The 2016 Chiang Mai Big Bash was contested at Gymkhana Club on 13th and 14th February and it was bigger and better than ever before as three visiting teams joined local sides Lanna and CMCC in a five-team eight player aside tournament. Not the MCC were welcome visitors from England and Patong were entertaining tourists from Phuket, but it was old favourites Pattaya who were worthy champions as they beat CMCC in a high-scoring final.
A total of twelve 8-over matches were played on a busy weekend of cricket which got underway at 10-00 am on Saturday morning. The first match was between the two eventual finalists and it was CMCC who won by 14 runs as Ubaid and Aasif both reached 30 in a total of 108 for 1. Pattaya still gave a good account of themselves by making 94 for 5 and their time would come.
In the second match, Patong posted 78 for 4 as Anthony Van Blerk anchored the innings but Lanna looked impressive as they reached their target in 6 overs. Pattaya then just held on to defeat Not the MCC by one run after making 92 for four before players took a half-hour break to enjoy lunch provided by UN Irish Bar.
CMCC were on the back foot once Imtiaz had dismissed Ubaid first ball but Tanveer made 33 to take CMCC to 85 for 5 but Imtiaz was in outstanding form with the bat to reach 34 and Patong clinched a surprise victory from the last ball of the match.
Lanna won their second match as the consistent Martin Cardno made 29 as Lanna overcame the total of 75 for 3 posted by NTMCC with an over to spare and the final match of the first day saw Pattaya chase down Patong's total of 85 for 4 as Simon Philbrook and Venky both batted impressively.
Teams and officials headed to Zoom Bar for an evening's entertainment but Sunday's play started with a bang as the two local sides faced each other in a highly competitive match. Ubaid made 31 for CMCC and although Martin Cardno matched his score Lanna were defeated by 22 runs as CMCC went to the top of the table.
Not the MCC were still looking for their first win but lost wickets to the first two balls of their innings against Patong as Imtiaz continued his fine all-round form. Matt almost carried his bat for NTMCC as they were bowled out for 75 before Justin and Paddy made easy work of their target with almost four overs to spare.
Pattaya then faced Lanna knowing that the winners would be through to the final but the table was thrown into confusion as the match ended in a tie with both sides scoring 87 for 3 in their 8 overs with Jason Bray scoring 30 for Lanna and Manik making 32 for Pattaya. The visitors remained one point ahead of Lanna who looked destined for the 3rd place play-off.
The last of the league matches saw CMCC take on NTMCC and the local side booked their place in the final by scoring 103 for 5 as Ubaid reached 30 for the third time. Not the MCC made a good effort with the bat as David made 32 and Matt 29 but they lost by 11 runs.
The third place play-off was contested by Lanna and Patong and it was fortunate that Lanna batted first as the visitors had a plane to catch. Martin Cardno ended as leading run-scorer in the tournament as he retired on 32 and George Hamilton marked his last match before returning to the UK with an innings of 30 in a total of 103 for 1. Patong could only manage 59 for 3 although Imtiaz hit another 30 and it was left to Michael 'Cat' Maher to see out the match while most of his team headed to the airport.
Pattaya batted first in the final against CMCC knowing they had to post a big score to win the trophy and Manik and Simon Philbrook provided the necessary firepowere as Pattaya reached 108 for 3. Pattaya were favourites for the title once Ubaid was dismissed for a duck and although Aasif (33) and Tanveer (26) kept their side in the hunt Pattaya won by 19 runs to claim the crown.
Presentations were held to bring the competition to a close as trophies were handed out to the leading three teams and Imtiaz from Patong was named as player of the tournament for some outstanding performances on the field and for thoroughly enjoying his time on and off the field. Thanks are due to players, officials and supporters who all contributed to a wonderful weekend and junior cricket will benefit from the healthy profit generated by the bar.