The fourth edition of the Gecko Sixes cricket tournament took place on Saturday 6th August. For the second year running, The West Byfleet Recreation Ground, Surrey played host to this fun filled festival of 5 over cricket.
Despite some early pre-tournament showers, the weather gods were kind, and a full day’s play was enjoyed by all. This year saw a further increase in playing participants, with a turnout of ten teams from far and wide across the country. The rules remained for the most part unchanged from last year’s event, with teams of 6 members and matches of 5 overs per side. One change from last year’s tournament was the introduction of “double runs for girls” and “triple runs for aunties” to encourage wider participation in the event.
The ten teams were divided into two groups, with two teams from each group advancing to the semi-finals. Qualification from Group 1 was fiercely contested between Madu Jayatunga’s Marauders, Geoff Pedder’s “Only Way is Essex (or Wales?)”, Hemita Sumanasuriya’s Oxford All Stars, and Team Srikantharajah. The group matches included two thrilling tied results with Team Essex/Wales eventually qualifying as group winners with the Marauders as runners up.
Group 2 was a more straightforward affair with Wikum Jayatunga’s Warriors cruising through as group winners with some fine bowling performances and assured batting. Nishanth Logeswaran’s Ninjas qualified in 2nd place. Despite the good captaincy and leadership of Bodhini Jayawardena, and some intense sledging from the boundary edge from Sharmini Herath, the heavily supported “aunties” team did not progress.
The first semi-final was contested between Team Essex/Wales and Nishanth’s Ninjas. A brutal innings of power hitting from Thushan Shanmugarajah set up a formidable total of 79 for the Ninjas. Team Essex/Wales suffered a big blow in the first over of the chase when Thushan removed dangerman Usman Butt in the first over with a short delivery the batsman could not control. A captain’s innings by Geoff kept his side in the hunt till the end but they eventually fell 10 runs short with 69. The second semi-final featured the clash of the Jayatunga brothers and was another close affair, with Wikum’s Warriors emerging victorious after another good all round bowling performance and some cool batting under pressure.
The final initially threatened to be an anti-climactic one sided contest with the Ninjas struggling to get the disciplined Warriors’ bowlers away, posting a seemingly paltry score of 29. However, Thushan struck twice for the Ninjas in the first over of the chase to bring the game to life. Further strikes from Chamath Soysa and Nishanth left last pair Nadeev Wijesuriya and Vinesh Patel needing 6 from the final over. As the crowd held their breath the two held their nerve to see the Warriors home in the closest final The Gecko Sixes has seen. The usually reserved Wikum was unable to hide his elation at winning the tournament for a second time. Rumour has it his medal meant so much to him that he placed it in the washing machine with his clothes. Got to keep that trophy cabinet clean I guess??
As ever, mouth-watering refreshments were enjoyed by all throughout the day including the usual Sri Lankan short eats, further adding to the funds raised by the event. The birthdays of Suvi and Onella were also warmly celebrated with delicious cake.
The event was a huge success, raising £630.33 for a village redevelopment project in the Vanni region of Sri Lanka devastated by intense fighting in the recent civil war. Please see the previous blog post for more details on this worthy cause. We would like to thank all those who attended, whether as a player, spectator or helper for making this such a successful day and we hope you will continue to support our future projects.
After leading the organisation of four successful editions of the Gecko Sixes, Hemita Sumanasuriya stands down this year as chief organizer. Gecko Sri Lanka is indebted to Ham and the Sumanasuriya family for their sustained efforts to make this event possible for the last four years, as well as making it an even greater success with every edition. It is hoped that the Sixes will move to pastures new next summer, with a new chief at the helm. Watch this space!