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16 Years Not Out!
Chiangmai's Cricket Sixes

 Once again the gracious, 105 year old grounds of the Chiangmai Gymkhana Club will resound to the "thwaak" of leather on willow during the annual Chiangmai International Cricket Festival. The series will run from Monday, 31 March until Saturday, 5 April and, judging from the entries and sponsorship, is as popular as ever. The Chiangmai Sixes must certainly be the world's best known, six a side cricket festival!

The Chiangmai Gymkhana Club is situated on the old Chiangmai Lamphun Road just north of Nong Hoy Market (before the Westin Hotel) and is an easy tuk-tuk or songtaew 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 be no shortage of food on sale plus cold Heineken beer, and other beverages, will be available from the "Sixes Bar". The event is surely to be a fun-filled six days and a big crowd puller for residents of Chiangmai and visitors to our northern city.

 For those who are not familiar with the lively, action filled Sixes game, it is a fast, much-shortened form of the one day game. Each day's cricket will commence at 8.30 am. and up to 14 matches are scheduled each day before drawing of stumps around 5.30 pm. 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 twelve different countries for this year's series and they include the return of four teams which provided fierce, finals action in last year's games. Welcome back the Lords Taverners (West Australia), the Warbler Bunny Club (Bahrain), the Kiteboys (England) and the Gloucestershire Gipsies (England). Likewise a warm welcome back to old favorites Darjeeling, the Drifters and the Wombats. Newcomers warmly welcomed to this year's tournament are Lamma CC (Hong Kong), Javea Wanderers (Spain) and a team from Worcester Police (England).

Of course, there will be no shortage of local talent in the teams from Chiangmai Tobacco Industry, CMW Warriors, the Irish Pub and the Gymkhana Cavaliers.

 International cricket celebrities expected to play on various teams spin bowler Tom Hogan from Australia, test batsmen H.D. Ackerman, Neil Johnson, Kenny Jackson, Hugh Page and test bowler Meyrick Pringle, all from South Africa. Sri Lanka will be well represented by an eight-strong group including test-match umpire K.T. Francis with players Amal Silva, Lanthra Fernando, Roshan Mahanama, Ruchira Palliyaraguru, Malintha Warnapura, Rumesh Rathnayake and S. Jayantha. So there will be no shortage of "star" players to lead the excitement.

 In order to encourage the game, a simplified version of cricket was introduced to Chiangmai schools some years ago. It is called "Sawadee Cricket" and the juniors will have their own tournament, competing for the Sixes Sawadee Cricket Cup, from the 1st - 5th April. They will be playing on a field adjacent to the adult pitch and it is marvellous how these young Thais enjoy Cricket Lovely Cricket! The Asian Cricket Council had officially recognized the teaching program and it will soon be introduced to schools in Bangkok.

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!

To Get There: Gymkhana Club, Raj Uthit Rd, trisection on Lamphun Rd., Tel 053-241 035 .

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