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Youth overcomes experience at Gymkhana

Lanna v CPP at Gymkhana Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remembrance Day at Gymkhana Club was marked by a classic contest between youth and experience and it was the boys from CPP who beat Chiang Mai Lanna by five wickets

The new Chiang Mai Senior League has been established to give some of the best young Thai cricketers the chance to play competitive cricket against more experienced opponents and the second match in the league calendar produced a fascinating contest between youth and experience.

Both teams had sensed the importance of the contest with Chiang Mai Lanna putting out a strong team of experienced cricketers who would test their junior opponents, and CPP, a school team from Doi Saket which also acts as a Centre of Excellence for young Thai players, had been strengthened by the addition of some of their coaching staff.

Interest was high as CPP won the toss and chose to bowl first, and it was not long before the Thai youngsters were impressing in the field. The ground fielding was extremely sharp and whenever a Chiang Mai Lanna batsman hit the ball in the air a catch seemed to be taken with the greatest of ease.

Chiang Mai Lanna had selected a strong top order with four extremely capable batsmen but three of that top four were dismissed within the first eight overs, all to exceptional catches in the off-side field.

Shan, who has just returned from coaching the Thailand women’s team in the Asia Cup in China, seemed to enjoy his return to the playing field, as he claimed the first two wickets and then took a catch off fellow coach Gun’s first ball.

Gun was making the ball bounce awkwardly from left-arm over and he soon collected the fourth wicket as David Holt gloved to slip to leave Lanna struggling at 34 for four. Somebody needed to stay with opener Tim Wools to prevent a low total and an early finish, and that man proved to be Martin Papworth.

Intent purely on survival at first, Papworth dug himself in and waited for the bad ball before going for his shots. He was in for a long wait as Gun bowled a testing spell and Det bowled with great accuracy, but Wools was growing in confidence and began to find the gaps in the field with some classy shots that would grace any coaching manual.

Lanna’s fifty came up in the 15th over but the scoring rate increased with the introduction of spin as Papworth was able to make his first run from his 20th ball and suddenly hit a pair of boundaries, while Wools was able to score from almost every ball and the pair raised their fifty partnership to give Lanna new hope.

But the balance of the match changed once more as Papworth was a victim of his growing confidence as he fell to yet another catch and Wools was required to retire next ball after reaching his fifty in glorious fashion with a six which almost cleared the scorebox.

Two new batsmen were at the crease and the run-rate slowed as club captain Dominic Williams searched for his first run for ten nerve-wracking balls. But with that run confidence flowed and he raced to 22 in 12 more balls with four boundaries.

Nick Kirby gave him strong support as 29 came from the last three overs of the innings and even though Shan returned to finish with the outstanding figures of 4 for 22, a total of 142 for eight in 30 overs was a useful recovery from 34 for 4.

How would the young batsmen from CPP cope with the pressure of their target? The two openers John and Frame simply went for their shots and the scoreboard was soon ticking over at more than six an over. The openers often hit the ball in the air and while Lanna’s shots had seemed always to find a safe pair of hands, CPP’s went through the gaps or over the fielders’ heads.

Tim Wools briefly checked the run-rate with his slow left-arm spin but Frame launched into the first over bowled by Martin Papworth and it yielded 14. Papworth was given a second over and he responded by dismissing John caught behind for 24 to end the opening partnership on 78.

Frame reached a hard-hitting half-century from only 29 balls and was clearly delighted with his performance as he walked back towards his team-mates but the game had changed as John Danby had Det caught at slip and Papworth took his second wicket.

CPP seemed to be relying on the experience of Shan to guide them home but suddenly Walter Persaud produced a beauty to bowl him for 12 with the total on 117 for five. 26 were still needed and Gun’s outside edge was found first ball only for a difficult catch to be spilled by keeper Richard Cowles.

Persaud bowled another testing over but a pair of boundaries to Gun put victory within reach, even though he was caught at third man in Danby’s final over, and CPP finally reached their target with five wickets and 6.4 overs in hand.

CPP had gained a fairly comfortable victory over their more experienced opponents but the main difference between the two sides was in the standard of the fielding with the juniors being electric in the field, taking several brilliant catches and saving countless runs with their speed and athleticism.

CPP are a well-drilled and talented side and the value of their long practice sessions is clear but to hone their skills they also need to play cricket against strong opponents. Chiang Mai Lanna could be satisfied that they had provided the boys with a real test thanks to Tim Wools’ fine innings and will look to return to winning ways in their next match on 2nd December.

Spectators at Gymkhana Club certainly enjoyed the contest and also witnessed an under-16 match in the morning in which Lamphun defeated Mae On by nine wickets. Players from the match stayed on to watch the afternoon’s cricket, and CPP were supported by their girls’ team, so there was a lovely atmosphere at Gymkhana that summed up just what playing cricket in Chiang Mai should be all about.

Lanna 142 for 8 (30 overs)
Tim Woolls 51*, Dominic Williams 22; Shan Kader 4 for 22, Gun 2 for 18

CPP 143 for 5 (23.2 overs)
John 24, Frame 50; Martin Papworth 2 for 32, Jon Danby 2 for 35

CPP won by 5 wickets