30 Years on and Still Going Strong: Chiang Mai Sixes 1988 to 2018
The Chiang Mai Sixes was first played in 1988 and over the next 30 years, the tournament has become one of the largest amateur cricket competitions in the world, as well as one of the most enjoyable events on Chiang Mai’s social calendar.
2018 sees the Chiang Mai Sixes being held for the 31st time and the tournament is showing that like a vintage wine it certainly does improve with age. The Sixes, held at the historic Chieng Mai Gymkhana Club, itself now 120 years old, runs for seven days from 1st to 7th April.
There will a total of 109 matches with 16 five-over matches played on the first six days with semi-finals and the finals being held on Saturday 7th April. This makes it one of the largest editions of the Sixes ever held with 36 men’s teams and four women’s teams.
There will be 20 teams in the Gentlemen’s Section and 16 teams in the Players’ Section so matches should be competitive throughout. All 36 men’s teams will play three group matches in the first round and then will be divided into six different competitions for the second round.
The Cup will see the six best teams in the competition compete for the main prize and spectators should see some top-class cricket played with a number of high class teams involved. It is exciting that two teams are coming from Bangladesh this year and they will be challenged by local teams CMCC and UN Irish as well as several strong teams from Australia such as St Francis de Sales, Clifton Hill and a young team from Melbourne called Get the Runs may well live up to their name.
The Bromley Shield is the second level of competition and this often sees a surprise winner as we had last year when Margate CC from Tasmania took the honours ahead of the veteran Kiwi side Divine Felons. The Bowl allows for a mix of the best sides from the Gentlemen’s Section against the worst performing teams from the Players’ Section so even if teams start slowly they can still win some silverware.
The exciting news for 2018 is that we have a new sixth competition called the Vase, with an attractive new trophy up for grabs which will be competed for by some of the better teams in the Gentlemen’s Section, while the more social sides will be able to play for the Joe Carpenter Plate and last and probably least the Spoon.
With four ladies teams also competing in their own competition, there will be a very busy week ahead as cricketers of all abilities and from all over the world take the field and enjoy the social events provided for them. All players in teams that win a competition will be awarded with a prize and this year it is a wonderful memento in the style of the competition’s logo produced by Elephant Parade.
Best of all, we will see a large number of young Thai cricketers involved in the competition, probably more than ever this year, as the Thai Thevada team will give a chance to the younger Thai boys, while the best players, all close to national selection, will have the opportunity to play for Lanna CC and UN Irish in the Players Section. The Thai girls are not forgotten as Thai Angels are defending champions of the Ladies Cup but will face stiff competition from a new Australian team called Central Spirit.
One of the best young players in the country, Chanchai Pengkumta, has been playing in the Sixes for almost a decade and it has helped him show off his developing talent with bat and ball. He made his debut for Thailand last year and was part of the team which won a bronze medal in the South East Asian Games in Malaysia. He has just played for Thailand in a four-team tournament in Bangkok and was man of the match in their first match. He has also been representing Lamphun in the Chiang Mai Senior League and has been in great form in every match he has played.
The Chiang Mai Sixes has been supporting junior cricket in Northern Thailand since the year 2000 when the first Sawasdee Cup tournament was held for promising young school children and the event also supports coaching in local schools through the Chiang Mai Schools Cricket Alliance. Sahagon Song School from Mae On were the winners of the 2018 Sawasdee Cup as no fewer than four pitches were used at the David Buck Oval to hold a festival of junior cricket.
Millions of Baht have been raised for junior cricket by teams and spectators at the Chiang Mai Sixes over the years thanks to the efforts of Duck Lady Jenny Morgan and some of the most talented young cricketers has also had their education and living expenses paid for through the Hill Tribe Fund.
The 2018 Chiang Mai Sixes has also attracted a number of new sponsors who are willing to support an event which attracts so many teams from around the world and does so much fund raising for junior cricketers, often from underprivileged backgrounds.
New sponsors include Lanna Rehab, a company which has already done much to support young Thai cricketers as they paid the expenses for number of junior players. The kids were able to enjoy the trip of a lifetime as they took part in the Koh Chang Beach Cricket Tournament and Lanna Rehab kindly provided all the shirts for Lanna CC’s two teams and junior players won two of the individual awards.
Lanna Rehab will be supporting the Thai Thevada while Flight of the Gibbon, one of the most exciting tourist attractions in Chiang Mai, are proud to be associated with the Thai Angels in the ladies competition. Chiang Mai Custom Tailors are back for a second year and can provide all teams with blazers so they look the part when they arrive at the ground.