inja SSS pursue title defence at star-lit Schools Cricket Week

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.


Olila dominate awards, Jinja defiant

Habibu Mugalula, the Cricket Master of Jinja Senior Secondary School, taunted the rivaling schools that ‘we are here to stay’ in the aftermath of his school’s tense five-wicket win over Masaka Secondary School in the final of the UCA Girls Cricket Week at Lugogo Oval on Wednesday.

Jinja SSS hit new highs by winning a record sixth title at the tournament’s 16th edition but none of his players stepped onto the podium to collect an individual prize.

Mugalula, though, refused to buckle when journalists asked whether his school was becoming a waning powerhouse.

“If you look at all those other schools, they have players that I personally nurtured,” said Mugalula, a bowling all-rounder in his heyday. “They have no culture. They pick players from everywhere and then boast that they’re improving.”

But as Mugalula took a dig at the chasing pack, Johnny-come-latelys Olila High School could afford to sit back, relax and smile after they dominated the annual showpiece using their home-bred talent.

The Olila trio of towering Mildred Anyigo with 66 runs was the best batter, captain Joyce Mary Apio (with 13 wickets) was the best bowler whereas Esther Iloku stood our as the best wicketkeeper with four dismissals.

“It is a bad thing for us not to have made it to the final. But we have showed that we have quality littered across all departments in our side. People have seen what we can do and I am certain we will be back stronger next year,” said coach Ivan Kakande, who was flanked by Soroti Cricket Academy patron Felix Musana, a man who takes the credit for giving birth to the gentleman’s game in that region.

For Masaka SS, who lost in their first appearance in the final after four editions in the national competition, their consolation was having Most Valuable Player (MVP) Immaculate Nakisuyi in their ranks.

The Lady Cricket Cranes star was in her own class with 138 runs and six wickets.

UCA Girls Cricket Week
Individual Award Winners
Player of Series: 
Immaculate Nakisuyi (138 runs & 6 wickets, Masaka SS)
Best Batter: 
Mildred Anyigo (66 runs, Olila HS)
Best Bowler: 
Joyce Mary Apio (13 wickets, Olila HS)
Best Fielder: 
Ssanyu Nabagala (5 dismissals, Gayaza HS)
Best Wicketkeeper: 
Esther Iloku (4 dismissals, Olila HS)


Mukono Parents nick Jinja SS to cricket title

At about 4:30pm, there were still a few drizzles after a downpour at Lugogo Oval yesterday. 
The Pepsi Boys’ Schools Cricket Week final had just been washed out for the second time in three years.
The anticipated clash between Jinja Secondary School and Mukono Parents School had not taken place.

At the time, neither Yemi Alade and Sauti Sol’s Africa nor Winnie Nwagi’s Musawo could lighten up the somber mood. “Some of us had come to watch a fitting finale but the rain has spoiled the day,” senior national women’s team captain Naome Kayondo said. But Mukono had not missed out to add to their 2013 title.

They were later declared champions on grounds that they earned the highest points tally in the group stages of the competition.
“It feels good,” Mukono Parents’ assistant captain Zephaniah Arinaitwe said shortly after receiving the trophy with skipper Rogers Olipa. “We did well and surely deserved to take home this gong,” added Arinaitwe, who was voted player of series with 455 runs and 15 in seven matches

The team had won all five Group B matches to total 70 points while Jinja had accumulated 49 points for second in Group A. 
Mukono coach Frank Nsubuga largely credited Olipa and Arinaitwe’s leadership for the feat. “Without Zepha, it would have really been tight,” Nsubuga said. “But I still congratulate the boys for their effort since we began the work in June.” Earlier in the day, Nile Club batsman Arinaitwe, who struck a tournament record of 206 runs off 54 balls against Ntare, had missed out on a second tournament ton.

The 15-year-old combined 12 fours and two sixes for a half-century of 92 runs off 53 balls as they dispatched an impressive Nyakasura School by 118 runs in the morning semifinal at Kyambogo.
But Jinja, too, had just stunned record winners Busoga College Mwiri by six wickets courtesy of Calvin Watuwa’s 34*-run-a-ball for their first final.

