With a view to make the game more accessible to a larger audience and to encourage a greater degree of participation, tournament organiser Ashan Fonseka, a former professional from Sri Lanka and Blue Tree life-guard, batted up the idea of using a heavy tennis ball rather than the usual hard, leather-bound ball typically associated with the game.
Each game consisted of two 5-over innings with wide balls penalised with 4 runs to the batting side, but no extra ball. Wide balls were rebowled on the last ball of the 5th and final over of each innings and were added to the 4-run penalty. There was no LBW.
By 8:30am, the first of the round-robin games were underway, with Aqua Gym, Club Med, Patong Penguins, BlueTree, Panthers Unique CC, and Island Boys all jockeying for position within their respective groups.
As the fixtures progressed, the two tournament favourites – Aqua Gym and Penguins – began to assert dominance, eventually with both teams making the semi-final berths, before Club Med and Island Boys joined them, ending the Panthers and BlueTree’s efforts for the day.
The semi-finals eventually saw Aqua Gym and Patong Penguins emerge victorious to book their spots in the final.
Conditions throughout the day remained ideal for cricket, despite heavy rains expected. Aqua Gym opened the final game’s proceedings by sending Rishi and Manish Sadaranghani into open the batting for Aqua Gym.
Rishi was able to drive through the Penguin bowling, eventually retiring on 32, while Anil joined Manish to plough even further through the Penguins attack, and help their team post the tournament’s highest innings score of 99 off five overs.
Requiring just under 20 per over, Penguins needed to be quick out of the blocks, but none of their usually reliable batting line-up could find their rhythm or range, falling well short of the mark on 57 all out.
Aqua Gym captain, Rishi Sadaranghani extended his thanks and praise for the days’s event on receiving the winner’s trophy along with the award for player of the tournament.
“On behalf of all players from Aqua Gym, we would like to thank Blue Tree for putting up this amazing tennis ball tournament, we all thoroughly enjoyed this, thanks to all the management team and support staff,” he said.
“It’s great to see such events and getting different types of cricket formats on the island. Big thanks to you for your full day on the field and your commentary and Raju doing the scoring.
“Thanks to Ashan Fonseka for making this happen at Blue Tree. Hope to see more sports events take place here at Blue Tree in future.”
Manish was awarded the final’s man of the match, while Club Med’s Rajesh and Aqua Gym’s Anil secured best batsman and bowler awards.
A second tournament is being discussed for later in the year – information will be made available via the BlueTree and ACG Facebook pages when this has been confirmed.