Gloucestershire Gipsies have come to Chiang Mai with a very strong side and showed they were aiming to become Cup champions by winning their three first round games by convincing margins and heading the Player Section table ahead of NCL Dynamites.
The Gipsies faced UN Irish Pub on Wednesday afternoon as the Cup competition got underway and it was expected to be a high quality contest between two former winners of the Cup. In fact it was possibly one of the best matches played over the 32 editions of the Chiang Mai Sixes.
The Gipsies looked to be in control as their openers set off at breakneck pace, Nick Kelly making 31 from 11 balls and Ben Hyde doing even better with 34 from 7 balls. The innings ran out of momentum after the pair of retirements and Henry Cooper fell for a duck. Only 18 runs came from the last two overs but UN Irish still needed 85 at 17 runs per over.
Mohammad Jawed and Naveed Pathan matched their opponents shot for shot as Jawed made 30 from 9 balls and Pathan 33 from 11. Asim had already pulled one match out of the fire for the Irish, and he again swung the bat wildly and somehow the Irish needed four to win from the last ball. The ball sailed into the leg-side but was chased and returned and only two runs were scored before a run out was completed. The Gipsies had held on to win by one run and passed their first major test on the route to Cup success.
NCL Dynamites also faced stiff opposition from Margate as Clint Stewart used the extra pace on the ball to play cuts and drives behind the wicket on the off-side. Syed Mokammel made 33 from 11 balls as the Dynamites won by five wickets with five balls to spare. There was plenty of excitement in the Cup and the first matches in the Shield were also completed on Wednesday afternoon as Yorkshire Puddings beat Darjeeling and Clifton Hill Stray Cats defeated Lanna.
Earlier in the day, the last of the First Round matches in the Gentlemen's Section were played and the seedings for the Bowl, Plate and Spoon decided. Gymkhana Cavaliers, Drifters, RUC Rascals and Darwin Dilettantes all made it three wins out of three and are joined in the Bowl by Awali and Lord's Taverners.
Beijing Ducks, Sons of Pitches, Tokyo Dingbats, Floggers and Robbers, Blythswood and Red Lion Wombats will compete for the Plate, while the lowest division will see the Bushrangers, Almar, Armadillos, Malakas, Kimberley and the Stuffed Beavers fight it out for the Spoon. The Beavers can be proud of maintaining their fine record of failure as they are the only team in either Players or Gentlemen's Sections not to score a single point from any of their matches.