Lanna head to the beach in Koh Chang

Lanna CC have just returned from taking part in the seventh edition of the fabulous Koh Chang Beach Cricket Competition and the team, showing off their new style uniforms, played a full part in what was again a superb event that was again organized by Steve Perry at Serenity Resort and involved several other local sponsors.

There were a remarkable 16 teams of six players who made their way from Koh Chang as well as many officials and spectators that included Roddy Lorimer on the trumpet who accompanied Lanna CC on this trip and gave his usual fine musical accompaniment. There were four qualifying groups of four teams and the finishing positions determined which semi-finals the teams were to play in on the final day and each team played three matches of six overs aside with all players to bat and bowl for one over of five balls.

The event started on the last Friday of August and the first seven matches were played on the first afternoon as many teams made the effort to arrive early including Lamphun Girls team, the Thai Red Caps, who won their first match by beating Hillfitst a new local team. Cher was player manager and hit 43 from the first over of the tournament as he hit several head high full tosses for six.

Lanna lost their opening match to Koh Chang C but it was great to see the team arrive early for the tournament and also benefit from a practice match. Ian Harling deserves great credit for getting the team there and back with everything running to schedule. There was a buffet held for the teams on Friday evening at 15 Palms on White Sand Beach and it was then early to bed for a busy day on Saturday that saw 17 matches contested.

Three teams won all three of their group games, Black Parrots, Pattaya Stallions and Koh Chang A but although Lanna won both their games on Saturday they finished third with three teams level on four points as they all won two and lost one match which meant Koh Chang C were the fourth semi-finalist in the Cup division. A long day was finished off by another visit to 15 Palms.

Sunday was going to see eight semi-finals in four divisions and four finals with a ladies and kids match in between so everybody got a chance to play cricket on the beach at the splendid Shambhala Resort. Koh Chang B were the first team to reach the final of the Chopstick Division as they beat Hillfist and the British Club Swingers defeated the Pattaya Carthorses.

The Thai Redcaps who had done well to reach the third division lost to the Southerners but it was great to see them playing against a team that included Eddie Joyner as well as Champ and Chanchai. Lanna who welcomed back Chris Coombes on his return to Thailand even seemed fresher than the Pangolins from Malaysia as they also reached the Golden Spoon Final.

The Second Division teams were playing for the Egg Cup and the Lord of Beers renamed Ali Baba who were strengthened by the addition of Cher as sixth player beat the British Club Master Batters in the first semi-final. Pattaya’s useful second teams the Thoroughbreds were too strong for the Phuket Penguins who were able to give several Lamphun girls some more cricket.

Two Koh Chang teams had made it to the Cup semi-finals and the talk on Saturday night was all about a new era in Koh Chang cricket but the dreams turned to nightmares as Koh Chang A lost to Pattaya Stallions and Koh Chang C were beaten by previous winners the Black Parrots.

To nobody’s surprise the ladies and junior match ended as a tie but had been enjoyed by all who played in the contest, whether wives, sons or daughters of participants in the main competition and the match was a good warm-up for the four finals that would bring down the curtain on a fantastic tournament.

British Club Swingers had disappointed in the group stages but defeated Koh Chang B by 52 runs to 37 to win the Chop Stick final and then some great batting from Neville McLean looked to have put Lanna on course for victory against Southerners before Chanchai bowled out Elliot Lodge from the last two balls of the final over to allow Southerners to claim the Golden Spoon by 63 to 50.

Ali Baba against Pattaya Thoroughbreds was also a close contest with the greater experience of the Thoroghbreds just seeing their side through to victory in the Egg Cup final by 57 to 54. The last match of the day was between the Pattaya Stallions and the Black Parrots who had proved to be the two strongest teams of the weekend with each gaining four wins out of four. It was Pattaya Stallions who took the honours by 64 to 50 to complete what Simon Philbrook was calling a grand slam which also included the Chiang Mai Big Bash and the Bangkok A Division as well as the top two trophies in Koh Chang.

A few beers or cocktails followed before the presentations to the four trophy winners and then to the batter of the tournament who was young Poom from Koh Chang as he had hit a ball into the pool for 12 runs and the bowler of the tournament who was Ton Kao who had impressed for the Red Caps and for the Penguins. The overall player of the tournament was Pattaya’s Habby who was a regular wicket-taker and hit two sixes in a tight semi-final.

The seventh Koh Chang Beach Cricket Competition was rounded off by a barbeque provided by the Shambhala Resort where there was plenty of meat as well as vegetarian and Thai food options as well as desserts. Absolutely everybody was already looking forward to next year’s event and we are hoping that many of the teams will make it to Chiang Mai to play in future tournaments.