In the midst of Ashes fever and a rare British Summer heatwave, The Gecko Sixes returned on Saturday 10th August for its sixth incarnation at a new venue, The Victoria Recreation Ground in Surbiton, London. For the second year in succession, the event was co-hosted with Medical Aid to Sri Lanka, with all funds being donated to The Cataract Project in Sri Lanka. Once again the weather gods were kind, with the rains staying clear and the heat wave temporarily abating for a pleasant day out. The rules remained largely unchanged from last year, with 6-a-side 5 over games, and girls scoring double runs.
Thirteen teams participated this year, divided into three groups. The three group winners would progress to the semi-finals, with a “lucky second” group runner-up with the highest runs/wicket ratio joining them. Group 1 was closely fought between Madu’s Magicians, Amile’s dressed-to-impress “Blue-Shirts”, and Geoff’s Giants, the results including an exciting tie between the Magicians and the Blue-Shirts. Madu’s Magicians eventually ran out group winners with two wins and a tie.
Group 2 was a more straighforward affair, with Arran’s “Team Huge” seeing off the threats of Heshan’s Heroes, Pasan’s Pirates and Andy “Shakey” Shakespeare’s Shakes. Despite the pre-tournament talk of a surprise package performance from the “Aunties” and the controversially named “Aunticles”, Group 3 came down to a three-way tie at the top between Wikum Wanderers, Miles’ Superteam and Oscar’s Ospreys. Miles’ Superteam progressed on a marginally superior runs-to-wickets ratio, with the Wanderers and Ospreys very unfortunate to lose out on a semi-final spot to Geoff’s Giants, who finished best of the second placed teams on runs-to-wickets thanks to some prolific form from the captain.
The first semi-final pitted Madu’s Magicians against Team Huge. Batting first, Team Huge were restricted by some tight bowling and fielding by the Magicians (despite a comical blunder by Del that was unfortunately caught on camera) and managed a modest total of 35.
The Magician’s were largely untroubled in their chase, bringing the equation down to 2 runs required off the last over with 3 wickets in hand. An injudicious attempted reverse sweep from Madu resulted in a wicket, bowled by Arran. A further wicket set up a tense finish but the Magician’s held their nerve to book a place in the final. The winning moment came in dramatic fashion as Punith’s valiant dive couldn’t quite cling onto a catch offered by Uncle Sri, and the final run was completed.
The second semi-final saw Geoff’s Giants take on the Superteam. Despite posting a competitive score of 54, the Giants bowling was blown away by some aggressive batting by the Superteam, who powered to victory in under 4 overs, with no wickets lost.
So the final would see the unbeaten Magicians take on the Superteam for the prize of the Gecko Sixes 2013 Champions. Batting first, Madu “Mahela” Jayatunga and Del “Delshan” Srikantharajah delivered an imperious unbeaten opening partnership, guiding the Magicians to 80 off their 5 overs without loss.
Facing a stiff chase, the Superteam were forced to be aggressive in their chase, but lost wickets at regular intervals, including some stunning catches behind the wicket by keeper Ed. The Superteam fell well short on a score of 20 all out. Having lost out to his brother Wikum two years ago, Madu was delighted to lay his hands on the silverware. Overall, it was a strong team performance by the Magicians, who went unbeaten through the whole tournament.
As always, delicious food and drink, Sri Lankan and Western, was enjoyed by all to supplement the riveting cricketing action. Our sincere thanks to all those who kindly provided refreshments to be sold in aid of this event to support The Cataract Project. Our thanks also to Medical Aid to Sri Lanka for co-hosting the tournament with us for the second time.
The Cataract Project finances cataract surgery and its post-operative drug treatment for those who cannot afford it in Sri Lanka. The cost per patient is approximately £30. We are proud to declare that the tournament has raised £720, which may help 20-25 people in Sri Lanka get their eye-sight back.
From all of us at Gecko, we hope you enjoyed the day and will join us again next year. If you couldn’t make it this year, we hope the above report has got you keen to get involved. Thanks for all your support!
The Gecko Committee