With Lanna CC about to embark on a momentous tour to Pattaya where the club will play two matches against regular opponents Pattaya CC at the delightful Thai Polo Ground, it is the perfect time to look back on the last visit by a Chiang Mai side to the same venue.
Pattaya CC staged the Pattaya Super 8s in June 2015 in which eight teams competed in an 8 aside competition which differed from Sixes cricket in that there were two extra fielders and bowlers were not restricted to one over apiece. Other teams involved included the Pattaya Stallions, Pattaya Thoroughbreds, Southerners, Pakistan Sports Club, British Club, Siam CC and Asian Stars, so it was a highly competitive competition with Chiang Mai taking on the might of the Bangkok League.
The eight teams were divided into two groups, and played three matches apiece followed by four play-off matches to decide the final positions. With Lanna already having defeated top Bangkok sides to win the Southerners Social Sixes, a side made up of Lanna seniors and juniors and captained by the experienced Chris Coombes gave a very good account of themselves in the Super 8s after being defeated in their first group game against Pakistan Sports Club.
Conflicting reports pinned the blame on strokeless batting from Martin Papworth who had suffered an early finger injury, the inexperience of the juniors pacing a run-chase or the late appearance of the elusive Walter Persaud, but what happens on tour stays on tour and the men from the North recovered well to beat Pattaya Stallions and British Club to qualify for the Shield Final.
Pakistan Sports Club topped the group and played Southerners, who had won all three of their matches in the other group, in the Cup Final, and it was Pakistan Sports Club which emerged as overall winners by overcoming favourites and defending champions Southerners in a thrilling last ball finish.
Chiang Mai were paired with Asian Stars in the Sheild final as both had finished second in their groups, and it was in this match that the Northerners showed their true quality when, facing a target of 52, they were victorious with four balls to spare as the supremely talented Ubaid, named man of the tournament, hit 23 and Kiwi master-blaster Martin Cardno this time saw his team home with an unbeaten 15 .
Pattaya Stallions faced Siam CC in the Plate Final and some familiar faces were on show as Simon Philbrook shone for the home side and Siam CC were boosted by three of Lanna’ juniors, Jun, Choo and Formost, and one Lanna senior, Jon Danby, previously a regular with the Parrots. The Stallions just held on to win but the other Pattaya side, the Thoroughbreds failed to live up to their name and came last in the competition as British Club enjoyed a rare victory to win the Spoon.
By all accounts the Pattaya CC Super 8s sponsored by Pattaya Sports Club was a highly enjoyable and well-run competition which will be staged again next year. The team from Chiang Mai, with three junior players able to take part thanks to support from the Chiang Mai Sixes, UN Irish and Lanna CC, were described as crowd favourites and played some fine cricket with Ubaid outstanding with his elegant left-handed batting and mesmeric slow left-arm spin. Lanna CC members, Martin Papworth, Taran Persaud and tour manager David Walker also contributed greatly by helping with the umpiring.