The Chiang Mai Senior League for 2016/17 finally came to a conclusion on Sunday 12th November but it was better late than never for Lanna Thais as they just pipped the early front-runners CMCC at the finishing post with both sides finishing with four wins and two losses so the title was decided on net run-rate by 0.01 of a run.
The calculators were out at the David Buck Oval at Prem International School but the headlines were made by the young hill tribe cricketers who were instrumental in bringing Lanna Thais to victory by four wickets with just one ball to spare. Five boys who have all played in the Chiang Mai Sixes and all lived in the Pinky House with the backing of the Hill Tribe Fund were in Sunday's team including Chanchai Pengkamta and Nikom Meyer who both won bronze medals for Thailand in the SEA Games.
Lanna Thais won the toss and put CMCC into bat and the Meyer brothers, Chaiwut and Nikom, bowled accurately from the start as Siddhart cautiously tried to build an innings. It was Chanchai, bowling off a short run because of injury, who cut his way through the CMCC innings with four for 31 and he was supported by Cher, who had just missed out on Thailand selection, who took three for 28.
CMCC were dismissed for 110 in 26 overs but batting looked extremely difficult against a new ball attack of Ismail and Asif and any hope of victory looked bleak. The experienced Chris Coombes finally found the boundary with some lusty blows but after 10 overs the score had progressed to just 26 for 2 and Lanna Thais needed to score 85 more in 10.3 overs to win the league on NRR.
Surely an impossible task but Chanchai had been promoted to number and he was looking confident against the second-string bowlers. Coombes was out for 27 but Richard Cowles hit out during a brief cameo, and hopes of a remarkable victory grew when Nikom strode to the crease and hit powerfully. Runs flowed but after Chanchai fell for 34 from 30 balls it needed captain Elliot Lodge to hit the winning run with only one ball to spare. Nikom was unbeaten on 20 from 15 balls.
Lanna Thais had won the match by four wickets and had retained the league title by the narrowest possible margin on net run-rate. Chanchai and Nikom had shown why they had been selected for Thailand and had brought their team a wonderful victory.
Great credit needs to be paid to everyone that has supported the development of junior cricket in Northern Thailand, including all those involved with the Chiang Mai Sxies, to Lanna CC and also to CMCC who were disappointed in defeat but can also proud of the part they have played in helping this golden generation of hill tribe cricketers.
CMCC 110 (26 overs)
Siddhart 27, Tanveer 35; Chanchai 4 for 31, Cher 3 for 28
Lanna Thais 111 for 6 (20.2 overs)
Lanna Thais won by 4 wickets
Chris Coombes 27, Chanchai 34, Nikom 20*; Tanveer 3 for 44