, winning the championship for the second time. The first occasion was in 2009.
At the final, the Thais dominated the game, although Thailand was ranked 16th in the world, while Japan ranked third and was a London Olympic bronze medalist.
The Thais earlier won only one Asian title—in 2009—when they defeated China in the final. (MCOT online news)

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

A year to savour for Lamphun girls cricket

Raonic triumphs over Berdych to win Bangkok title

PM opens Government House to welcome women’s volleyball champions