The 32nd edition of the Chiang Mai Sixes is underway with a fabulous Welcome Party on the Saturday evening at the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel where friends old and new caught up after an absence of a year or more. A wonderful seven days of action on the field begin in style with former champions Gloucestershire Gipsies leading the way and RUC Rascals, the only new team this year, winning two matches on their first ever day at the Chiang Mai Sixes.
Gipsies made the highest score of the day as they reached 83 for 3 in their five overs against Clifton Hill with Henry Cooper leading the way. Not noted as 'white ball' player in T20 cricket, he quickly showed he could be the master of the pink ball in five-over cricket as he raced to 35 with five sixes, a four and a single from the seven balls he faced.
Impressive with the bat, at least the Gipsies did not have a fearsome bowling attack but it proved effective as Cooper and Tom Smith each took two wickets as the Stray Cats made 37 for 4. Defending champions NCL Dynamites had already won their opening contest as they had comfortably beaten Darjeeling by five wickets with more than an over to spare but they will be relishing the challenge of the quality Kiwi Gloucester combination.
In the Gentleman's Section, tribute was paid to absent friends with a special match between Wombats and Malakas who had each lost an important figure in the past year. Terry Skillett, always a Malaka, had been the heart beat of the Sixes while Alan Hobbs had been almost an ever present part of Wombats' 31 previous visits to the Chiang Mai Sixes.
RUC Rascals, representing a mining company in Indonesia and brought to the Sixes thanks to the efforts of local player Colin Harlow. were impressive debutants as they claimed victories over Blythswood by 15 runs and Stuffed Beavers by 5 wickets. James East led the way with scores of 31 retired and 15 not out as the Rascals enjoyed a fantastic first day.
The day concluded with a pair of ladies matches with Pin Papworth scoring 27* for Thai Angels as they were narrowly beaten by Central Spirit from Australia, and the Beaverettes enjoyed their victory over the Chaiang Mai Chassies and celebrated long into the night at the Beavers' opening night party.