It was an exciting day for everyone associated with PCC and after nearly 18 months of meticulous construction and preparation the first ever game of cricket was about to be played at the Thai Polo Ground.
As players, officials and spectators gathered in the colonial white tents it was evident by the expressions on their faces the venue was already a success. They were greeted by magnificent scenic views all around the ground which in turn accompanied the immaculate outfield with its extensive 70 meter boundary markers dandily fluttering in the light breeze and a lush, green, perfectly flat artificial wicket just inviting batsmen to fill their boots.
The Pattaya Cricket Club team lines up prior to the opening fixture at their new home ground.
PCC captain Simon Philbrook unsurprisingly won the toss and elected to bat first as the sun beat down from the bright blue sky above. John G and Dan Nicholson soon settled in and both completed 30 runs before retiring. John Spiers and Simon continued the run fest before reaching their quotas and Richard Holt simply mashed a further 30 not out to leave the BC demoralized and wondering if they would ever take a wicket. Usman and Richard ‘Calamity’ Grunwell duly obliged by missing straight ones from the wily Jack Dunford and were sent on their way lbw. Finally the innings closed at 189 after the allotted 25 overs.
After a light afternoon tea consisting of khao soi and salad for the thin boys and burger and chips for the rather larger waisted players, the BC batsmen started the run chase as the burgeoning crowd continued to generously contribute to the bar takings.
Usman made the point very clear early on that there was plenty in the wicket for those willing to bend their backs as he moved the ball both ways off the seam and in the air to be at times almost unplayable. The ever-blossoming Nick White showed his class as he battled through the opening onslaught and made his 30 runs whilst the rest of the batsmen struggled.
Eventually, after many a calamitous moments from both batting and fielding sides, the innings was wrapped up as Clarke McKeown blocked the final over to ensure the BC were not all out, which represented some sort of victory. BC were ultimately 83 runs short of their target.
But the result was not what the day was all about. The very first game of cricket had been completed at the Thai Polo Ground and what a success it had been, even the bar was drunk dry!
“Today was one large step in what has been a very short walk for PCC,” commented club captain and chairman Simon Philbrook. “It is marvellous to see the club flourishing in such a short period of time and the new venue is a dream come true, not only for me but for the PCC members and cricketers in Thailand. With the clubhouse planned for completion before the end of the year this facility will only get better and we are very privileged and fortunate all at the same time.”
A very special thank you on behalf of Pattaya Cricket Club has to go to Harold Link and Nunthinee Tanner for all their commitment and effort in ensuring this fabulous facility is now a reality.