The following articles have been taken from the newspaper, The Bangkok Post. The dates are unknown.
Junior Cricket Begins To Flourish Up North
The Chiang Mai Schools Cricket Association (CMSCA) held its first inter-schools Kanga cricket tournament on Saturday September 16 , at the Prince Royal College campus in Chiang Mai . The all-day event involved teams of boys&girls aged 8-12 years from Prince Royal College , Montfort College , Chiang Mai International School , and Lanna International School of Thailand . After a round-robin competition between the teams , the two Thai schools, Prince Royal and Montfort , emerged as finalists. Then , in an exciting finale , the boys of Montfort College hit 3 'sixes' and 9 'fours' on their way to becoming worthy winners of the tournament against the mixed girls&boys team from Prince Royal College.
The CMSCA , which hopes to stage regular competitions
like this one , was formed earlier this year by schools interested in
following up a United Nations/ICC worldwide initiative to promote cricket
among youngsters. Kanga is a junior version of the sport , played with
a soft ball , and with rules which simplify cricket and allow everyone
on a team equal opportunities to bat and bowl . Judging by the enthusiasm
among watching parents and teachers, and the young players , this first
tournament among CMSCA member-schools was a great success. The Association
soon hopes to attract more local Thai schools to become members and
to take up Kanga for their 8-12 year old students.
Current Acting-Chairman of the CMSCA , Peter Dawson said
, "we've found that Kanga is quite easy and fun for Thai schoolchildren
to pick-up and play. But we recognise that their teachers need coaching
help and of course they can't play without equipment. The CMSCA is offering
train-the trainer courses for the Thai school teachers , as well as
back-up video & written instruction on how to play. We are also
arranging sets of Kanga playing gear to be given to any schools that
join the Association. As of now , it's an open invitation , and the
membership , coaching , and equipment are all arranged free of
Mr. Dawson went on to explain that , "financial
support is of course a key ingredient. And to-date equipment & coaching
help have all been funded by the Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes
Tournament. But Kanga cricket which began in Australia is almost 'owned'
there by the Nestle beverage brand Milo , and we hope in time we might
attract their attention , or the attention of another commercial sponsor
interested in helping us to help Thai school children learn and enjoy
Kanga cricket in this country."
Junior Cricket Thrives in the North
The Chiang Mai Schools Cricket Alliance (CMSCA), formed just over a year ago with 4 founding - member schools , now boasts 20 local schools that have enthusiastically taken up junior cricket .The sport is catching on in Chiang Mai as officials of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) and Thailand Cricket League (TCL) discovered at the CMSCA's latest inter-schools tournament . The CMSCA says the only limitation on faster expansion is the need for funding for trained coaching support in Thailand.
The CMSCA's focus is on promoting a junior version of the sport of cricket for youngsters aged between 9 - 12 years old. It is perhaps the only sporting body , certainly in Chiang Mai , involving both Thai and International schools. " The cultural exchange is an important part of the attraction as far as the school teachers are concerned , but for the Thai children especially, junior cricket is simply a new game to enjoy , and one they play very successfully." So said Peter Dawson , the Acting Chairman of the CMSCA , at the most recent inter-schools tournament arranged by the Alliance. The tournament was held on Sept 30th at the grounds of Sai Moon school near the village of Hang Dong, with eight school teams taking part. Observers at the event were Development Officer for the ACC and Indian ex-international all-rounder Roger Binny, as well as Ravinder Ghai, the TCL's own Development Officer. The two were joined by committee members of the CMSCA including Thai health and welfare activist Khun Somboon Suprasert an enthusiastic promoter of the Alliance's aims who has introduced several schools to the CMSCA.
To accommodate all schools taking part in the one-day tournament, it was limited to 11-12 year old student teams, split into two groups playing round-robins on parallel fields. The winners of the two groups , Sai Moon and Baan Nam Phrae schools played each other in the Final . The host school, Sai Moon, narrowly ran out as tournament winners scoring 231 runs vs 219 for second placed Baan Nam Phrae. In the play-off for third place between the group runners-up, the pre-tournament favourites Montfort College edged out Rong-Or School. Thanks to a generous donation from Chiang Mai based company Dimon Leaf (Thailand)Ltd., medals were awarded to members of the winning teams , and infact all those taking part also received a 'participant' medal.
