07 Jul 2017

Craigengower Cricket Club completes historic tour of Mongolia


The Hong Kong-based Craigengower Cricket Club has just returned from Mongolia after an historic first ever cricket tour to Ulaanbaatar.  Two fixtures were played, the first on 1 July against a home grown Mongol XI, a product of the Mongolian Cricket Association’s (MCA) development programme.

Speaking at Hong Kong International Airport on his return, the Tour Leader, Rodney Miles said, “Our Tour to Mongolia was an historic occasion and the warmth, generosity and hospitality of our hosts from the Mongolian Cricket Association (MCA) was very humbling. It was a marvelous and ground breaking experience for all involved.”

Miles added, “We were all overwhelmed by the welcome from our hosts and the obvious pride in which their President, Mr Battulga Gombo (known to all as Tulga) spoke of achievements to date, structured pathways and far reaching vision for developing the local game.” 

“Our Club President, Frederick Keung, was also very keen to pass on our best wishes for Mongolian cricket’s continuing success.”

As President of the Hong Kong Cricket Association (Cricket HK), Miles is no stranger to the  challenges of championing the local game in Hong Kong and China.

“The Mongolian Cricket Association welcomed Craigengower as the first ever touring side to play on their brand new ground in Ulaanbaatar. We will be doing all we can to help in the future,” Miles said.

“Over the last 35 years, it’s been something of a mission for Craigengower to help spread “the spirit of cricket”, with recent trips to Tehran, Istanbul, Myanmar, Moscow, Tainan, Shanghai and Japan,“ he added.   

In Ulaanbaatar, Craigengower was hosted at the British Embassy and enjoyed the company of both the Indian Ambassador, His Excellency Suresh Babu, as a player in the Sunday game and the Australian Ambassador, John Langtry, who umpired the historic first fixture. We were also honoured to have Sir John Hansen in the touring party. Sir John is a highly respected Jurist and is known for his work over many years with the International Cricket Council - Code of Conduct Commission. 

Before play on Saturday 1 July, a ceremony was held to celebrate the first visiting team fixture in Mongolia, at the new ground in the National Park of Ulaanbaatar. It included high ranking Government Officials including: Mrs Oyunzul U (Deputy Director of the National Park of Ulaanbaatar); Police Colonel Naranbaatar T (Chairman of the District Police Department); Mr Erdenbadrahk B (Director of the National Archive & MCA Board Member); and, His Excellency, John Langtry, the Australian Ambassador.  

Players and guests were spellbound by the haunting sounds of “Galshars Magtaal” played by Mr Bold. D, the National Honorary Morin Khuur soloist. Galshar is the birthplace of Chinggis Khan and the song a national tradition - “Praise to Horses”. The media was on hand to capture the event.

"In the true adventurist Craigengower spirit, and in honour of such a proud and resolute people steeped in fierce history, our team photo for the first game featured ties and blazers mounted on horse back. Ulaanbaatar had never seen the like before – and perhaps a cricketing first as well,” an ebullient Miles concluded.

The weekend of great fun and purpose was underpinned by the zeal and enthusiasm of Englishman and long term resident, Chris Hurd, whose parting comment was for Craigengower to help spread the word,  “Please come and play at the Mongolian Friendship Cricket Ground – the finest pitch for miles. Cricket and Mongolia will always be the winner.”