Season Five Night Cricket has more prize money, new twists

Brace yourselves, members of the cricket fraternity! The pick of the tournaments and only Night Cricket event – The Kampala Boys Sports Cricket Club (KBSC) Premier League – Season 5 is here. 
The annual reloaded showpiece was officially launched on Thursday night at the Cooper Chimney Restaurant in Lugogo infront of a full house of the 16 teams participating teams, officials, organisers and members of the media. The previous seasons have showed that there is no lightweight in this tape-ball cricket format that will be played over 16 overs (preliminary phase) and 20 overs (knockouts) from next Friday (July 28) to September 4 at the home of cricket in Uganda – Lugogo Oval.

Despite the envisaged stiff competition, the franchises will not need any additional motivation to outlast defending champions Pak Stallions after the organisers announced that the stakes were higher this year with the winning team taking home Shs15m and runners up pocketing Shs8m – an increment from Shs10m and 7.5m respectively last season.

“We set the standard pretty high from the previous editions. We want to take it a notch higher this season. We want to keep everyone excited and involved,” said KBSC chairman Tejas, who also disclosed that there would be a tournament within the competition with the teams that don’t make it to the semifinals competing in a Super Over contest.
UCA’s Martin Ondeko lauded KBSC for being consistent in their endeavour to promote cricket and promised that the association would continue to support such projects.

Group A 
1. Pak Stallions, 2. Cosmas Warriors, 3. Jain Samaj , 4.Haandi XI, 5. Jiya XI, 6.Yuva XI, 7. Abacus, 8. Lahore Lions. 
Group B
1. Afridi XI, 2. Hunza Warriors, 3. Metro Tyres, 4. Keshwala XI, 5. Keshwala Boys, 6. Azam XI, 7. Aziz Damani, 8. Lohana XI.

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Challengers seeks fine start in belated season

The final decision on the status of Tornado club had an implication on both ends of the 2016 National Men’s Division One 50-Over League log.

That they suffered the knife for the first time in one of the fraternity’s bold decisions passed by new Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) chairman Bashir ‘Badu’ Ansasira, Challengers, too, lost the title to Tornado Bee last month.

“After playing all a thrilling brand of cricket, it was painful to lose the title,” Challengers’ batsman Arthur Kyobe told Sunday Monitor in a recent interview.

Challengers would have celebrated a maiden title after earning promotion in 2013.

However, that ‘set-back’ is one they want to leave in their past which is some 231 days later from last season’s turbulent final day - July 17, 2016.

Fresh chapter
Vaheed Mohammed’s club now wants to start a fresh chapter on a high when the new season bowls off with an interesting match against Nile at Lugogo Oval this morning.

“We want to take one game at a time,” left-hander Kyobe said. “Obviously, the big target is to claim the championship at the end of the day.”

The 2016 Twenty20 winners Challengers have added Irfan Afridi (from KICC), Kamal Shahzad (Aziz Damani) and David Wabwire (Tornado) to bolster their batting and bowling attacks.

However, 1995 winners Nile, who survived relegation at the expense of Tornado, want a better season.

“We had a good team last year but didn’t perform well generally,” Nile skipper David Musoke told this paper.

“Nile is ready to compete for a top slot,” he added while promising to unveil a surprise package.

Meanwhile, record top-flight champions Tornado start life in the lower tier against Challengers’ feeder side Strikers at the lakeside oval in Entebbe.
Strikers welcome trio Derrick Bakunzi, Sohaib Ehsan and Fahad Sadiq all from Challengers.

Challengers vs. Nile, Lugogo
Tornado vs. Strikers, Kyambogo

By Darren Allan Kyeyune


Kyobe knock wraps up Challengers’ season in style

For the past five months, Challengers’ opening batsman Arthur Kyobe has been struggling to get runs on board in the National Men’s Division One 50-Over League.
At worst, the bragging left-hander became a laughing stock among some of his peers and fraternity. But somehow, he’s steadily recovered and show marks of what to expect from an opening Cricket Cranes batsman. 
On Sunday, Kyobe struck a decisive unbeaten half-ton of 75 runs as his side wrapped up the season with a five-wicket win over Kutchi Tigers at Lugogo Oval.

“Well, glory be to God,” a relieved Kyobe told Daily Monitor after his second half-century of the season. 
The 29-year-old’s first - a 91-ball 86, had come against the same opposition during Match Day 2 of the season on January 31. “It is only God and coach Steve Tikolo who have helped me recover,”
“Simply, I kept the ball down, took on advice he has offered me in the national team training sessions and results are impressive.” added the man who finished the season with 293 runs from 13 innings.
The win kept Challengers atop the eight-team log on 70 points after 14 matches, but can only win the league title if second-placed Tornado (61 points) fail to win their remaining two matches.

