British Club’s 40th Anniversary tour to Chiang Mai after their first visit in April 1982 was a wonderful occasion for all involved but it was Gymkhana Club who reclaimed the Dick Wood Cup by beating British Club by seven wickets with five overs to spare as captain Jon Scales made his third consecutive fifty in Dick Wood Cup matches.
Captain Scales has asked for a strong Gymkhana Club team to be selected after British Club had won the last two matches but the visitiors made a strong start on choosing to bat first after winning the toss. Openers Vaughan McClear and Rahul Gupte shared a stand of 59 before Hugh Williams claimed the first wicket in the tenth over.
Sir Nick White marked his return to Chiang Mai by walking out at number three and playing some quality shots in his innings of 27 before falling to the swing of Williams and Ismail also picked up two wickets as the first four wickets of the innings were all bowled.
Burhan Bhatt turned the tide towards Gymkhana Club by taking two wickets in two balls as Dale Lamb fell first ball to leave British Club on 137 for 6. Pramodh hit eight boundaries in his innings of 46 from 28 balls before being dismissed in the 28th over as Williams finished with figures of 3 for 33 but British Club reached the 200 mark from the last ball of the innings with the last pair at the crease.
Gymkhana’s three frontline bowlers had shared seven wickets and bowled impressively but Jon Scales had been forced to come on himself as eighth bowler to claim 2 for 12. With a target of 201 from 30 overs the match was evenly poised and Gymkhana Club would have to bat well to claim success.
Siva Shankar was the first wicket to fall in the second over as he was caught by Eastwell off Mishra but Rajat and Nick Janes steadied the ship before Janes was caught behind down the leg-side for 18 with the score on 43 for 2. Captain Scales came to the crease and played several superb straight drives and Rajat hit six boundaries in his innings of 40 before he was bowled by the spin of Eastwell.
Scales kept the score ticking over as Ismail played himself in as he was focussed on making the most of this opportunity to play against British Club in the Dick Wood Cup. Gymkhana Club had been keeping up with the required rate but as Ismail got his eye in the target was looking well within range. Scales reached his fifty from 35 balls with seven fours and was forced to retire but Ismail was now in full flow as the hit five fours and three sixes.
South African Neville McLean batting at number six gave calm support as he expertly rotated the strike and it was left to Ismail to finish things off in style with two fours and a six from the last three balls of the 25th over to give Gymkhana Club victory by seven wickets.
The match had finished early so the Gymkhana Club players happily posed with the Dick Wood Cup they had claimed once again after defeats in 2020 and 2021 and the presentation followed a familiar pattern with Jack Dunford reminiscing about British Club’s first trip to Chiang Mai in 1982 and how Dick Wood so enjoyed the occasion that he gave money for Jack to buy a trophy and so the Dick Wood Cup was born.
Jon Scales was presented with the Dick Wood Cup and Ismail was named man of the match but although Gymkhana Club had won the cricket, British Club had won matches played in squash, tennis and golf so they retained the Chairmen’s Cup which was first played for in 2021.
Sir Nick White then held his regular fines session with one sheet of paper containing enough information for him to continue the session as the sun set at the end of a beautiful day. Gymkhana Club captain Jon Scales was in his element as Covid compliant slammers were shared by all and the audience was kept entertained until the British Club players had to make their way to the airport on the way back to Bangkok.