2011 Chiang Mai Sixes

April 3, 2011

by Ian Gason

After the highs of the successful 2010 Chiang Mai Sixes tour, 2011 was all set for a spectacular come-down. None of you regular Tokyo based Wombats made the tour. Unsuccessful attempts get a side – and then to just get players – from my Melbourne club also failed. Andy Hall’s Adelaide contingent failed to materialize. And in the 11th hour I was told no Sri Lankan star players were available.

Paul Knighton of the quiz-dominating Men In Black answered the call, and Chiang Mai veteran Wani took us to four. Still two short, but me and Marty were not going to let that get in the way of a good time. Then, at 11pm, 9 hours before departure, Marty tells me he has lost his passport, and I was actually NOT looking forward to the trip.

One hour later, “I’VE FOUND IT!!!!” comes through, and 16 hours later, I’m sitting in a bar at KL airport with the (other) seven tour veteran, Marty.

At the welcome party we met team-mate #5, Gedd, from Awali, who was allegedly a wicket keeper, but definitely partial to a beverage or two. Team-mate #6 was Jason from Darwin, a 7 foot tall alcohol ingesting machine. At 1am we found him sleeping in a chair on the footpath on the corner of Cow Corner. Over an hour of efforts from 3 of us, including asking the two Boys In Brown not to arrest him just yet, we sent him by Tuk-Tuk 200m metres down the road to the Central. He didnt make it. Or the game the next day.

Luckily Yorkshire Puddings had loaned us their spare man, Jazz, who turned out to be our player of the week.

Past tourists will know the nocturnal routine, Irish Pub, Bermuda Triangle, Spiceys, a couple of trips to S.N. Jenny’s bar (Bubbles remains closed). Irish Pub’s Vicki has great new restaraunt which is set to become a Dingbat regular. We did venture out of the comfort zone to the hi-so Warm-Up and some other bar where the best way to handle an 8am game was to get shit-faced and crawl home well after 4.

On the pitch we were somewhat lagging. One quality player short (some would say 6….) our cause was not helped by Taranaki’s willingness to play the forward defensive to Marty and Wani – we won. Somehow we lost to Awali – probably a result of not scoring as many runs as them. Our week high came in the much anticipated Wombat Derby. I opened with Wani, and we both enjoyed a 30 retired. Extras chipped in and took us to 118 (off 30 balls) the week’s highest total, and 8 runs short of an all time record – if I hadnt taken mercy on a bowler’s umpteenth wide, we might still be batting. Satisfying as the thumping was, it was good to finally have a beer with those blokes.

We snuck into the Bowl (The Taranaki Tavere’s should’ve had that slot) and this is when our lack of depth was exposed. Both our 2nd stage games were winnable, v Chiang Mai Hot-Dogs (Reshi and Tariq and co) and Darwin (Jason was MIA again/still) but through bad cricket, bad captaincy and a bit of bad luck (it was plumb, wasn’t it, Marty!!?) we lost ’em both, and at 10am Friday our tour was over.

We probably only took 5 wickets all week, and only one catch. Wani and me retired once each, which isnt enough. Paul at age almost-60 did well to get through all the games without a breakdown. Marty did get bat on ball this year, but the evidence on the edge of his bat suggests he didn’t middle one. Jazz’s last innings assualt on the Darwin bowling (6 balls, 6 boundaries) almost got us into the semis, and his dry Yorkshire sense of humour was often needed.

Gedd, a beginner by his own admission, accounts for several of my cricketing highlights:

– Standing half way to the fence for all the bowlers, including express men Marty and Jazz and Paul.

– Going out to open v Awali, asking (Marty of all people….), “Do I hit the ball like this {crossbat} or like this {front-foot}?”

– “Appealling” to the umpire that he was safe on an attempted run-out v Awali. (Apparently he was out but Awali didn’t appeal cos they preferred him in!)

– Still managing a duck v Awali.

– Utilizing the “crocodile” technique as a wicket keeper.

He enjoyed himself and it was a pleasure to have him, as well as Wani and Jazz, as team-mates for the week.

And the Awali fine-session? Six bottles. Marty slaughtered but walking. Big Bob saying “No more- put the bottle away, Marty!”

All in all a fine tour which exceeded my expectations – for three blokes we did pretty well! Not the tour by which all others will be measured, but still plenty of laughs and stories to exaggerate for years to come.

I can hear Jarrad thumping the key-board and saying “That’s not a tour REPORT!! You squat to piss, Curly! Where’s all the GOOD bits!??!”

Yes, well, for a more detailed account of the week, here’s what you do:

Take your dress off. Go to a travel agent. Book yourself to Bangkok on March 30 2012. Take a week off work. Give the wife this quote from the Blues Brothers, “Shut up! I’m the man and you’re the woman!” And pull up a stool at the usual bar and I’ll see if my memory improves.


© Tokyo Wombats Cricket Club