After Kutchi Tigers’ captain Alphesh Hirani opted to bat first, Nanji Pindoriya (34 off 38) and Bharat Ghorasia (22 off 36) combined well for an opening 72-run partnership. 
This crumbled at the hands of Derrick Bakunzi (3/12), Fahad Sadiq (2/41) and Henry Senyondo (2/13). Nandi Kishor (32 off 59) and Kanti Vekariya (30 off 59) then pushed Tigers to set 178 after 44.4 overs. 
Requiring to score about four runs per over, Kyobe smashed nine boundaries off 66 balls and, had a decisive 124-run second-wicket partnership with blazing Hamu Kayondo (63 off 52). 
The 2014 National Twenty20 Champions were home in 25.1 overs.

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Africa Cricket Club working to keep machine well-oiled for topflight return next season

The genesis of cricket in Uganda was centred around the European and Asian communities that often gathered to play for fun and leisure in the early 1900s.

It was not until the early 1950s that some locals got fully engaged in the gentleman’s sport under Africa Cricket Club (ACC). Today, ACC is the oldest club.

On the flip side, ACC has been stuck in the National Men’s 50-Over Division Two League tier since relegation in 2011. “We were not playing responsibly at the time,” ACC senior player Sylvester Rokani recalls how demotion engulfed them.

For five straight years, ACC has jumped high but failed to get hold of the promotion key. Why? 
“Our belief is growing players and enjoying game but often, our upcoming talent has been snatched by big money teams as soon as they peak,” explained Rokani.

On Sunday, ACC continued their perfect start to the season making it two wins in as many matches with a 21-run victory over Premier at Budo Oval. That was preceded by the opening 24-run win over Mwiri at Entebbe on February 7. Clearly, there is something that has changed about the 2006 and 2007 top-flight champions.

“The team spirit and morale is excellent,” Rokani noted. “We secured a few sponsorships, signed some really important players which adds oomph.”

Unlike before, ACC has now got a kit sponsor in Case Medical Centre, whose proprietor Dr. Kato Sebbaale doubles as the club chairman. The club also generates funds from club members, who contribute annual subscription fees of Shs300,000 each.

The club has also successfully serenaded Kintu brothers Michael and Aggrey as well as Timothy Erumuka from Jinja-based Rounders and young guns like Gaddafi Jjunju from partner school King’s College Budo.

Michael’s knock of 25 off 35 and Emmanuel Odeng’s half-ton of 55 runs off 83 helped ACC set 194 in 49.2 overs. 
Then left-arm Timothy Erumuka single-handedly blew away Premier’s with figures of 7 for 39. Pace bowlers could be the thing for ACC this season since Odeng was also crucial with a fine spell of 6 for 23 in the win over Mwiri. With such developments in place, many will expect ACC returns to the big time next year.

ABOUT ACC: Started: 1950 Captain: Richard Lwamafa Twitter Handle: @AfricaACC

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UCA offer clubs equipment ahead of season start

One reason why many youngsters ditch cricket for other disciplines is the inability to access the necessary equipment for the gentleman’s game.

Helmets, gloves, balls, bats and bails are costly and maintenance season after season is hard because they wear out easily.
To temporarily solve the problem, Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) have always been a key figure in this.

On Friday at Lugogo, UCA CEO Justine Ligyalingi handed over different equipment to the 20 clubs that will take part in the National Men’s 50-Over League which bowls off Sunday. 
That’s thanks to UCA’s partners boost from Bankstown Cricket Club in Australia.

Each club received four pairs of batting pads, two helmets, three thigh guards, four abdominal guards, four pairs of batting gloves, a pair of keeping pads and gloves. At the event, Ligyalingi announced the launch of the new Division Three tier that will include five teams and will be playing on Saturdays. With Tornado B included, Division One comprises eight teams whose winner is guaranteed Shs5m.

Division Two with seven teams that will battle for the top two slots promotion worth Shs3m in total.

Winner Div.I: Shs5m
Runner-Up Div.I: Shs2m
Winner Div.2: Shs2m
Runner-Up Div.2: Shs1m
Winner Div.3: Shs1m

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KICC, third-placed Challengers seek fine season finishes

 Since Tornado B earned the required point to seal their third successive National Men’s Division One 50-Over League title last Sunday, there are now new points of focus.
The remaining interest lingers around how and where the rest of the beaten pack will finish by the time the championship folds up later this month. With Nile (55 points) appearing to have sealed second, the battle for third place is still alive. Challengers (40) can leapfrog Kutchi Tigers (44) and take it only if Mohammed Aneef and company can beat Kampala Institute of Cricket Clubs (KICC) at Kyambogo Oval today. 
“If all players turn up and perform on any day, Challengers can’t be matched,” said Aneef whose side has struggled with perpetual absence of key players. Arthur Kyobe, Arnold Otwan and Ivan Thawithemwira hold the mantle for a Challengers’ side that survived the knife by two whiskers last season. But Sudhir Ruparelia-funded KICC (31) will hope to win and keep their battle for fourth alive as well. 
“If we can win our two remaining matches, we’ll finish fourth,” KICC’s Hanumant Katkar said.

Men’s 50-over league 
KICC vs. Challengers, Kyambogo
Pioneer vs. Wanderers, Lugogo 

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