Chiangmai’s longest running International sporting event takes place again. The 22nd annual Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes will run from March 28 to April 4, 2008 at the Chiengmai 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.
In a message from Abhisit Vejjajiva Prime Minister of Thailand, His Excellency welcomes the visitors to Thailand and said, “I am especially pleased to hear about the efforts you are making, along with the Asian Cricket Council, to develop children’s cricket in Thailand, and I believe that several thousand Thai school children have already discovered the joys of playing the game. This is particularly relevant considering that cricket will be an official sport with the 16* Asian Games being held in Guangzhou China in November of next year.”
Again this year, San Miguel Beer (Thailand) is 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 welcome and be encouraged by the gracious support of San Miguel.
For one week, 33 men’s teams and 4 women’s teams from some 12 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 14 matches are scheduled each day before drawing of stumps around dusk. The fact that up to 14 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, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, UAE, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. Individual players come from a number of additional countries, including India, Sri Lanka, USA, and Belgium, 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 inter- national experience are usually on hand and playing with some of the teams, so who knows what cricket star you might see?
Each day’s activities of the Chiang Mai Sixes will be broadcast in both audio and video for- mats. This year the video broadcast will be television reso- lution (640 x 480) in Flash Video format, so all the action can be seen around the world. 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. In the 10th “Sawasdee Junior Cricket Tournament” competing for the Sixes Sawasdee Cricket Cup, from the 2nd " 3rd April juniors will be playing on a field adjacent to the main pitch. 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 now represent Thailand in junior international matches. Perhaps we will see some of them play in the Asian Games!
Women are not left out. This year we will have four teams competing for the tournament crown. Returning champions Thai Angels will be the favorites, but the Chiangmai Chassis, the Panthers from Chiang Mai, and the Southerners from Petchabun will all try their best to unseat the Angels. 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.
The Chiengmai 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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