Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) may never regret increasing the number of local clubs from five to eight in the women’s local competitions.
That amendment passed at UCA’s AGM in January brought a new aura of self-belief and identity to many upcoming female players.
“So many anxious young girls used not to get the opportunity as few clubs could not take in all players at our disposal,” opined UCA CEO Justine Ligyalingi.
The cast grew as new sides Kampala Institute of Cricket Clubs (KICC) and Tornado B emerged with former Tornado rebranding to Pioneer.
That brought in respective financial backers Sudhir Ruparelia, William Kibuukamusoke and Ritah Tinka. This obviously raised the competition grade in this year’s National Women’s 40-Over League. “Growth of the league to eight sides provided one of the most competitive leagues in years,” noted Tinka, who knows lots about the fabric of women’s cricket in Uganda.
Quick success in the Sixes Challenge championship for Tornado B was followed up with an opening seven-match winning streak in the league. KICC then took control, winning nine in a row until they suffered successive five and nine-wicket losses to Tornado B and Jinja SS in their last matches.
“We just bottled it where it mattered most,” KICC skipper Gertrude Chandiru said.
The rare three-horse title race had now been trimmed to two, Tornado B and Pioneer, who had crawled back. In a decider at Budo Oval, Tornado B wilted as Pioneer won by 11 runs for their maiden title on October 29.
“We had been written off but we had the luck and contained lots of pressure to emerge champions,” Pioneer’s Barbara Mukankusi told SCORE. While extremely overjoyed Tinka had realised her money’s worth, city mogul Ruparelia and former UCA boss Kibuukamusoke will gear for the same next year.
Pioneer 71 points
Tornado B 69
Jinja SS 49
Charity TF 31
BEST BATTER: Janet Mbabazi (Wanderers) - 367 runs in 13 innings
BEST BOWLER: Carol Namugenyi (Pioneer) - 34 wickets for 213 runs
BEST WICKET-KEEPER: Kevin Awino (Jinja) - 18 dismissals
BEST FIELDER: Kasfa Kayaga (Wanderers) - 11 dismissals
ROLL OF HONOUR
2012: Charity TF
SOURCE: DAILY MONITOR