- Published in International Competitions
It is now six years since a side defended the Uganda Cricket Association-organised Boys Schools’ Cricket Week tournament.
Kololo Secondary School is the last team to win back-to-back titles when they did a sweep between 2007-3013 bar 2009 when nemesis Busoga College Mwiri.
Since, the trophy has rotated between Mukono Parents, Mwiri and Kololo before Jinja Secondary School won it last year.
One forever stand-out pillar in Jinja SSS’ cricket is coach Habibu Mugalula. He has served the game diligently at that institution, making the girls’ side a powerhouse in the national league and schools’ cricket.
Last year, Mugalula ended Jinja’s 15-year wait for a Boys’ Week gong after they beat Mwiri by six wickets with 68 balls remaining in the final.
The plan is to defend the title, some Jinja failed to do in 2003. “We shall try play, compete and take it game by game,” Mugalula told Sunday Monitor before teams assembled at Makerere College for the 2018 edition yesterday. “Of course, respect for opponents is paramount on my side but it’s my dream to defend it,” he said.
Mugalula is banking on three star players Cosmas Kyewuta, Acram Nsubuga and Isaac Ssekatawa who is recovering fast from a nasty accident. But Perry Wazombe, who was Jinja’s best player last year with the MVP honour comprising 303 runs with best score of 105, 10 wickets and 6 fielding dismissals, crossed to rival team Mwiri this year.
However, during the Eastern Region Qualifiers, Jinja ably chased a target of 117 runs in 13.3 overs to beat Mwiri and win the tournament unbeaten.
But Jinja must not rest on its laurels as the Emmanuel Isaneez and Daniel Batuwa-tutored Mwiri is filled with U-19 talent like Trevor Bukenya, Wazombe, Ramathan Ochimi, Ronald Opio and Ashraf Senkubuge who was the best wicket-keeper with 12 dismissals last year.
It is going to be quite a star-lit showpiece with in-form batsman Zephaniah Arinaitwe featuring for Mukono’s St. John’s High School.
The draws were set to be conducted last evening at Lugogo.
By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE
The flow of runs on Day One of the Jazz Safari Division I National Cricket League was evidence there was hunger for action by the players.
The league start which was arguably the most delayed witnessed nearly 500 runs as Challengers began their title quest with a commanding 218-run victory over Nile at Lugogo Oval on Sunday.
It was a ruthless display from Challengers where their bowlers showed as much desire for the gentleman’s game as the hard-hitting batsmen.
The highlight of it all was Challengers’ opener Arthur Kyobe, who fashioned a familiar start to his season with a calculated ton of 108 runs.
“It’s a great way to start after all the hard work in the nets and gym,” said a smiling Kyobe.
“The wicket was tough to play on at the start but I slowly gelled in,” the former Tornado player said.
Since joining Challengers in 2014, Kyobe often starts the season with big knocks but eventually fades. He thinks things will be different.
“I pray I can balance the equation this season. National coach Steve Tikolo has really helped me and I maintain form until the World Cricket League Division Three event,” added the 28-year-old.
Donning a new black and light green kit with a new jersey number 225 - his highest career score, left-hander Kyobe struck 15 boundaries in his 127-ball innings that ended when he was caught by Ivan Baidhu off Samuel Mwanja (3/55) after 33.2 overs.
Regardless, he combined well with fellow opener Hamu Kayondo (88 off 95) to put up an opening stand of 206 runs. New signings Kamal Shahzad tightened the loose ends with 29-ball 43 whereas Irfan Afridi’s late quick-fire 50 off 22 helped Challengers set 354 runs.
Afridi (4/28), Henry Senyondo (2/20) and new boy David Wabwire (2/48) shared wickets for fun as Nile folded for 136 in 25 overs.
Meanwhile, Tornado began new life in the second tier with a close shave. Henry Okecho’s side pipped careless Strikers by 10 runs with 28 balls to spare at Kyambogo Oval. Strikers needed 70 runs to win with seven wickets in hand but they bottled it.
JAZZ SAFARI NATIONAL LEAGUE
Challengers 354/7 Nile 136/10
(Challengers won by 218 runs)
Tornado 185/7 Strikers 175/10
(Tornado won by 10 runs)
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.
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.
NATIONAL MEN’S 50-OVER LEAGUE
TODAY’S FIXTURES - 10:30AM
Challengers vs. Nile, Lugogo
Tornado vs. Strikers, Kyambogo
By Darren Allan Kyeyune
There may be need for Kishor Pabari to the current generation in Ugandan cricket.
Originally from India, Pabari is known to have supported many Asian-born cricketers like Nehal Bibodi and, offered sponsorship and cricket equipment in Uganda when he came here in 1982.
He died in 1993 and a year later, a tournament to remember Kishor’s works was organised. The Kishor Pabari Memorial returned with the second edition involving six franchises at Lugogo and Kyambogo Ovals at the weekend.
With several incentives for every nitty gritty, this has triggered some impressive displays in the six round-robin matches played.
“There are several bonuses set like Shs50,000 for every man-of-match award,” organiser Hanumant Katkar told this paper.
“If one’s team wins, then a every wicket is worth Shs5000 shared by a bowler and fielder (if its a catch and Shs1000 per run made. It’s a bit lower for the losing team.” he added.
That means Challengers’ skipper Ivan Thawithemwira scooped Shs75,000 after smashing a half-ton of 75 runs off 28 balls as they defeated the Rwanda Select XI by 131 runs on Saturday.
“That’s good money,” Thawi said of the bonuses and Shs5m cash prize set to be given out after the final this Sunday.
