Finland: 17 teams from Finland, Singapore, Estonia, UK contest Helsinki Sixes
The annual Finnish sixes tournament was blessed with scorching hot weather, a great bonus considering that visiting teams were attending from as far afield as Singapore, Estonia and Staffordshire England! The organisers, SKK, had split the 17 teams into 4 qualifying groups playing on 4 different grounds around Helsinki. In addition, for the very first time, there was also an exhibition womens' tournament played between the newly formed and fantastically enthusiastic SKK ladies club.
Despite valiant efforts from our honoured guests Lemcon Networks Singapore and Acton Trussell Stafforshire, and from local debutants Nokia, SKK-FIN and -OZZ and all-Finn MTS, the top seeded teams won through to the semi-finals stage played on the main pitch at Ruskeasuo Helsinki.
In the semis first SKK (1) bowled and fielded very tightly restricting the explosive Helsinki (1) batting line-up to only 65. The runs were duly provided by SKK's flashing blades of Jonathan October and Yas Quadir. The second semi saw Vantaa (1) overpower the Helsinki (2) team, resulting in a repeat final from 1999 of SKK (1) vs Vantaa (1).
Though we didn't get a last-ball thriller as in 1999, the final this year still provided a great spectacle for the crowd of followers. Vantaa's opening duo Mubashir and Shabbir attacked every ball from start to finish, but were well restricted in the last 2 overs thus posting an achievable target of 69 for SKK to chase. However, despite a good start, SKK lost ground in the 4th over and fell behind the required rate. A captain-Thurling four from the last ball saw SKK fall agonisingly 3 runs short and Vantaa were crowned 2001 sixes champions.
The event was again a fantastic day for Finnish cricket - main sponsors Sports Academy Bar/Hartwall ensured that nobody went thirsty under the blazing sun, local band Jane Raven provided musical refreshments for the ears from behind the boundary and the day was crowned by a trophy ceremony and some kind words from the resident Australian Consulate Mr.Stephen Kemppainen. This year's tournament again succeeded in being bigger and better than last years record-breaking event - well done organisers SKK!
FINNISH LEAGUE UPDATE
Saturday 4 August will see the resumption of the Finnish league following the midsummer break. From the table below, it would appear that Helsinki and SKK are best-placed for the September finals, but Vantaa will no doubt push hard to win their last 2 games to upset the present order. Watch this space!
FCA LEAGUE 2001
M W L NR Tie Pts Runs Wkts Runs Wkts Net 1. Helsinki 4 3 1 0 0 12 749 39 558 29 1.805 2. SKK 4 2 1 1 0 9 443 30 411 22 1.470 3. Vantaa 4 1 2 1 0 5 413 23 424 30 0.747 4. Turku 4 1 3 0 0 4 501 29 713 40 0.509