After that, coach Habibu Mugalula was massively let down by the no-show. “I am very disappointed. Very disappointed,” he said. 
“Their best player is Zepha who has never scored against Jinja in the Week and I had a plan for Nsubuga’s team,” Mugalula added.


FINAL: Mukono Parents vs. Jinja SSS
(Match washed out)
BS Mwiri 88/9 Jinja SSS 89/4 
(Jinja SSS won by 6 Wickets)
Mukono PS 190/2 Nyakasura 72/8
(Mukono PS won by 118 runs)

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Jinja SS wins Ladies Sixes trophy

The choices we make in life make or break us, they often say so. Lady Cricket Cranes all-rounder Franklyn Najjumba can now relax after her decision to leave National Women’s 50-Over League champions Pioneer for Jinja Secondary School.
It certainly feels right after the 28-year-old spurred Jinja SS to the National Women’s Sixes Cup title on her first day in business at Lugogo Oval on Saturday. 
“I am so excited playing with the girls,” Najjumba told Daily Monitor after the five-wicket win over Tornado Bee. “And the fact that we have won our first trophy of the season, this is a perfect start here.”

Najjumba’s right-arm medium-fast deliveries earned her figures of 2/4 in her five-ball spell and together with Stephannie Nampiina (2/2) they bowled out Tornado Bee for 35 runs in 4.5 overs. 
Skipper Naome Kayondo top-scored with 10 off 13 balls. The target for coach Habibu Mugalula’s side was within reach and revenge for defeat in last year’s Sixes Cup final was imminent.
Dinah Adong sealed the job with a 16-ball 15-run knock to add to the club’s 2014 Twenty20 title.

Prior, both sides had played in the 50-Over League season opener that had gone Tornado Bee’s way. 
“The girls have been used to the Twenty20 format but with time we, shall catch up,” Najjumba said. 
Here, Tornado Bee majorly relied on the chemistry between their openers Rashida Kalsum (43 off 82) and Saidat Kemigisha (24 off 22). 
The pair built a firm foundation and despite Nampiina (4/19) and Rita Musamali’s (3/42) resistance, they coasted 147 in 37 overs.

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Jinja SS retain T20 title

Thrilling is a word inappropriately used many a time. But to say the Mehta Premier League T20 finale between Jinja Secondary School and Pioneer Cricket Club at Lugogo Oval on Sunday was overly exciting would be an understatement.

Jinja SS defended their trophy in style by outwitting this year’s National Women’s 40-Over League champions Pioneer by seven runs in the Super Over decider. It was that sort of day for coach Habibu Mugalula’s student-packed side that had earlier rallied to edge Sam Walusimbi’s Wanderers by four runs in the tense low-scoring semifinal duel.

But tactics and passion bettered experience and reputations as Mugalula’s girls showed a lot of character to equal the set target of 81 after they looked short of ideas at 58 for 5 in 14.3 overs. Captain ‘Fantastic’ Claire Mushakamba (17 off 21) and the well-built Dinah Adong (13 off 13) dug deep and ensured Jinja SS would live to fight one more time in the lottery that is the Super Over. It was the same combo of Adong (5*), Mushakamba (1) and best batter Rita Musamali (4*) that helped amass 10 runs in the Super Over before Musamali returned with ball to give away on three runs in five balls as Pioneer ran out of resources with the pair of Player of Series Pricco Nakitende (1) and Best Bowler Carol Namugenyi (0) run out to leave big-hitter Franklyn Najjumba stranded at one end.

“We got our tactics wrong in the Super Over,” Rita Tinka, Pioneer CC’s manager said. “We should have given the ball to a different bowler in the Super Over and we got our batting combination wrong too. At least everyone chipped in.”
For Mushakamba, the finale was won in the dugout. “Our tactics were better. Our coach (Mugalula) asked us to deny them singles and they played into our hands.

They were looking to go big and that is why they didn’t get more than 81. We are happy to end the tough year with a trophy.”


