Many observers believed that 2019 would be the year when the most successful side in the Chiang Mai Sixes would finally meet their match. NCL Dynamites had won six matches in a row to reach the Cup final as they comfortably disposed of UN Irish Pub in the semi-finals, but Gloucestershire Gipsies had matched the defending champions win for win as they also had an unbeaten record after easily beating NCL Masters in the semi-finals.
Gloucestershire Gipsies were in fact regarded at potentially the stronger side at least on paper, but it was a different story when the two teams met in a high-class Cup final. Faysal Ahmed bowled Henry Cooper, the leading run-scorer in New Zealand first-class cricket last season, with the third ball of the innings and Toufiqul Haque dismissed Ben Hyde in the next over as Gipsies slipped to 16 for 2. Nick Kelly and Tom Smith had launched an array of shots earlier in the competition, but although they rebuilt the innings they found the Dymamites bowling and field tough to combat.
A total of 52 for 2 rarely proves enough to win the Cup final but Gipsies gave their all in the field even after Syed Mokammel had blasted 27 from 10 balls. Ben Hyde claimed his wicket and only conceded six runs in the third over but Toufiqul Haque so effective with the ball throughout the week hit two sixes to take his side to victory with seven balls to spare. NCL Dynamites had done it again and Toufiqul was named player of the tournament for taking six wickets as well as scoring 102 runs without being dismissed.
There were five other finals as well as eight semi-finals on an action-packed finals day which saw Central Spirit defend their Ladies Cup after a spirited performance from Thai Angels was brought to an end by Rose Moore who took three wickets without conceding a run.
Ios Malakas were popular winners of the Spoon as they celebrated the memory of Terry Skillett as they beat NT Bushrangers with eight balls to spare. Sol Chatterjee hit 21 from 10 balls helping to raise 6000 Baht for junior cricket as Sons of Pitches and Malakas hit donated 1000 Baht for each of his three boundaries.
Gymkhana Cavaliers used to be regular contenders in the Spoon but they have raised their game thanks to the addition of several talented youngsters, so the veteran team members Eric and Chris were able to celebrate their 20th competition by winning the Bowl as they beat Awali by two runs. Julian Fagen and Angus Leslie both hit 30s in a total of 70 for 2 but despite a rare failure from Ishti Awali got close to their target as Waqas hit 31.
Thai Thevada had come into fine form later in the week to reach the final of the Shield as Chanchai hit thirties in wins against Darjeeliing and Clifton Hill, but even though he made it three in a row against Yorkshire Puddings, it was not enough to chase down their total of 74 for 1 as the bowlers cleverly took the pace off the ball. The Puddings finished as worthy winners of the Shield as Thai Thevada finished 14 runs short.
Following the excitement of the Cup final, Red Lion Wombats faced Tokyo Dingbats in the final of the Plate to bring the 32nd Chiang Mai Sixes to a close.The Wombats have played in all 32 tournaments but their total of 58 for 2 was easily overtaken by the Dingbats inside three overs as their opener Peter Richardson hit 34 from nine balls.
The presentations were made at the ground and an enjoyable Finals Dinner was held at the Empress Hotel where it was announced that the 33rd Chiang Mai Sixes would be held from 29th March to 4th April in 2020. Come and join us for another fabulous week and see if anyone can beat the wonderful cricketers from Bangladesh.
Thank you to all of you who support the tournament and give so generously to ensure that junior cricket in the North of Thailand continues to flourish,