International Koh Chang Beach Cricket Tournament
UNBELIEVABLE! PATTAYA CRICKET CLUB VISIT KOH CHANG FOR BEACH CRICKET
Last weekend was the annual International Koh Chang Beach Cricket Tournament hosted by the Siam Royal View with it’s spectacular beach, amazing Shambhala Bar and infinity swimming pool. Ten teams from all over Asia competed in two groups of five and Pattaya Cricket Club arrived with at best an eclectic squad that promised much off the field but little on it.
And so it proved with a resounding defeat in their opening league match against Pangolin. However, having clearly listened to Captain Simon’s inspiring (bollocking!) team talk fortunes were reversed and after a revision in the scorebook the second fixture ended in victory. Even more remarkably a last ball victory over last year’s champions the British Club followed. To confound even the most die-hard cricket fan the man of the match in that game was Gavin ‘The String’ Perfect, a man who had not played cricket since he left school, made even more remarkable by the fact he actually never went to school.
On to Sunday, a day of rest for many but not for PCC. After batting first let’s just say they there was nothing in the score to suggest an upset and the defeat was duly administered by the extremely efficient Koh Chang All Stars. After all the stress and strain of the qualifying rounds PCC had finished mid table and were therefore scheduled for the coveted Wooden Spoon Final.
Fitness tests prior to the start for Bobby ‘Not So’ Young (age and a heavy cold) and Outback Bar Andre (loss of confidence) meant both were unavailable for selection, thank goodness. PCC won the toss and elected to bowl first against a buoyant Parrots team. Jez ‘ Fastest on the Eastern Seaboard (for his age)’ Lees bowled the first over and introduced the dier delivery for the first time in the weekend. It comprehensively deceived the batsman but unfortunately it died too early as it did not have sufficient momentum to knock the bails off. The String, full of confidence, was brought back down to earth as his over ended with him suffering from whiplash as he kept watching the ball disappear over his head. John ‘Also Not So’ Young conceded as much as The String but in extras rather than boundaries. The more ‘experienced’ PCC cricketers in the odd shapes of Captain Simon, Jason Darby and the giant Bernie steadied the ship as PCC restricted the Parrots to 54 runs.
A solid start was needed to create the platform from which a victory charge could be launched. So Jez proceeded to run himself out first ball to score minus five runs but then used his deceptive speed to scamper 5 singles and bring the score back to where he started. The String made a nuisance of himself in scoring 7 runs and John was resolute in defence making a further 5 runs. The Captain upped the tempo with a breezy 15 runs and Jason destroyed the bowling with a fantastic 18. 10 runs to win, you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. Bernie hit the first ball for 2 but missed the second. Singles from the next two and 2 from the penultimate delivery meant a boundary from the last was required. Bernie rocked onto the back foot and hit through the line to dispatch the ball over extra cover. It looked to be the boundary PCC needed but the soft sand pulled the ball up inches short of the rope. Fortunately, Bernie is 6 feet 9 inches tall and his enormous stride length made short work of the runs required but sadly he could only complete 3 before the ball was returned to the keeper. It was a tie! What a finish and who could believe it?
The highlight for most was the achievements of the Thai cricketers who won the Cup Final and picked the individual playing awards. This tournament is largely about introducing the game of cricket to the Thais regardless of the standard and rules and it was a delight to see so many flourish.
PCC’s next fixture is against the old enemy the British Club at the Thai Polo Ground on Saturday 9th September and all are welcome to pop down and get involved. Please contact the club via the Facebook page or visit the website www.pattayacricketclub.com.