A lovely Sunday's cricket at the picturesque Gymkhana Club made sure that the new cricket season began in splendid fashion as the new Lanna Thais side won their first ever match by 38 runs. Seven of the Lanna thais side were local Thai juniors all produced by CMSCA and their dedicated coaches Martin and Puy Papworth.
The day had started bright and early with the juniors practising hard under the watchful eye of Eddie Joyner who had made the journey from Li to help with the coaching when the boys were joined by Pin and Ting Tang, girls who are hoping to play in Lanna's first ladies team.
The juniors and the ladies, including Puy herself and Lek a tennis player turned cricketer, have been training hard during the off season, but this was the first chance most of them have had to take part in a match, so the Lanna Thais team was supplemented by experienced players Martin Cardno, Shine Thomas and Hugh Williams, not forgetting the returning wicket-keeper batsman George Hamilton
The Lanna senior team also looked good on paper with Max and Chris Coombes a potentially lethal opening partnership and Eddie and Adam Green two of the club's best bowlers.
The two captains agreed that Lanna Thais should bat first so that Martin Cardno could play a full part in the game before flying back to Hua Hin. He had asked to bat at number four so Jun, working as a junior coach for CMSCA, and Daeng who has been looking good in the nets in Mae On had the chance to open the batting.
Daeng was out early but Jun supported Shine Thomas in a good partnership for the second wicket as Shine started the season in fine form with a range of powerful shots. Jun fell for 17 but had laid a good base for Martin Cardno to play his first innings of the season. Shine retired on 39* at the drinks interval and Cardno quickly reached the retirement mark of 40 although he was lucky to be dropped twice.
Juniors Min and Ong both showed signs off improvement during brief stays at the crease but Hugh Williams, who has kindly arranged sponsorship from Lanna International School, was able to make sure the innings finished strongly and it was great to welcome George Hamilton back to Chiang Mai cricket.
Lanna Thais final total of 164 for 5 was an impressive one and Jun and Daeng both started well with the ball before young Max Coombes launched a blistering attack on the two opening bowlers as he raced to 40, with his proud father happy to watch at the non-strikers end.
Time for an experienced bowler to take a wicket or two and Martin Cardno took the ball looking to make an immediate impact, but it was young Chat who removed Chris Coombes as he was bowled for 13 but Cardno did take the important wicket of Richard Cowles who edged to the keeper.
Cardno certainly managed to ruffle Dominic Williams' feathers but it was the next junior to take the ball Min who took his wicket caught and bowled, and so the innings continued with the boys all having the chance to bowl at least two overs. Ong and Khet bowled well but it was Hloo who finished with the best figures of the day, as he took 2 for 10.
It was a good opportunity to welcome Michael Holt, who has played for the Parrots in Bangkok, and Neil Allen to the club, while it was a privilege to watch Eddie play his first innings as a 70-year-old. Plenty more wickets and runs to come Eddie but it was a day when a number of young cricketers got a chance to play on the historic Gymkhana Club ground.
Five of the seven boys had a chance to bat and all bowled at least two overs and raced around in the field although their knowledge of fielding positions will only come with experience. Lanna Thais won the match by the impressive margin of 38 runs.
Thanks to all the adults who participated in the match and helped these youngsters have a full day of cricket, the game we all love. Lanna are hoping that each Sunday at Gymkhana will see a junior practice in the morning followed by a full match in the afternoon with the ladies taking to the middle towards the end of the day, as they begin their preparations for the next Chiang Mai Sixes in April 2016.