22nd April 2018 - Marmots vs Tigers
To all friends of Cricket Mongolia - Adam is away so, despite many lyrical passages on the pitch, there won't be any here. We did however have forty kids playing in the nets and a fantastic game between Mohan's Tigers and Dhan's Marmots, with Tigers clinching it by 4 runs with 3 balls to spare.
There were some brave performances from the 12 Mongolian teenagers that played. They are now contributing (very) meaningfully to games with the 20 or so Mongol Nomads (mixed adult Mongolians and expats) that make up "senior cricket" in the country and can rarely put up two sides.
Man of the match goes to Tiger Enkhuush for his absolutely superb bowling, leaving honorable mentions in his wake. These go to Marmot Chuluuna (whose fine bowling and fielding took 3 wickets) and Tiger Andrew (who abandoned himself entirely to agricultural heaving towards cow corner and who ruined many bowlers averages today on his way to 47).
Cricket Mongolia Tutorial inspired by Andrew's (must have been hugely enjoyable) innings:
Mr Andrew Bradshaw scored a marvellous 47 to 49 today at the Mongolian Friendship Cricket Ground.
Interestingly, a high percentage of scoring shots were to an area of the field or boundary referred to as "Cow Corner".
"Cow corner (үхэр булан). The area of the field (roughly) between deep mid-wicket and wide long-on. So called because few 'legitimate' shots are aimed to this part of the field, so fielders are rarely placed there – leading to the concept that cows could happily graze in that area."
A tranquil visit from a fine herd in late March did not collide with Andrew's happy innings today. It was a truly great knock (and MCA will be reviewing it's үхэр булан insurance policies).
End of tutorial.
Thanks to Jai, Harsh, Nadish and Mingur for paying their subs today - it is much appreciated. Those that haven't may find themselves dropping in the batting order!
Bank name - Xac Bank
Account number - 5002038113
Account name - монголын крикетийн холбоо
Annual subscription - MNT 160,000
New members get a (highly desirable) Cricket Mongolia polo shirt and we will try to make sure that people play at least 7 MCA organised matches with access to the kit. Members can also organise matches at the ground independently and are entitled to a Mongolian Cricket Jersey at a reduced price (the first batch are being made as we speak in Erdenet).
Subs are very much appreciated and we encourage all members to help forward the wider vision of introducing cricket to Mongolia in the right spirit for future generations.
19th April 2018 - great news this week is that work started on the Oyu Tolgoi Cricket Ger'vilion on Thursday. Two fantastic chaps from Modern Ger LLC (get your gers here) are making numerous precise and deep holes for the foundation of the platform. Early days but It looks so far like it will be a great quality build, approached with the care that this unique building deserves!
For those that do not know, Oyu Tolgoi LLC, part owned by Rio Tinto, have learnt about Cricket Mongolia's work with the kids since the building of Mongolia's first cricket pitch in 2016 and have decided to help us with much needed funds. The cricket outreach programme works on a weekly basis with two orphanages (a third in the summer) 5 state schools, mostly in Ulaanbaatar's ger district and a couple of private schools. Around 250 - 300 kids play each week and over 1,500 have tried it in the last year. Up from 15 kids in 2015! They really enjoy it and are making great new friends.
Currently we keep everything in containers full of spiky gardening equipment and fertiliser, and when it rains or snows the kids all pile in on top, which is not right. The Ger'vilion will be the heart of cricket in Mongolia and will provide shelter from heat, cold and rain for all that come down as well as a place for people to change in private.
Oyu Tolgoi's contribution means that the capital expenses of the gound development programme are 90% covered now, so all future donations and grants can be diverted to growing our Mongolian coaching team and getting cricket played in more state schools. There are 20 more schools that have asked to join the scheme, and Cricket Gods Willing, we hope to be able to do that from September 2018. Please see here for help that is needed to achieve this.
15th April 2018 - Wolves vs Tigers, putting up the nets & indoor session
To all friends of Cricket Mongolia - it was another glorious day of Mongolian cricket yesterday with activity all over the place. The kids indoor session at Zaisan went ahead at 10am, and the adults gathered at the ground from 11am. While waiting for the latecomers to arrive (you know who you are!), some of us had a go at sorting out bags of kit, matching up gloves etc. This was harder than it looked with plenty of identical left hand gloves and plenty of identical right ones but few actual pairs. Given the amount of kit we have there now we may need most of the ground in order to sort everything out.