Following this third successful inter-schools tournament organised by the CMSCA, Peter Dawson explained how the Alliance is promoting junior cricket among Thai schools. "All the schools we introduce junior cricket to receive the necessary equipment - bats, stumps and balls - and coaching , free of charge from the CMSCA . This is not a very expensive operation - the rubber balls (although old tennis balls will do at a pinch) are probably the most expensive item because they come from Australia and cost 120 Baht each." He goes on to explain the joys and frustrations involved : " When we bring junior cricket into a school, we always get terrific response from the children, and its wonderful to see how naturally so many Thai schoolchildren take to the game of cricket.We seem to have the formula right too in terms of providing the equipment , and training the teachers to run the games , then arranging regular inter-school events with awards for those taking part. But our real limitation is coaching manpower. We could cover lots more schools, the demand is there, but at the moment we are 80% dependent for coaching on one volunteer. Eric Little, a retired Australian resident of Chiang Mai, helps as many of the schools as he can on a weekly basis with coaching sessions. But clearly he can only do so much. We are becoming shy of taking on more schools incase we can't coach them properly, and because we will soon need to start running qualifying competitions to keep these inter-school tournaments to manageable size." Mr Dawson sees this less as a problem, more as an opportunity for the future of cricket in Thailand , and he feels strongly the answer lies in the appointment of a professional coach.
"History has shown that cricket is a sport well suited to hot climates, perhaps even better suited than soccer - look at India , Pakistan , Australia , West Indies and think about their records in cricket vs football ! In Chiang Mai we have seen that the demand and the talent for cricket is there in Thai schools. The CMSCA has proved in a small way that a viable programme to introduce and foster cricket at a junior level in Thai schools is not difficult or particularly expensive to achieve. So why not in Bangkok and the rest of the country?"asks Peter Dawson. He recognises that starting this has probably been easier in a smaller area like Chiang Mai, but says "we need Bangkok It will never become an accepted Thai sport without eventual leadership from Bangkok. And we need a professional cricket coach for Thailand with full time commitment to leading the development of the sport here and training other part-time or volunteer coaches."
This is not entirely a pipe dream of Peter Dawson's. Bangkok has taken its own cricket development steps at the junior level, albeit mostly among International and Thai-Indian school children to-date. And a successful Australian Cricket Board (ACB) registered professional coach already has a close knowledge of, and association with Thailand. He is Brian Wiggins who coached schoolchildren in Bangkok and Chiang Mai on a short term secondment with the TCL in 1999-2000 , but who lacks a full-time appointment to carry on the work he began so successfully. " Funding is the key", says Peter Dawson. "We have heard keen interest expressed for the development of cricket among Thai children by several bodies, not least UNICEF, the International Cricket Council (ICC), the ACC, and even the ACB. We have even had one or two commercial sponsorship enquiries. But to-date no one has made the all-important financial commitment. We have a successful programme outline, we have the demand, we even have the proven coaching leadership waiting in the wings... if these organizations truely wish to see cricket develop in Thailand, now is the hour to kick-in with financial support."
Sai Moon win again - A new game for Thailand ?
The children of Sai Moon School near Hang Dong, Chiang Mai took full advantage of playing on their home field, winning their second Chiang Mai Schools Cricket Alliance (CMSCA) junior cricket tournament in a row. Having won the season's earlier tournament also held at Sai Moon in September for Grade5/ 6 students, the Sai Mooners confirmed their current cricketing prowess in the latest tournament held on December 2 for younger (Grade 4/5)students. Infact not only did the Sai Moon youngsters win, but they provided both teams for the final!
In addition to the two teams from Sai Moon, Montfort College, Rong Or, and Sahagon 2 schools were also represented. Six teams began the day, all smartly turned out in their various team colours. Divided into two groups of three teams each, round robin matches were played simultaneously on parallel pitches at Sai Moon's spacious grounds. The winners of each group then contested the final, while there was a play-off for third place among all four runners-up. Umpiring for the day were the CMSCA's own volunteer coach Eric Little, and guest umpire Brian Wiggins, an international cricket coach registered with the Australian Cricket Board, who has contributed much to coaching young players in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Two of the CMSCA's officials , acting-Chairman Peter Dawson, and Committee Member Mark Varney also leant a hand in running the games.
In an exciting final , highlighted by some excellent fielding on both sides, the Sai Moon B team, batting second, scored 221 runs to just pip their rivals Sai Moon A (220 runs) for the gold medals, by one run. In the third place play-off, Rong Or school (220 runs) just shaved past Montfort (218) in another cliff-hanger. Dimon Leaf Ltd. again sponsored medals for all players.
The tournament was further proof, if proof were needed,
that junior cricket is alive and flourishing in Chiang Mai. "The
Thai children love the game and those who've graduated from junior to
regular cricket show great promise", says Coach Wiggins. He believes
that some of these children could already qualify to play for Thailand
under 13's, and with another few months of coaching will easily make
the national under 15's. Wiggins, a qualified Level 3 coach, who has
coached cricket successfully in other non-traditional cricket countries
suggests " the success of Chiang Mai points to a nationwide opportunity
for junior cricket." He enthuses that "Thai children seem
to have a natural sporting ability combined with the spirit to enjoy
themselves., and junior cricket brings all of this out in them."