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Wednesday,November 21,2018 03:26 AM

2016 was a delightful year for cricket

By Charles Mutebi

Added 20th December 2016 09:37 AM

The re-appointment of Steve Tikolo to the coaching setup of the Cricket Cranes, this time as head coach, was another wise move

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The re-appointment of Steve Tikolo to the coaching setup of the Cricket Cranes, this time as head coach, was another wise move

2016 Winners

Girls Cricket Schools Week

Jinja SS

UCA National Women’s League

Tornado Bee

Boys Cricket Schools Week

Mukono Parents

UCA Men’s Div 2 winners

Damani

UCA National T20 winners

Challengers

UCA National Men’s Div 1 champions

Challengers

For Ugandan cricket, 2016 was a delightful year that was thrown off course by a revolting scandal.

The ungentlemanly assault on the gentleman’s game that was the boardroom decision to withdraw Tornado Bee’s rightly earned title as national champions and hand it to the Challengers for the purpose of saving Tornado from relegation was a detestable pulling of the rug from under the feet of the 2016 cricket season.

It was also a reminder of how close to the pits sport in Uganda always is.

In one breathe, a whole season was flushed down the sewer by the powers that be at governing body Uganda Cricket Association (UCA).

Picture UCA chairman Richard Mwami and his power-dazed cronies at a secret meeting laughing in derision at the larger cricket fraternity for being so toothless in the face of their control.

The whole scandal made one wonder, ‘whose game is it?’ And why now, in the same year that the UCA took the crucial step of reinstating allowances for players in the national setup?

A step which for Davis Karashani and Charles Waiswa was powerful enough to entice them to a return to international cricket, which was the best news on that front in a year of no ICC engagement for the men’s senior team.

The re-appointment of Steve Tikolo to the coaching setup of the Cricket Cranes, this time as head coach, was another wise move on the part of the UCA and the Kenyan legend has been all hands on deck from day one.

Whether Tikolo can work miracles on Uganda’s batting before next year’s Kampala-bound ICC World Cricket League Division 3 remains to be seen.

What’s not in doubt is the need remains as strong as ever.

In the two major outings for the national team this season - the Quadrangular Series in Kenya and Uganda - there were frankly not many signs of positive growth in the batting nous of the Cranes.

The overall batting quality in the league also confirmed a continued struggle to navigate the age-old basics of scoring, with the general attitude towards the craft remaining one of a hit-and-miss variety.

The low-scoring notwithstanding, the actual UCA National 50 men’s Division 1 race between the Challengers and Tornado Bee was gripping to the very last.

Tornado Bee won the race on the final day of the campaign but, as previously detailed, not the title.

That was handed to the Challengers, who had ended the race two points behind Tornado Bee only to hear that the UCA had overturned Tornado Bee’s season-closing walkover against Tornado.

No real competitor would want to win that sort of title but you can’t blame the Challengers, who underlined their true capabilities in their subsequent, extraordinary run to the T20 title.

Ivan Thawithemwira’s men were breath-taking in the knockouts, eliminating Tornado Bee, Damani and finally KICC in a series of rare chases.

Challengers were undoubtedly the

biggest winners of 2016 but they were not the only ones.

 Damani went through the UCA Men’s Division 2 League unbeaten and will add genuine quality to the top division while Tornado Bee bounced back as women champions.

Mukono parents won the Boys Schools Cricket Week.

Elsehere, Jinja SS claimed the Girls Schools Cricket title.

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