With the latecomers arrived, Adam and Mohan tossed up, and, surprise, Mohan called correctly for the fifth time in a row. At what point should we start to become suspicious? Mohan chose to field this time, and with the help of the first new ball of the season this seemed to be a good call as the Wolves opening pair, Adam and Dhan had a fairly torrid time with Mohan and Jai swinging the ball significantly and conceding almost nothing from their first few overs. Arun and Namit continued where they had left off, but as the shine came off the ball both batsmen were able to play a few strokes. However Adam was bowled by Namit's worst ball of the day, a full toss that crashed directly into the stumps as Adam tried to heave it over square leg, bringing Atul to the crease with 34 on the board. Atul and Dhan played sensibly to build the score up to 61 before Dhan caught hold of a ball from Suresh which looked to be flying for a one bounce four or even a six before Arun, running backwards, stuck out a hand for a spectacular catch. Arun immediately checked to see if he was still inside the boundary, showing just how close Dhan had been to a six.
Two down for 61. Nadish joined Atul who was going nicely until he spooned a delivery from Namit to Harsh who gratefully accepted the catch. Nadish hadn't really got going by this point, but together with Mingur, next in, they played a few nice shots as the score pushed up towards 100. Mingur caught a ball from Mintu perfectly, straight back over the bowlers head and clearing the Songino end boundary for six before being bowled the next over by Mohan. Harsh clipped a ball from his dad to Dhan at slip bringing Arun (a late transfer from the Tigers) to the crease. However Mohan restricted them to singles from the last over and the score rather fizzled out at 108, maybe 20 runs below par. Dhan top scored with 25, closely followed by Atul with 20 and Nadish, 17 not out at the end. The wickets were reasonably well shared around with Namit taking two, Mohan, Jai and Suresh one each.
The Tigers openers walked out knowing they just needed to bat through their overs and they would score the runs. The irrepressible Mintu had a few scares on his way to 15 before being trapped lbw by Dhan, and Rakesh had reached the same score when he was clean bowled by Arun's first ball. This only brought the dangerous Namit and Mohan to the crease, and the Tiger's captain decided to enjoy the bowling, scoring a series of fours and a big six before being bowled by Nadish for 41. Jai came out to join Namit with not many more needed, and the two made light work of it before Namit retired on 19 with just a handful to get in order to give Suresh a first bat of the season. Jai then hit the winning runs, ending up 12 not out. Not much joy for the Wolves bowlers. Arun bowled a very tidy 3 overs taking 1 for 10, while Nadish ended up with 1 for 17 and Dhan 1 for 25. One big plus for the both sides - the early season wide count came down significantly - 16 for the Tigers (still a little high guys) and just 6 for the Wolves of which 5 came in one ball which carried on past Adam to the boundary.
So, another win for the Tigers and another loss for the Wolves. Next week the Tigers take on the Marmots while the Wolves captain is off for some sun, sea and sand in Hong Kong. And some new recruits maybe.
While all this activity was going on on the pitch, a devoted team led by Chris and Tulga were getting the nets up. A big hand to these two who resisted the temptation to wield bat or ball for the greater good of the club - and also thanks to the cadets who helped them do it. Hopefully we have more people who know how to do this now which will stand us in good stead for the future. We will also need to have a kit sorting session at some point, I am very happy to coordinate this but would appreciate some volunteers to help out. Many hands make light work as they say.
Also, many thanks to Mintu, Rakesh, Mohan and Arun who paid their annual subs yesterday. I know I sound like a broken record at this time of year, but it does cost us money to keep the ground going and if you play, you do need to make your contribution. Our bank account is:
Bank name - Xac Bank
Account number - 5002038113
Account name: монголын крикетийн холбоо
Please feel free to put some money in there even if you don't play! It goes to the great cause of grassroots cricket in Mongolia.
Next weekend is looking pretty good so far, 18'C and partly cloudy. Try to follow on the Facebook group if you want an update through the week and if you are not on the Facebook group, send a message to www.fb.com/cricket.mongolia and we'll get you on it.
Until next time,
7th April 2018
To all friends of Cricket Mongolia. No game as it wasn't quite warm enough but we had a fantastic indoor session with the kids at Zaisan - 20 boys and 14 girls aged 10 to 16 taking part. Thanks to all those who showed up to help out.
This week Sunday is looking quite good, with a maximum of 15'C in the afternoon, but crucially already 9'C at 11am and with no high winds forecast. So if today's snow has made you dream of summer pleasures, come and join us at the ground at 11am on Sunday.
See you there!
Saturday March 31st 2018
To all friends of Cricket Mongolia. The warm spring weather held out, but with the forecast for wind later in the day an early start was required at the Friendship Ground. A decent crowd gathered by 11am and while a few players practised in the nets, the captains for the Wolves (Adam) and the Marmots (Chris) tossed up with Adam winning and, despite the successful run chase in the previous game, electing to bat.
