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Floggers & Robbers off to a winning start

Gymkhana Juniors v Floggers & Robbers at Gymkhana Sunday, 18 November 2012

Floggers & Robbers are popular participants in the San Miguel Chiang Mai International Sixes but they showed they are more than capable in the longer form of the game as they defeated Gymkhana Juniors by four wickets in their first match in the Chiang Mai Senior League

The Zimbabwean Tobacco Industry has a long history of support for cricket in Chiang Mai over the last 30 years, so it is particularly appropriate that the Floggers & Robbers have agreed to participate in the Chiang Mai Senior League with its shared aim of fostering the development of youth cricket in the North of Thailand.

Here the Floggers played their part to perfection as the team of Thai youngsters made a strong start and were always in the game but the more experienced team showed they had players of quality as they overcame Gymkhana Juniors’ total of 178 with four wickets in hand.

The Floggers & Robbers are better known for their involvement in and enjoyment of the annual Sixes tournament also played here at Gymkhana Club, and many of their players had not ventured onto the cricket field since April so their opponents were able to make a promising start as openers Choo and Anim raised the fifty in the eighth over.

The cobwebs and the rust were finally removed as John Wood dismissed both openers in successive overs and the Juniors were forced to rebuild with two new batsmen at the crease together. Bunchuaai and Mukesh are young batsmen with talent and composure and they carried out the required repairs with a third-wicket partnership of 56 that only ended when Bunchuaai’s pull was plucked out of the air on the mid-wicket boundary by David Hird.

Nikom Mayer came in at number five with his confidence clearly at a high level having just returned from a training camp with the Thailand senior side and he reached double figures in just four balls. This prompted the Floggers’ captain turn to the most experienced bowler Wally Pohl and the wily veteran lured two young victims out of their crease only to be stumped.

The top five in the order all reached twenty and the next two also made double figures so there was plenty of depth in Gymkhana Juniors’ batting as Mukesh’s innings of 30 was the highest score in a healthy total of 178 for six in 30 overs.

Floggers & Robbers would have to bat well to chase down their target and the innings was opened by father and son combination Chris and Max Coombes. Chris is the team’s captain and wicket-keeper as well as their opener so he has his hands full but he is also a man in form as he had already scored fifties this season against Patong and Singapore Spirits.

Anim, better known as a leg-spinner, showed he could also work up considerable pace with the new ball when he opened the bowling, but father and son were up to the task with a stand of 62 before Anim who had changed ends and reverted to leg-spin took two wickets in two balls.

Coombes Senior continued in untroubled fashion and duly completed his third half-century of the season each for different teams before being required to retire, and Ant Robertson also played some fine shots as a stiff target came into sight.

The match was by no means over as suddenly three wickets fell with the total of 159: Robertson was caught and bowled by Cher from the last ball of his fifth over, and Mukesh, another impressive leg-spinner, then had Mark Robinson and Leandro Silvera both stumped for ducks, and remarkably three wickets had fallen in three balls.

At 159 for six, 20 runs were still needed for victory but John Wood and Simon Grant went for their shots and a flurry of boundaries saw the Floggers & Robbers home to victory by four wickets. There was still more than enough time for the winning team and their supporters to enjoy several cases of cold beer together with an impromptu barbecue in idyllic surroundings.

The match and the entertaining hour that followed it again summed up what playing cricket at Gymkhana Club and taking part in the Chiang Mai Senior League is all about. It is possible to play enjoyable but hard-fought cricket, to compete in the right spirit and still provide junior Thai cricketers with some tough opposition which will help them to become better players in the future.

The next match in the league played on 25th November sees the two junior teams, Gymkhana Juniors and CPP, play each other in what will be the first competitive match played on the new ground at Royal Chiang Mai Golf Course.

Gymkhana Juniors 178 for 6 (30 overs)
Mukesh 30, Anim 24, Bunchuai 23, Choo 20, Nikom 20; John Wood 2 for 28, Wally Pohl 2 for 30

Floggers & Robbers 180 for 6 (23.4 overs)
Chris Coombes 52*, Ant Robertson 29, Max Coombes 24; Anim 2 for 26, Mukesh 2 for 30

Floggers & Robbers won by 4 wickets