“But whether there was no money or not, Challengers is a competitive side that would love to win every tournament they play,” the lanky batsman said following two wins out of three ties.
Although Rwanda XI failed in their attempt to chase Challengers’ 232-5, their batsman Eric Hirwa (33 of 26) was picked as player of match ahead of opponent Sadic Fahad (5/19).
National coach Steve Tikolo and Charity Trust Fund captain Jonathan Ssebanja turned up for Aziz Damani.
The Division II champions lost to a Nicholas Kebba-inspired (34 off 48) Tornado Bee by six wickets but recovered by beating Challengers on Sunday.
Here, Brian Masaba took the match’s best player honour after picking 5/15 and making 19 off 38 but Tikolo’s 36-ball 48 was equally outstanding.
KISHOR PABARI MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT
Challengers 94/10 Aziz Damani 95/2
(Challengers won by 8 wickets)
Challengers 232/5 Rwanda Select XI 101/10
(Challengers won by 131 runs)
Everest 147/5 Rwanda Select 55/10
(Everest won by 92 runs)
KICC 141/8 Rwanda Select XI 113/10
(KICC won by 28 runs)
Aziz Damani 136/7 Tornado Bee 140/4
(Tornado Bee won by 6 wickets)
At every turn, there is something new about the 2016 National Men’s 50-Over League.
What stands out most is the new five-team Division Three tier whose games will be played on Saturdays.
Fast forward up, the ardent cricket fans will witness new-look teams when the Division One contests get underway at three different Ovals today.
Tornado Bee will present the same hunger as they seek to win their fourth successive title.
The holders have stuck to all their old guards and a surprise recruit Deus Muhumuza from Tornado should bolster a perfect start against Kampala Institute of Cricket Clubs (KICC) at Kyambogo.
“The club management insists we go for it (the trophy) again and we’ll just do that,” Tornado Bee skipper Jeremy Kibuukamusoke told Sunday Monitor.
While they’ve added only one, KICC had several byes and buys during off-season. Of the inclusions, there is a massive capture of Arthur Ziraba and Frank Nsubuga from 2012 winners Tornado.
“Their experience is key if we are move from mediocre ranks to title challengers,” KICC’s captain Hamunant Katkar noted.
Interestingly, spinner Nsubuga leaves after 13 years at Tornado. “I needed to get the feel of change of environment and hopefully, we’ll start well against the champions.” he said.
Katkar’s smile can even go wider as top-order batsman Hamza Saleh is back in the fray having sat out last year.
Elsewhere, Wanderers are back to the topflight but the 2012 runners-up will be devoid of Hamu Kayondo who switched to join Challengers. His first task is comes up against his former side at Lugogo.
Expect veteran Wanderers’ coach Sam Walusimbi to cut that forlorn figure should Kayondo punish his bowlers.
Depleted Tornado, who also lost Cricket Cranes skipper Brian Masaba to Aziz Damani, will be the underdogs against last year’s surprise package Nile at Entebbe.
Men’s 50-over League
Today’s fixtures: 10:30am
Wanderers vs. Challengers Lugogo
KICC vs. Tornado Bee Kyambogo
Tornado vs. Nile Entebbe
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.
2016 NATIONAL MEN’S LEAGUE
Winner Div.I: Shs5m
Runner-Up Div.I: Shs2m
Winner Div.2: Shs2m
Runner-Up Div.2: Shs1m
Winner Div.3: Shs1m
It probably wasn’t appealing enough in the eyes of many as new skipper Brian Masaba was handed the national flag by National Council of Sports official David Katende during the Cricket Cranes’ flag-off at Lugogo to the Pepsi ICC Africa Twenty20 Championship on Wednesday.
The bitter truth is that the fraternity at large is either yet to brush off the recent failure at January ICC World Cricket League (ICC) Division II tourney in Namibia.
Or, many a fan were yet to offer full confidence to the faces in a new-look team that Masaba leads at this weekend’s continental showpiece in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“After that substandard show in Namibia, it is difficult to win over our fans that easily again,” Masaba concurred before the team flew out yesterday.
“But I urge the fans to count on us,” the batting all-rounder said. “The past is behind us and our vibrant side is ready to play and restore the pride of Ugandan cricket.”
To quickly affirm his words, Masaba must mastermind an opening victory for the 2011 champions against southern neighbours Tanzania in Benoni this morning. “Once the players apply themselves as expected, we will be on course for a decent show,” added the former U-19 skipper.
“Our two months of hard work must be vindicated with perfect start against the Tanzanians,” said Varinder Singh, one of the four debutants.
“This is the time for some of us to perform and stamp our mark at the bigger stage,” another new comer Derrick Bakunzi, the current U-19 captain, chipped in.
With experienced Abram Mutyagaba having withdrawn from the set-up in the 1th hour, 2013’s tournament best batsman Arthur Kyobe (221 runs) will likely open the innings with 18-year-old Abdallah Lubega, who is having a second crack in the senior side after his short-lived first outing in 2011.
But Uganda must keenly watch Tanzania’s skipper Hamisi Abdallah, top order batsman Abhik Patwa, Athuman Kakonzi and enterprising all-rounder Benson Mwita.
The latter emerged the best bowler with an economy rate of 7.42 and 15 wickets as Tanzania finished third behind Uganda at the 2013 edition held in Kampala.
PEPSI ICC AFRICA TWENTY20 CHAMPIONSHIP
TODAY’S FIXTURES – BENONI (10am)
Uganda vs. Tanzania
Namibia vs. Ghana
Kenya vs. Botswana