With the Chiang Mai International Sixes celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2012 it is appropriate that Sawasdee Cricket, which has formed a small but important part of all tournaments since 2000, could take centre stage as an eight team Sawasdee tournament was held at Maeonwittayalai School, Mae On on Sunday 11th March.
This was the official Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes Sawasdee tournament which came just as the schools broke up for the holidays at the end of a long season of cricket as schools across the provinces of Chiang Mai and Lamphun have competed in Sawasdee competitions every month.
The Sixes tournament gave the chance for the best eight schools to compete in a quality tournament for junior cricketers, some of whom will be moving onto hard ball cricket next year.
The eight teams were divided in to two groups, Yeunwangthong, Wat Ban Jam, Buakcrognoi and Mae On Wittalayai in one group, Wat Muang Gwak, Huai Keao, Sahangon 2 and Rimping in the other. Each team played the others in their group, giving all the schools the chance to play three matches.
Sawasdee cricket is played with a soft ball and plastic bats and stumps; there are eight players in each team; batting pairs bat for two overs and everyone has to bowl in a eight-over aside contest.
The matches were recorded by the umpire / scorers as a game from each group was played side by side on the two halves of a school football pitch. Non-stop commentary was provided thanks to a sound system and there were two practice areas so the children were always on the go.
Some of best cricketers from the Hill Tribe program acted as umpires and coaches, so it was a special event to begin the celebrations of the 25th year of the Chiang Mai International Sixes.
A total of 12 matches were played and Wat Muang Kwak were clearly the best side as they finished with three wins out of three. Wat Muang Kwak, a team of four boys and four girls, were worthy champions as teams from that school had also won Lamphun’s inaugural Sawasdee tournament and the first all-girls competition, as Sawasdee cricket has been going from strength to strength this season.
Their success is also appropriate since the Chiang Mai International Sixes have also sponsored the construction of a net at Wat Muang Kwak which has just been completed and will form the basis of hard ball practice for the children of Lamphun.
It is also a heart-warming story that the team’s captain Nok, a very talented wicket-keeper / batsmen / bowler, who had been sent back to her village in the Doi Internon area was collected to play in the tournament and she will become the first girl on the hill tribe sponsorship program. She may be joined by some of her team-mates in the future.
It was a happy moment for her and her side as she lifted the trophy, but her story is a reminder that the Chiang Mai Sixes provides support for so much more than just cricket.
The quality of the cricket throughout the tournament was encouragingly high, a reward for the efforts of the children and the coaches. Four teams were level with two wins out of three and Sahagon 2 were awarded second place after net run-rates had been calculated.
A very enjoyable day was completed by the closing ceremony as the trophies and medals were handed out, all the children being given the same medals as that all the players at the main Sixes tournament will receive.
All those involved with the Sawasdee tournament, players and helpers, would like to say a big thank you to the Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes and send their best wishes for the 25th year of the tournament.