If it’s early April in Chiang Mai then it must be time for a well-established tradition among all participants of the local cricket scene and the city itself.
It’s called the Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes tournament, and this year’s 32nd edition unfolds March 31 to April 6 at the historic Gymkhana sports club.
Thirty men’s teams from as far away as Australia, China, Japan and England split into players and gentlemen divisions along with four ladies teams will play almost 100 matches over a seven day period.
Matches will take place from 9am to 5pm – weather permitting as cricket cannot be played on a wet field or in the rain – and everyone who comes to Gymkhana to support their respective team or simply watch some exciting cricket sixes will be helping the Chiang Mai junior cricket scene simply by purchasing a cold beverage at the bar.
A large percentage of the entry fees and items sold at the tournament will go towards developing junior cricket in Chiang Mai.
It would be an understatement to say that preparing for a tournament of such a large magnitude is not an easy task and to that end volunteer organizers begin meeting as early as May to start preparing for the next edition, and continue to meet monthly until January or February when things start to really heat up and they then meet bi-monthly.
“We meet once a week starting a month before the tournament,” said Martin Papworth, one of the numerous tournament organizers. “It’s a huge effort and takes a lot of help from anyone who can lend a hand.”
Those who can make it down to Gymkhana to take in the action can expect some of the most exciting cricket offered. That’s because Sixes is the fastest form of cricket, with the key difference between the traditional game lying in the fact each match takes only 45 minutes to complete.
As the name suggests the game consists of six players per side compared with the usual 11, which means once the bowler and wicket-keeper are in position there aren’t many fieldsmen that the batting team need to evade to hit lots of ball to an over the boundaries.
All of which makes for very fast moving and exciting cricket for everyone to watch. In addition, one of the most interesting aspects of the Chiang Mai international Sixes is the fact there is such an interestingly wide age range of participants. In fact it’s not unusual to see young and older players aged all the way up to 70 and over.
If you can’t make it to this year’s tournament in person or should miss a day of action don’t fret. All matches will be recapped and televised live on the tournament’s official Facebook page at chiangmaicricketsixes.
So common down, enjoy the action and don’t forget to purchase a cold refreshing beverage of your choice. The junior cricket players of Chiang Mai will thank you.
See math schedule and results at https://chiangmaisixes.cricket/match-centre/