By Richard Lockwood

Thailand’s Phuket island has a magnificent new cricket ground which will see its first matches played this weekend.

The Alan Cooke Ground is set in idyllic surroundings next to a lake in the Thalang district and will host matches between the Phuket Cricket Group (PCG) and a visiting Singapore Cricket Club side.

The island’s first custom built cricket ground is named for Alan Cooke MBE, former British Honorary Consul in Phuket who has worked hard to redevelop various pockets of the island following the devastation of the 2004 tsunami.

Work on developing the ground only started in June this year and yet a smooth turf outfield has been laid; the artificial pitch has been provided by the Cricket Association of Thailand; and an impressive two storey pavilion has been constructed.

The Island Furniture Cricket League in Phuket has been expanded to no fewer than seven teams and all fixtures will be staged on the ground and it is hoped that all players involved will be suitably inspired by the quality of the setting. All league fixtures will be 40-overs per side which should give the youngsters in the Phuket Development team the opportunity to improve their skills.

The development of youth cricket in Phuket is another of Alan Cooke’s passions and he wants to hold regular coaching sessions on his ground, using a bus to ferry the youngsters across the island.

The ACG will host Thailand’s National Youth Cricket Games in March and it is hoped that the Phuket team will give a good account of themselves against the likes of Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Three Thais from the long running Youth Development Program have been selected to play in the 20-over match against Singapore.

Courses have recently been held for umpires and scorers to help them improve standards for the new season on the new ground.

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) are visiting Thailand in February and they will play their first match in Phuket before heading to Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

Phuket Starts
Thailand Cricket Profile

Filed November 4th, 2011