PHUKET: The cricketing fraternity on Phuket is preparing for the upcoming 2011/2012 Island Furniture League, and all fixtures will be played at the sport’s new dedicated facility – the Alan Cooke Ground (ACG) in Thalang.
Martin Foster, club affairs representative of the Phuket Cricket Group, which is responsible for organizing and running the league, is looking forward to seeing the teams compete at their new home.
“The ground will have a lush cover of grass, so expect to see many more players diving around in the field. The synthetic turf pitch will also result in a much more consistent bounce, enabling the batsmen to play their shots with more confidence,” said Martin.
With a new facility on the horizon, the appeal of playing cricket in Phuket is attracting more players.
“We expect to have at least six teams this season, which is testament to the popularity cricket is gaining here in Phuket,” added Martin.
Many different nationalities are involved with cricket on the island, including the main test nations of England, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand. In addition, a Thai youth team will also compete in the league.
The main senior competition is played on a Sunday and is a 35-40 over format. There is also likely to be a 20/20 competition for “die-hards” who can’t get enough cricket.
Expect to see more events and touring sides, such as the Singapore Cricket Club, due to play here in November 2011. The prestigious Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), known as the home of cricket, will also play at the ACG as part of their Thailand tour in February, 2012.
In March, 2012, the ACG will host the Thailand Youth Games’ cricket competition, with the local Phuket team hoping to secure a medal, if not becoming outright Thai Youth cricket champions.
With only a few weeks remaining before the start of the new season, anyone interested in playing or assisting in any way should contact the Phuket Cricket Group.
“We’re always interested in welcoming new people, whether they are players or just want to enjoy relaxing with friends watching the game,” said Martin.
— Neil Quail
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