It's been a long break from cricket since the run of friendlies back in May here in Chiang Mai, so the 2nd Koh Chang Beach Cricket tournament was a welcome chance to escape the wet season and the long wait for the call of play in November. It proved to be a fantastic experience for first-timers Lanna CC and their contingent of juniors. The tournament was held in the beautiful bay of Klong Son at the 5 star Shambala Beach bar, with 10 teams competing from around Thailand and featuring guest star, former England international Alan Mulally.
The six over competition had unusual rules with players losing five runs when dismissed and batters playing on their own, running half way down the wicket and back to complete one run. An astro surface was laid on boards to give an even bounce and the tennis/swing ball proved difficult for many off 16 yards. Lanna CC defeated Southerners comfortably in the first game with captain Eddie blocking out the last over to avoid the dreaded minus fives. With 2 groups of five teams, Lanna CC finished equal second on points after slipping to defeat in their last match against British Club A ,who staged a remarkable comeback after being minus 12 in the first over. By virtue of runs scored Lanna CC faced Koh Chang in the 'Chopsticks' final and went about breaking records which may stand for some time. In Lanna's six overs they amassed 94 runs with juniors Jun and Chaiwut cashing in on Koh Chang's weaker bowlers. In reply Koh Chang, who were great sports, slumped to a wretched minus 11, so a margin of victory of 105!
Steve Perry and the other organisers surpassed themselves with their hospitality.The venue was amazing with a sunken bar in the pool overlooking the beach and 2 free bbqs in the evenings at the '15 Palms' on Whitesands meant that a fantastic social event was enjoyed by all the cricketers and their families.
The Cup final was contested between The Parrots (Siam CC) and British Club A, which incredibly ended in a tie with a six off the last ball. Lanna junior Chaiwut, only 17, won player of the tournament. and our 3 Lanna Ladies also played in the women's game before the finals on Sunday.
Lanna CC will certainly be there again in 2017 if invited, and hopefully take 2 sides, it's well worth the long trip from Chiang Mai, and at that time of year there are very few tourists around and prices are low. The only regrets were sunburn and the fact we couldn't stay longer, cricket in paradise and a beer in the pool, see you next year.