The Farangutans travelled to Bangkok in April for a two day tournament along with teams from SE Asia and other parts of the world. Even though the boys from Chiang Mai are a somewhat ‘local’ bunch, they put on a great performance, almost winning the tournament under the gaze of the Thai national football team coach and former England player, Peter Reid.
The boys were drawn into a fairly easy first stage group – although it did contain the Cup (overall) and Plate winners. Their first match against Cambodia was a somewhat non tiring affair, the Chiang Mai team winning3-1. The next game against Taiwan Mongrels was a whitewash, with the Farangutans putting seven past the startled Taiwanese expats – Arek and young debutante James scoring most of the goals. The next game was slightly more physical, as the Spartans from Hong Kong exhibited their usual ‘rugby style’ football attempting to break the limbs of the Farangs, though their lack of skill earned them a 2-0 defeat in the end. The last game of the day was against Vietnam Reunited, a toughly contested game that ended 0-0. Vietnam would end up as losing finalists and only have two goals scored against them the entire tournament. As the day closed it looked like Chiang Mai would get into the tough Cup competition and stand a chance at winning the tournament. They had to win the final group game early in the morning the next day against the London Panthers . . . which they easily did, taking the tired Panthers 2-0. The group stages finished, the Farangutans had more points and more goals than any of the 18 teams from the other two groups.
In the quarter finals they came unstuck. In a lightening fast match the Farangutans played the eventual winners of the tournament, Shanghai Krauts, and what a tough game it was. With two stunning goals from seventeen year old James the Farangs went 2-1 up. With only two minutes left on the clock the German side scored a long range free kick through about seven Farang duckers and divers and then they scored again in the last kick of the game courtesy of some horrible defending, leaving the Farangutans aghast as they saw their best chance at winning the tournament dissolve.
Yet another local team made good in the 22nd International Cricket Sixes this year. In their first game of the tournament, the UN Irish Pub Gang Green caused a massive upset by beating last year’s winners, the Surrey Vagrants by forty runs. They then went on to defeat the Bashundhara Cricketeers (who subsequently went on to win in the finals). With strong players such as Maki and Warni hitting big sixes, the UN cruised their way to the semi finals only to be beaten by the Gloucestershire Gypsies, cup winners two years ago. The Thai Angels – with girls on the team competing for Thailand – also beat both opposition teams resoundingly for the second year running. Other local teams didn’t fare so well, but still had a marvellous time such as the feisty Tuskers Bar affiliated Stuffed Beavers, the Gymkhana Cavaliers and the Floggers and Robbers. The junior cricket boys Thai Thevada continue to improve and impress. Yet another fantastic tournament with great cricket and solid local support.