Cricket review: The best and worst of 2015

By Charles Mutebi

Uganda's failure at the ICC Division 2 championship was not a surprise but another dagger to the heart of an aching fraternity

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Charles Mutebi


Women's Tournaments

Women's 40 Over League                Pioneer CC

Mehta Premier League                  Jinja Senior Secondary School

Six - a- side tournament              Tornado Bee CC

Pepsi Girls Schools Cricket Week      Kololo SS                

Men's Tournaments

UCA National League                   Tornado Bee CC

UCA National T20 League               Patidar CC

Six-a- side tournament                 Kampala Institute CC

Pepsi Boy Schools Cricket Week         Busoga College Mwiri

As the Cricket Cranes go so goes the year for Uganda cricket.

Put differently, 2015 was one to forget. The national men's side fell woefully short in their attempts to stay in the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 and because this lowlight came in January, 2015 was rendered some long countdown to nothing of sorts.

There, of course, would be plenty of subsequent activities on the calendar, both local and otherwise, and some will find the devaluation of the last 11 months on the basis of one engagement hyperbolic. But International cricket and particularly the fortunes of the Cranes are the granite upon which the local game is built.

The Cranes had the chance to lay a major brick on the aspirations of the Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) when they descended onto the Namibian capital Windhoek for the ICC World Cricket League Division 2 and it all started on the right note as a special bowling display inspired Uganda to a two-run victory against Nepal.

But having survived a 146-run output, the Cranes would have to step up their batting for subsequent matches to keep winning. But… as feared, it didn't happen and Uganda would go on to lose their next four round robin matches, falling back to Division 3.

The outcome condemned the Cranes to a two-year 50/50 cricket vacuum but even worse, deprived them of the multiple benefits claimed by the event's top-four finishers. 

In the end, Uganda's failure at the ICC Division 2 championship was not a surprise but another dagger to the heart of an aching fraternity. Uganda is increasingly incapable of breaking free from Division 3 and the UCA cannot say when they expect this to change. 

All the association promise is a continued commitment to their ICC-assisted programmes, hoping the tide will turn at some point down the line. The fourth-place finish of the U-19 men's national side at the ICC T20 World Cup qualifier in Malaysia is not exactly a sign of good things ahead but the hope is as long as the UCA maintain their commitment to their largely controversy-free management practice, success will eventually come.  

Talking of success, Tornado Bee were the biggest winners on the 2015 Uganda cricket scene, snatching their third successive UCA Men's National League Division 1 title. Apart from being historical, this was the hardest of all Tornado Bee's three championships after the halfway mark of the 2015 season found them embroiled in a five-horse race for the title.

But riding the coattails of the magnificent Roger Mukasa, who led the Division in scoring once again, Tornado Bee eventually separated themselves from the chasing pack, which was led by a Nile outfit no one had tipped to perform so well.

Patidar were the other major winners of the season, finishing the campaign promoted to the top flight after starting it by claiming the UCA T20 crown. The Wanderers joined Patidar on the elevator from the second tier and for many, it was a relief to see the former national champions return to big stage even though it's not clear what the immediate future holds, with talisman Hamu Kayondo intent on finding greener pastures.

KICC and Busoga College Mwiri won the other two big prizes in men's cricket, namely the Six-a-side championship and the Pepsi Boys Schools Cricket Week respectively. 

Pioneer were the biggest winners on the women's calendar, claiming the UCA 40-over League in their maiden season in existence, an achievement secured in a winner-take-all season-finale against Tornado Bee. 

The runners up would have to be content with the Six-a-side championship trophy they won earlier in the campaign, which saw Jinja SS also win the Mehta Premier League and Kololo SS end Jinja SS' four-year dominance of the Pepsi Girls Schools Cricket Week.

On the international scene, the senior national women's side slightly fell short of expectations in their lone major assignment, placing fourth at the ICC Africa Regional Cup in South Africa, behind the hosts, Zimbabwe and surprisingly Tanzania. 

But thanks to the national U-19 girls side, Uganda avoided a trophy-less year. The girls topped the ICC East and Central Regional title although their triumph will probably go down as a footnote on a largely underwhelming season for Uganda's national teams.