When they started out in 2013, it was all about fun. Winning was secondary as everyone in the fraternity was left in daze with how much excitement the floodlights had brought to the oval.
But before they came to Lugogo Cricket Ground, the lights had been an everyday occurrence for the Asian community at Patidar Samaj ground behind UMA Showground in Lugogo.
While there, they played on concrete as Team Wines & Spirits reigned supreme. But the notion by the organisers, Kampala Boys Sports Club, to move the annual competition to the home of cricket in Uganda (Lugogo) in 2014 has proved to be a masterstroke.
Although the passion of players and organisers has remained boundless, the competition has gradually hit new levels with each passing edition of the KBSC Premier League.
“We have put rules that add excitement and make everyone involved,” KBSC chairman Tejas Patel told Daily Monitor. “Before, some teams used to play with only Asians but now each of the franchises must field at least two Ugandan players in each game they play. We have set out to develop Ugandan talent as well.”
In 2013, the winners pocketed Shs5m and the runner’s consolation prize was Shs3m but that rose to Shs7.5m and Shs6m respectively last year. “It will even be bigger this year. At stake for the winner is Shs10m and Shs7.5m for the runner-up. We keep improving the prize money to increase competition. Now we need help from other corporate companies.”
Organising secretary Nirav Patel believes hard ball cricket will be played on these floodlights next season. “Last season, we had eight poles and the lights were 30-feet off the ground. Now they’re 70-feet in the air and we’ve replaced the poles with four permanent towers. Next year we want to bring six towers and put the lights at 100-feet. We want the very best.”
The tournament is played on a 16-over basis per innings but improved to 20 overs from the quarterfinals for this season that ends on August 21.
KBSC NIGHT CRICKET QUARTERS
Yuva 91/10 G, Lions 94/4
Abacus 127/10 Damani 128/6
2013: Wines & Spirits
2014: Wines & Spirits
2015: Aziz Damani
KBSC full committee:
Tejas Patel (chairman), Chirag Dave, Ketan Shukla, Daxesh Patel (assistant treasurer), Divyang Patel (secretary), Ghanshyam Patel (secretary), Hitesh Patel (treasurer), Bharat Patel, Nirav Patel (organizing sec), Ravi Patel, Kalpesh Patel, Sameer Thakkur
Main sponsor - Aziz Damani, co-sponsors - AMI Africa, TransAfrica Assurance, Britannia Allied Ind Ltd, Krishna Construction Co. Ltd, Alliance Insurance, Jubilee Assurance, Jyoti Motors, Grand Thornton, Shumuk Group, Haandi Restaurant, Tej Uganda Ltd & Uganda Cricket Association.