We partied so hard during our 10th anniversary in 2015 that we had to take 2016 off to recuperate! Some are still attending AA and psychiatric counselling and are still unable to make the journey back.
Our youngsters are now nearing their 30's which is a worry for the rest of the team whom now seem to have an average age closer to 40! As usual we will give it our all throughout the week, and also hope to be able to put in some good performances on the field.
We've recruited well with a couple of genuine guns joining the squad. One is the irrepressible Curly and the other being Hagar's love child Rhysy.
It's sure to be another great week!
1. Daniel 'Shawry' Shaw
14th Tour: Captain. At 28 years old, the Captain has a fair record over the 14 tours to Chiang Mai. A proven performer on and off the field, the big fella has a challenging preseason lined up for the team in Bangkok to ensure all are fully acclimatised to the conditions that are bound to confront us in Chiang Mai. So thoughtful. Like Mel Gibson in the movie Gallipoli, you can be sure that Shawry will be first on the battlefield at night and last to bed as the sun rises each morning. Looking forward to some big hitting from the big guy this week.
2. Simon 'Simo' Bray
9th Tour: Has worked on his cricket almost as much as his biceps and tan this year. The hard work has paid off and Simo has a new love of his life. Brave move to leave her behind and spend a couple of weeks with Shawry. Bound to be another big week making new mates on and off the field. Hoping that he can make it through preseason to take the field 1st game on Sunday morning. Bets of luck Simo!
3. Troy 'Harvs' Harvey
20th Tour: A big year for Harvs as he celebrates his 20th year in Chiang Mai. Get around him as he is sure to be shouting the bar on a regular basis this week. May have been quite a player 20 years ago - but likely to be a shadow of his former self - in cricket ability, not girth. Will be interesting to see how he copes with the rigours of preseason. Forgot to mention that Harvs is credited as being the creator of the gay dab.
4. Matt 'Door' Luton
13th Tour: A resident of the Land of Smiles, Matt likes to don the whites every now and then to see if he's "still got it"! The answer is invariably not the one he wants to hear. Matt manages to keep the medical staff in Chiang Mai busy each year as he gets hit by the odd car, tuk tuk or motor cycle on a regular basis. Matt is the only guy I know who gets more injuries off field at night than during a game. Welcome back Matt.
5. Chris 'Lamby' Lamb
4th Tour: Lamby will be back bigger and better than ever - well at least that is what we are hoping for. Loves the Bats so much that he got the Bats' logo tattooed on the back of his hand last time - now that's dedication for you. Has had 2 years to work out his delivery stride and find middle and off so may open the bowling was the whisper I overheard from the Captain. Good luck with that Lamby. Loves a drink and a chat as no doubt many will learn throughout the course of the week. Will have the onerous task of looking after Uncle Russ, so that should mean that Lamby will be free to party after 10pm. Go Lamby!
6. Rhys "Rhysy' Rider
A Virgin! And a welsh virgin at that!!! Introduced by Hagar, Hagar has promised that Rhys is a well behaved, clean cut and outstanding example of Welsh youth. I've seen Rhysy's facebook page and sincerely doubt that to be true. Looking at facebook, I do admire the way that Rhysy drinks a jug of beer with a straw - why order a pint when you can get a jug. I'm sure Rhysy will fit into the Bats as if it was his second home - it's just a pity that Hagar wouldn't let him attend preseason in Bangkok. (That will be a big fine for both of them). C'mon Hagar let your love child off the leash!!
7. Ian 'Curly' Gason
Umpteenth Tour: With the Tokyo boys unable to attend in full force this year, Curly has come across to the Bats and will no doubt be a great all round acquisition to the group. He put forward a fair list of demands prior to accepting our invitation but we know his signing will significantly bolster morale - at other teams anyway! I suspect he has joined the Bats to avoid the shot wars that would have otherwise occurred at Spotlight at some point (actually many times) in the week. Welcome Curly
12th Tour: The Cocktail Queen, Amy has decided to grace us with her presence on the way to old Blighty where she'll spend the next 12 months or so working and travelling. Loves a chat, a drink and a party. Bound to be found with Kim drinking daiquiri's in the massage chairs if you need her for anything.
16th Tour: Old man Shawry joined the ranks of the deaf and blind a few years to ensure that he had an excuse to continue to make the pilgrimage to Chiang Mai each year after the end of his playing career. Loves a laugh and a drink and doesn't mind the odd shot war with anyone who will take him on at any time during the week. Will be looking forward to catching up with great mates during the week.
16th Tour: Back again to keep a watchful eye over the family and raise the general level of common sense within the group. Is very much into the health kick at home taking the dog for long walks most days. Part of the regime is health drinks - loves anything that contains fruit and ends in daiquiri. Warning - do not get between Kim and the massage chairs if she is heading in that direction - you don't stand a chance!
8th Tour: If this is Matthew's 8th tour then he must be now 7 years old. Has been coming here since he was a twinkle in his fathers eye. Matty will be keen to see his best mate Chops and regale him of his antics of the past 12 months. It will be interested to see if his musical tastes have gotten past Pharell Williams this time. Will be interesting to see how Matty's cricket skills are developing - shouldn't be too long before his passes his old man.
Michael 'Chief Wiggums' Burns
15th Tour: The Chief is back, bigger and better than ever, after a hiatus in 2015 - KFC Chiang Mai are excited! He's looking forward to slipping casually back into the role of Team Manager, Motivator and General Counsel. We look forward to having the happy go lucky guy back on tour. I see from his pen picture that he is thinking of asking Hagar for a spot on the umpiring panel. Good luck with the Chief!
Russell 'Bookend' Lamb
10th Tour: It's Russ's 10th tour and he is excited. He has cut the missus and kids loose and is planning a big one this year. Russ's idea of a big one is to show up a day late and to balance his days by sleeping slightly more hours than those he spends awake - we may change his official nickname to bedsores before this tour is over. Expect Russ and Harvs to continuously shout the bar in celebration of joint milestones. Russ loves to hear sweet nothings whispered in his ear (see pic) if you didn't already know!
Wilailak (Noi) Harvey
13th Tour: Noi is back to gather another collection of Thai soap operas and get her fill of Som Tam for the year. Will be carefully taking charge of her men throughout the week - will be interesting to see whether she has bought the short leash for Troy again or will he finally be able to participate in his annual bucks turn? Let's wait and see.