Prompted by the success of the first tournament, and the interest shown by the children, the Chiang Mai Schools Cricket Alliance (CMSCA) was formed on 17th June 2000. The Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes provided the funding for the new organization which decided it must provide to every participating school, free of charge, a set of junior cricket equipment and coaching support for teachers and students.
Six schools took part in the second competition and more joined the program soon afterwards as a booklet was produced in English and in Thai explaining the rules of Sawasdee Cricket and illustrating some basic techniques. Inter-Schools matches were introduced and the first players were soon ready to graduate to hard ball cricket.
The Cricket Association of Thailand’s formation post-dates that of CMSCA and funding was provided for more than a decade but the contribution made by the Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes to local junior cricket now far exceeds that of CAT which is now looking to spread cricket across the country.
Every year, money has been raised by teams and individuals and donated by the Committee on the basis of beer sales and San Miguel’s long sponsorship has always been on the basis of supporting junior cricket in Northern Thailand.
A succession of volunteer coaches has played their part and many have become deeply involved in the administration of the CMSCA and in the successful running of the Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes. Eric Little, Peter and Ann Dawson, David Walker, Khun Awn, and the modern generation of coaches Martin and Puy Papworth and Chris Dodd, with Richard Lockwood and Richard Cowles now giving their support as well as countless other volunteer umpires, scorers and helpers.
From three schools involved in the first Junior Cricket Cup, cricket has spread to schools across the provinces of Chiang Mai and Lamphun with CPP in Doi Saket always a mainstay of junior cricket, Sahagon II now seeing his pre-eminent position in Mae On being taken over the High School which has the facilities where hard ball cricketers can be coached. Muangkwat is a primary school with soft balls players but the net at the school has proved the catalyst for Lamphun’s recent success.
Hard Ball Leagues
Young players who begin their cricket careers in Sawasdee cricket are moved on quickly to hard ball cricket with net facilities used every week at Gymkhana Club itself, Muangwak School and at Mae On. The last Sawasdee Cup held at Prem in March 2014 also involved a competition for intermediates played to Sawasdee rules but using a hard ball and gloves and pads.
Over the years junior leagues have been arranged to give competitive cricket to the best school players at under-16 and under-19 level. CPP was always the strongest team in these leagues but were given a strong test by the hill-tribe boys from Wat Don Chan. Junior teams have also had the chance to played in the Chiang Mai Senior League and Chiang Mai Lanna CC have been generously supported their own junior team. CPP has been recently developed as a Centre of Excellence with youngsters from around the country coming to the school so they could develop their cricket as well as their education, but the former boys of Wat Don Chan have continued their rivalry with CPP whenever Lamphun play Chiang Mai in provincial junior cricket.
It has been a long but successful journey with Chiang Mai dominating junior provincial cricket since the first CAT National Championships in 2009 and then as cricket became an officially recognized sport in Thailand that dominance continued in the Sports Authority of Thailand’s National Youth Games since 2010. But cricket has also been supported in schools in Lamphun, and under the watchful eye of Chris Dodd, Lamphun Province have developed as Chiang Mai’s main rivals. Lamphun girls have done well in their first tournaments in 2013 and 2014, but it was the boys team would take the junior cricket world by storm as Lamphun won both CAT and SAT competitions at the first time of asking in 2014. Young Bunchuai was player of the tournament on both occasions to mark him out as the most promising young player in Thailand.