A junior version of cricket known as Kanga in Australia was chosen as the basis for introducing the sport to school children aged between 8 - 12 years.(The game, its rules, scoring, coaching and tournament format have been adapted and developed locally as the program has grown.)
Leading private Thai, and International
schools were approached to participate in an inter-schools "Junior
Cricket" competition during the Chiang Mai Sixes week. The schools
accepting the challenge were:
Brian Wiggins, a Level 3 Australian coach, on loan to the Thai Cricket League from the Australian Cricket Board, gave the first junior cricket lessons to students from all three schools in the month before the Sixes.
The first Junior Cricket tournament in Chiang Mai was held on 5 - 8th April 2000. Five teams from the three schools took part. Over four days, 12 games were played including a final between the Thai schools, Montfort College and PRC, which was won by Montfort. The event was observed by international cricket representatives, Mike Procter and Andrew Eade.
Prompted by the success of the tournament, and the interest shown by the students, the Chiang Mai Schools Cricket Alliance (CMSCA) was formed at an open meeting on 17th June 2000.
To introduce cricket where it had never been played before, the CMSCA decided it must provide free of charge to all participating schools : a full set of Junior Cricket equipment, and coaching support for teachers (to 'train-the-trainer'), and students.
It was also decided that regular inter-school tournaments should be arranged at different school grounds, to help build enthusiasm and momentum.
The CMSCA held its first tournament in
September 2000 at Prince Royal College.A first new recruit, Lanna International
School Thailand (LIST) joined the founding schools for this tournament,
which was again won by Montfort.
Before this tournament a series of coaching sessions were held with the teachers at the schools. CMSCA coaching certificates were given to all the teachers who took part.
In November 2000, another CMSCA tournament was held at Montfort College. For this tournament there were two age groups, under 13's and under 11's. 6 games were played and 50 children played cricket on the day. A portable scoreboard, specially designed for recording Junior Cricket scores was introduced at this tournament. Medals and Certificates were presented to all players.
In February 2001 Khun Somboon Suprasert, a distinguished Chiang Mai health and social welfare activist, accepted an invitation to join the CMSCA Committee. She perceived the value of the junior cricket program for ordinary Thai community schools, and introduced the CMSCA to a group of government schools. One of the program's volunteer coaches, Eric Little, introduced another group of schools from a rural area south of Chiang Mai.
Intensive coaching for the government schools was undertaken to bring their students to a sufficient standard so that they could compete in the 2nd Sixes Junior Cup (as it was now called) to be played again in parallel with the Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes tournament in April 2001. Brian Wiggins spent two weeks in Chiang Mai in March 2001, visiting many of the schools and coaching more than 350 children. Additional coaching was provided by school teachers and local CMSCA volunteers.
Teams from six schools played in this 2nd Sixes Junior Cup competition on 3rd -7th April 2001.
Twelve teams, in two age groups, participated, 18 matches were played and 120 children took part. Montfort College again won the finals in both age groups. However the government schools performed very well (providing a finalist, Rong-Or and a semi-finalist, Sai Moon school ), considering the limited coaching they had received at that stage.
Nasim ul-Ghani, ICC Regional Development Manager at that time attended the tournament and assisted in coaching the students. UNICEF Thailand sent their Youth Ambassador, the Thai movie star Kathaleeya McIntosh, to meet the children and to present the medals .
Roger Binny, ACC Development Officer, and Ravinder Ghai of TCL were guests at the September tournament and presented the medals to all participants.
For all the tournaments in 2001 - 2002 matches were played simultaneously on two adjacent pitches, in order to increase the number of games that could be played in one day. This innovation was a great success, but necessitated the construction of an additional score board.
In Jan/ Feb 2002, approaches made earlier to the Thailand Cricket League (TCL) to help support the introduction of 'junior cricket' into Thai schools in the Bangkok area began to bear fruit. Proposals for development work based on the successful Chiang Mai program were also presented to the Asian Cricket Council. In the meantime the TCL had indentified sufficient funds to be able to appoint Brian Wiggins to begin coaching the Bangkok schools, and in order to differentiate 'junior cricket' from regular hard-ball cricket played by juniors, the name was changed to 'SAWASDEE CRICKET". This name was also immediately adopted by the CMSCA for use in Chiang Mai.
A 40-page Thai language booklet explaining Junior (now Sawasdee) Cricket and giving practical advice has been written and a copy given to all children currently playing cricket.
A simplified Junior (now Sawasdee) Cricket score sheet has been developed for use in all games, where normally the umpire in charge also keeps score.
The program that has developed over
two years in Chiang Mai has been very successful within the limits of
the resources available. As a successful 'pilot' test, it provides a
blueprint for the expansion of Junior (Now known as 'Sawasdee') Cricket.
(The sentences in italics above, outline important elements for the
playing of 'Junior Cricket' that have been developed by members of the
CMSCA in Chiang Mai. These elements in their entirety have been now
transferred to 'Sawasdee' Cricket.)