Results - Semifinals
Pioneer 64/7 Charity TF 61/9
Jinja SS 46/7 Wanderers 42/9
Pioneer 81/6 Jinja SS 81/7
Super Over Decider
Jinja SS 10/1 Pioneer 3/2
Jinja SS win by 7 runs

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Jinja SS pursue fourth straight Girls Week title

 Jinja Secondary School has won three back-to-back Pepsi Girls’ Schools Cricket Week titles. 
With such pedigree and no big improvements from perennial contenders Gayaza High School and Kololo SS, Jinja SS are fancied to take home their fourth straight crown when action bowls off this morning. “Despite a few departures, my side is ready to retain its title,” said Jinja SS coach Habibu Mugalula. Mugalula will be without the experienced trio of Janet Mbabazi, Racheal Ntono and 2013 Uspa Female Cricketer of the Year Prico Nakitende, who helped Jinja SS lift the Women’s Mehta Twenty20 Premier League in October last year. 
“Since the core of players like Damalie Busingye, Patricia Busingye, Immaculate Nakisuyi and Kevin Awino are still in the team, the new faces will easily blend into the side,” Mugalula noted.

PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS: Kilembe SS, Kyebambe Girls, Jinja SS, St. James SS, PMM Girls, Busoga High, Olila High, Masaka SS, Gayaza HS, Kololo SS, Ndejje SSS and King’s College Budo.

Past five winners
2010: Jinja Secondary School
2011: Gayaza High School
2012: Jinja Secondary School
2013: Jinja Secondary School
2014: Jinja Secondary School

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Jinja SS dedicate Mehta Twenty20 title to Mugalula

Habibu Mugalula was a militaristic cricketer in his hey-day. Always steaming in from 30 yards with the new ball and an even more eye-catching sight with the bat as he scampered for quick tight singles.
It is the same attitude with which Mugalula played that he initiated when he started a new career as cricket coach in 2012 at Jinja Secondary School.

His students had to learn fast, and they did. There was no two ways! But over the past one-month (37 days to be exact), things have been slow in the 34-year-old’s life.
A hit and run accident left him crippled on September 10 in Jinja. The soft-spoken tactician’s pelvic girdle was broken and he underwent an operation to have a plate inserted to hold his pelvic bones together.
But Mugalula threw away the clutches for the first time and regained his mojo, albeit temporarily last Sunday, when Jinja SS girls pulled off a heist to win the Mehta National Twenty20 League.
The bubbly teenagers defeated favourites Charity by five wickets in a low-scoring semifinal at Kyambogo Oval before toppling Wanderers by the same margin in a nail-biting final at Lugogo.

“We played well today and we dedicate this victory to our coach [Mugalula],” Jinja SS captain of the day Rachael Ntono was quick to say soon after the over-the-top celebrations.
“We didn’t play well when he was away and we were hungry to win it for him as a welcome back gift. We are very excited and there will be a big party at school.” Mugalula, who was bed-ridden for a week in Mulago Hospital after being transferred from Jinja Hospital, also credited the girls for possessing big-match temperaments and playing with pure passion.
“Their love for the game is incomparable and they know how to execute game plans. 
“That’s what happens when they listen,” said Mugalula, who is coincidentally an alumnus of Jinja SS.
The youthful coach nicknamed Mugi spared a vote of thanks for Jinja SS head teacher Dinah Hope Tuhumwire Nyago, Uganda Cricket Association, fellow teachers Samuel Musiho and Yusuf Nanga, student Aloysius Odoi and his wife Faith Neema, who have spent both their time and money to ensure he gets back on the road running as before like a well-oiled machine.


Wanderers 85/5 Jinja SS 86/5
(Jinja SS won by 5 wickets)
Charity TF 49/8 Jinja SS 54/5
Wanderers 75/5 Tornado 63/9
Player of Series: Damalie Busingye (Jinja SS) – 154 runs & 7 wickets
Best Batter: Naome Kayondo (Wanderers) – 127 runs in 5 innings
Best Bowler: Joselyn Nakato (Charity TF) – 9 wickets
Best Fielder: Franklyn Najjumba (Tornado) – 4 dismissals
Best Wicketkeeper: Patricia Munguryek (Charity TF) – 7 dismissals

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