Last month Chanchai Pengkumpta, with memories of his bronze medal for Thailand in the South-East Asian Games in Malaysia still fresh, returned to the North and was welcomed back into Chiang Mai cricket with some mature performances against the touring Dubai Mammoths. He then was instrumental in helping Lanna Thais retain the Chiang Mai Senior League title with a fine all-round performance to defeat the might of CMCC.
It will then come as no surprise that probably the finest cricketing talent in Thailand has now helped Thailand CC win the Bangkok Cricket League for the first time as they defeated the Southerners by three wickets in the Grand Final. Chanchai took the new ball and returned to claim the important wicket of Heino Jordaan as Thailand’s spinners bowled excellently as Southerners were dismissed for 153 in 48.1 overs.
Vichanath Singh put down his scorebook and returned to his first love of bowling slow left-arm spin to take 2 for 15 in 10 overs and Payuputh Sungard returned figures of 3 for 34 with his off-spin. Chanchai came to the crease at 20 for 2 and his side looked to be in some trouble at 97 for 6, but he and Payuputh belied their teenage years and added 39 for the seventh wicket.
Thanathip Jirapanthawong, wicket-keeper and occasional computer scorer, veteran of Sawasdee Cricket and the Chiang Mai Sixes, came in and helped Chanchai win the match and claim the league title as Thailand CC reached their target with 13 overs to spare.
Chganchai finished on 51 not out and added a second league title within a month to that precious bronze medal. Southerners had long noticed Chanchai’s great potential as they had sponsored him to play for their team last season and Southerners captain Daniel Jacobs was also Thailand captain in the ICC World Cricket League. He worked closely with national coach Nuwan Shiroman and was full of praise for all the young Thai players who had been given a chance to play top level cricket and train together for an extended period.
Thailand’s women have made the headlines in recent times but the men’s team deserve their share of praise for their recent achievements. Thailand’s young players gained valuable experience in the WCL then won bronze medals in the SEA Games 50-over competition, now they have defeated all the leading clubs in Bangkok to claim the league title as they have been rewarded for a year of hard work and some rich potential on the cricket field.
Talent and hard work has brought its just rewards