Adam and Mohan opened but Adam quickly fell caught behind by Dhan to a rising ball from Amraa who then proceeded to bowl the longest over ever seen at the ground. Moving swiftly on, Mohan quickly established himself batting solidly but lost Davaa and Andrew in quick succession before the dependable Atul joined him at the crease. The Wolves had reached 75 when Mohan was caught by Namit from Chris's bowling. Chris then disposed of Phil in the same over and Nadish had Atul caught by Chulunaa as he tried to accelerate. The Wolves appeared to be in some trouble at 76 for 6 before Mingur strode to the crease and proceeded to club the ball to all corners of the ground for a quick fire 27 from just 7 scoring shots. When he eventually missed a straight one from Nadish and was bowled he left the wicket with the biggest smile of the day. Turmunkh added a few at the end to leave the Wolves on 121 from their 20 overs with a top score of 35 from Mohan and a very generous contribution of 29 wides from the Marmots. The wickets were spread around, with 2 each for Nadish, Chulunaa and Chris and one for Amraa.
The Marmots started well in their chase for what looked like a fairly par score. Dhan and Puje (in the Marmot team replacing Sam who had to leave early) put on 43 without looking too troubled despite a couple of confident shouts for caught behinds from Adam being ignored by the umpires. But Adam eventually got his man when Puje feathered a straightening ball from Atul directly to him. Dhan now had his eye in and was looking dangerous, and after the early departure of Nadish, combined well with Namit to push the score over 100. However Namit fell for 24 including 4 solid 4s, and the Wolves took their chance, removing Turbold and Chris to leave Dhan batting with Chulunaa at the start of the last over, with 8 runs still needed. With Davaa bowling, Chulunaa was caught first ball, however the batsmen had crossed which gave Dhan the all important strike. With the field back, the next ball was a valuable dot ball. Advantage Wolves. Dhan scored 2 from the next ball but the fourth ball was one too much for Baljaa who was unable to get back to the non-strikers end and was run out. 5 needed from 2 balls and the advantage definitely with the Wolves now. But, under pressure, Davaa bowled a wide. 4 from the last 2 balls and Dhan again managed a quick run 2, with Amraa now at the non-strikers end. 2 needed from the last ball. Davaa bowled a good one, but Dhan attacked it straight down the ground and directly to Atul who threw in hard over the stumps at the bowlers end just as the batsmen were taking their second run. The run out would tie the game. But Davaa and Harsh between them could not quite connect the ball with the stumps, allowing Amraa to get back and complete the 2nd run, winning the tie for the Marmots. After 40 overs of cricket it could not have been much closer.
Best bowling from the Wolves was from Atul (2 for 8 from 4 overs) and Mingur (3 for 13 from 4 overs. Two contrasting performances stand out for Man of the Match. Dhan batted solidly throughout the Marmot innings and hit the winning runs in his 64 not out. Mingur by contrast demonstrated a glorious carefree style in clubbing a quick 27 and then taking 3 for 13 - the award this week is therefore shared. A special mention also for our fielders this week with four of our Mongolian contingent taking good catches - Xac-Erdene in his first game, Chulunaa, Baljaa and after a couple of "practice runs", Azaa. Well done all of you, keep up the good work and we will see you again as soon as the weather allows. It isn't clear for next weekend at the moment, but if things improve I will send out a note on Friday.
We also had an excellent indoor tournament on Sunday at the Defence University, with 9 teams of 8 players taking part, with an age range of 10 to 16 years old. There were some excellent performances throughout the day and a lot of fun was had by all. School 87, The Cristina Noble Children's Foundation and School 34 won through from the groups, and the eventual winner was School 34 who defeated CNCF in the final. Individual awards were presented to the top male and female run scorers (Enkh-Amgalan and Tamiraa) and also to players of the tournament (Enkhbat B and Tamiraa again) and then team awards to the gold, silver and bronze winners. You can find plenty of pictures on the Facebook page, in the meantime thanks to Tulga and Davaa for organising, Chris for scoring for 7 hours (with just one cigarette break - cricket is good for you!) and to Dhan, Tamir and Sam Lim for umpiring duties. I inevitably ended up doing the stats so missed some of the later games, but it all sounded very exciting! Massive thanks also to the Australian Embassy's DAP programme for help with funding and providing Cricket Mongolia whites for the teams - they all looked very proud of themselves!
Thanks also to Andrew, Atul and Hitesh for payment of 2018 subs. Well done guys, much appreciated. As you know we do rely in part on players subs in order to maintain our facilities and help to provide transport for the kids to get to sessions, and your contributions are highly valued. Please note that if you don't want to pay for the year, the match fees are MNT16000 per game.
