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San Miguesl Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes, March 29 to April 5, 2008.

The 21st annual Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes will run from March 29 to April 5, 2008 at the Chiangmai Gymkhana Club cricket grounds, and it will be the largest Chiang Mai Sixes ever, with more teams and more matches and more fun than ever before.

The Sixes also have a new name: this year San Miguel Beer (Thailand) has become the official tournament sponsor as part of their recognition of the growing popularity of cricket in Thailand. Not only is San Miguel the sponsor of the “San Miguel” Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes, they are also, through the Sixes administration and new products coming on to the Thai market, actively planning sponsorship of ground floor cricket development for ethnic Thai children. With cricket to be an official sport at the Asian Games in 2010, Thai cricketers will gratefully welcome and be encouraged by the gracious support of San Miguel.

For one week, 36 men’s teams and 4 women’s teams from some 13 countries around the world will meet to play cricket and enjoy the warm welcome that Chiang Mai provides to its visitors. The sounds of willow bats striking leather cricket balls, the cries of “Howzat!”, and the pleasure of a cold drink in the warm April sun will be enjoyed by everyone who attends.

For those who are not familiar with the lively and action-filled Sixes version of cricket, it is a fast, much-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 but 30 balls (five overs of six balls each). Run totals have exceeded 120 runs from five overs, which is prodigious batting! Of course, with the entire fielding side being only six players, there is a lot of open field to hit into, but that is all part of the excitement as the two teams struggle for dominance.

Each day’s cricket will commence at 8.30 am and up to 16 matches are scheduled each day before drawing of stumps around dusk. The fact that up to 16 games will be played per day gives you an idea of how fast and furious the action will be. While cricket is the main theme and topic, fun and socializing are also high on the agenda.

So far, team entrants are from thirteen different countries for this year’s tournament, including Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, England, Greece, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, UAE, and Vietnam. Individual players come from a number of additional countries, including India, Sri Lanka, USA, Belgium and Zimbabwe, just to name a few. A number of local Thai cricketers who learned to play in the junior cricket program in Chiang Mai will be playing, and one of the men’s teams is an all-Thai side from Chiang Mai’s development program. The week also includes a match an “Old Crocks” (veterans) game. A number of notable players with international experience are usually on hand and playing with some of the teams, so who knows what cricket star you might see?

In 2007-2008, a number of improvements were made at the Chiangmai Gymkhana Club cricket grounds. First, a new artificial top was laid on the wickets, thanks to the generosity of Superturf Cricket Systems of Nobel Park, Victoria, Australia, their MD Kieren Blake, and Sixes veteran team The Wombats. New stairs to the scorers’ cabin were constructed. For the enjoyment of all, the area around the Boundary Bar was paved, misting coolers have been installed, and new tables and chairs will be set up. The outfield has new topdressing and improved drainage, and huge new covers for all of the pitches were obtained with the help of the ACC ground development funding.

Once again this year, every day of the Chiang Mai sixes will be broadcast in both audio and video formats. New equipment is being procured to improve the presentation of the live video feed. Full details of the broadcasts and other details of the tournament can be found on the Sixes website at www.chiangmaisixes.com.

In order to encourage the development of cricket in Thailand, a simplified version of cricket was introduced to Chiangmai schools some years ago. It is called “Sawasdee Cricket” and the juniors will have their own tournament, competing for the Sixes Sawasdee Cricket Cup, from the 3rd - 4th April. They will be playing on a field adjacent to the main pitch and it is marvelous how these young Thais have taken to playing cricket! Some of the first players from Chiang Mai have now graduated to playing the hard ball game and are now represent Thailand in junior international matches. Perhaps we will see some of them play in the Asian Games!

Ladies are not left out. This year we have three new teams competing against perennial champions, Chiang Mai Chassies. Prem Tinsulanonda International school have put up a team picked from their teachers and friends. The excitement though this year will be focused on two Thai teams from the junior cricket development programs of Chiang Mai and Petchabun. The four teams will use the “Sawasdee” field in three days of round robin competition to decide the best two for the finals on the main field Saturday 5th April. So now is the time to dust off that old cricket cap and blazer and get along to the Chiangmai International Cricket Sixes. Lots of action-packed cricket, lots of fun and a major measure of friendly socializing!
The Chiangmai Gymkhana Club is situated on the old Chiangmai Lamphun Road just north of Nong Hoy Market (before the Holiday Inn Hotel) and is an easy “tuk-tuk” or “songthaew” ride from any part of Chiangmai. Admission to the beautiful, spacious grounds of the Gymkhana Club is free and there is ample, shaded seating for cricket spectators. As always, there will a wide variety of foods on sale, plus cold San Miguel beer and other beverages will be available from the “Boundary Bar” which is located right in the heart of the action. The Sixes is sure to be a fun-filled seven days and a big crowd puller for residents of Chiangmai and visitors to our northern city.To Get There: Gymkhana Club, Raj Uthit Rd, trisection on Lamphun Rd., Tel 053-241035.

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