Have a great end of the week - I'll be in touch about the next game when we have an idea of this weekend's weather.
24th March 2018 - Tiger Union vs Bogd Khan Wolves
After a long cold winter, it was a pleasant surprise to find ourselves enjoying a warm weekend so early in the year. So, naturally, thoughts turned to cricket and plenty of it.
Saturday was a mixed session with a good big group of kids who showed up to help us get some of the stones off the pitch before having a training session with Davaa while the adults continued the Sisyphean task (apologies Chris!) of removing the larger rocky offenders from our playing area. Most of the kids left after their session, but some of the larger and keener ones decided to stay on and join in the adult game, a very pleasing development.
The first game of the season saw the Tiger Union take on the Bogd Khan Wolves. Both teams had something to prove after losing out to the Marmot Union in the first season's finale back in September last year and it was the Tiger's captain, Mohan, who took the early advantage, winning the toss and choosing, inevitably, to bat first. After a slightly shaky start, the Tigers reached a fairly par total of 76 for 6 from their 15 overs, with the main contributions coming from Mohan with 15 and Jai with 13. Maybe symptomatic of the lack of match practice this early in the season, however, the largest contribution was wides, which generated 20 much needed runs for the Tigers. Dhan was the most successful bowler for the Wolves, with 2 for 16, while Dolgoon (one of the kids) had the honour of taking the first wicket of the season when he clean bowled Harsh for 4.
The target seemed it might be beyond the Wolves after Dhan and Enkhush fell cheaply, however Davaa started to attack, and Atul offered steady support. But Davaa was bowled (for a very fast 10) by a lovely ball from Harsh who then immediately did the same to Sam leaving the Wolves in some trouble. Wolves captain (and your match reporter) Adam survived the hat trick ball, but was then able to start rebuilding with Atul until mistiming a shot from Jai and being caught by Minjur for 13. At the other end Atul was left to try to salvage something, however eventually ran out of partners just 7 runs short of victory, stranded on 17 not out. Bowling plaudits (and man of the match) go to Harsh for a superb display picking up 4 wickets for 14 runs in just 2.3 overs. Amka, Jai and Chris also picked up wickets.
So, an early season victory for the Tigers on the first day of the season double header. Could the Marmots fight back?
We also have a great session with the little ones at the end! They're looking forward to the final tournament of the indoor season on 1st April (no joke).
25th March 2018 - Tiger Union vs Marmot Union
Sunday was if anything hotter than Saturday, and a certain cricket correspondent even saw fit to expose his upper half to the sun for a while - sunbathing in Mongolia in March indeed, do we need further evidence of climate change? Once the ladies had calmed down, Mohan demonstrated yet again his uncanny skill at knowing which side a coin is going to fall on, and again opted to bat. This decision worked out perfectly for him, but possibly less well for the rest of his team as they posted a measly 44 all out, with Mohan carrying his bat for 26 not out. On the positive side, the total of wides was down to 9. The main bowling performance was from Gantumur with 3 for 11 from his 3 overs, while Chris and Atul also picked up wickets for not many runs.
The Marmots sensed that this was going to be their day and opening pair yours truly and Davaa made steady progress reaching 25 before Davaa missed the first ball from one of his top students, Enkhush, and lost his middle stump. Gantumur, in next, was in no mood to hang about however and with Adam added 20 from the next 15 balls with Gantumur claiming the victory with a big 4 straight down the ground. Adam ended up on 19 not out and Gantumur 10 not out. Other than Enkhush showing his teacher what he could do there was no success for the bowlers and man of the match goes to Gantumur for his 3 for 11 plus a cameo batting performance including striking the winning runs for the Marmots.
It isn't often that we see a successful run chase on the Friendship Cricket Ground, and given the fast run rate we were able to carry on and allow those who had not batted and bowled to have a knock up, particularly allowing the kids to have some valuable pitch time in the middle. Enkhush and Gana both snagged themselves a wicket as did Minjur (not a kid, but maybe an even rarer find - a Tibetan leg spinner!) and Enkhush took a very nice catch to dismiss Chris, so very well done to him and to all of them.
Best news of the day was certainly the positive involvement of so many of the kids on our first weekend - from helping to collect stones, to helping me extract and store the cows contributions to our ground improvement project :), to training and finally competing alongside adults who have many years of experience. Well done to everyone who took part in this. It was also good to see some new adult faces at the ground over the weekend and we look forward to welcoming you back during the season. With a close eye on the weather we are hopeful that we can have an outdoor session again this coming Saturday (31st) and would also like to invite everyone to come to the kids indoor tournament at the Defence University on Sunday April 1st.