2015/16 Rugby Premiership: Match Day one
Sadolin Mongers 14-12 Rams
Betway Kobs 50-10 Gulu Elephants
Hima Heathens 24-00 Makerere Impis
Ezee Money Rhinos 13-22 Pirates
Buffaloes 18-3 Warriors
The 2015/16 National Rugby League kicked off with five matches across the country on Saturday.
Defending champions, Hima Heathens were the only side of the 10 teams not to concede a try nor a conversion in the 24-0 drubbing of Makerere Impis at Kyadondo Rugby Grounds in Kampala.
There were victories for the usual suspects, Betway Kobs (50-10 over Gulu Elephants) in the Northern Uganda town of Gulu, Buffaloes (18-3 over Warriors), Pirates’ 22-18 close win at Ezee Money Rhinos and a hard fought 14-12 victory of Entebbe based Sadolin Mongers against newly promoted Rams.
The Mongers and Rams fixture played at the slippery House of Pain ground in Entebbe takes the best description of ‘life and death’. Tempers flared throughout the highly charged players and fans alike.
Although the Sadolin Mongers eventually won 14-12 in the battle over Mulago Hospital paramedics team, the game had several talking points that require another revisit.
Either sides accused center referee Hannington Menya suspect officiation over a few questionable calls.
Come the match proper, Mongers took charge of the first half as Rams completely grabbed the lion’s share of the subsequent second.
Daniel Laddu opened the score sheet for Mongers with a try in the 5th minute and proven left footed kicker, Adrian Wasswa converted from an acute angle.
Five minutes to the half time break, Andrew Olweny made another try and Wasswa again did not fault with the conversion as the half time score read 16-0 in favour of the home side led by player cum coach, Kigongo Ssebalamu.
In the second half, the Rams returned completely a different entity winning and guarding possession like a sack of gold headed for Heaven.
Emmanuel Kibirige scored a try in the 58th minute which he converted before a grueling second try eight minutes to full time.
Disappointingly, Kibirige’s foot cost his side the precious two points as he failed to raise the ball above the bar.
Upon the last whistle of the game, Rams’ players celebrated as though it was a victory in the bag, and the body language from each and every member of the Mongers could even awaken the ghosts of the famous builders of the Uganda Railway.
Mongers’ team captain, John Wandicho cast the blame game to lack of coordination for his teammates;
Though we have won, we need to polish up because our opponents came from behind and almost equalized us. We lost focus and coordination during the match and this almost cost us.
Rams’ Timothy Kawuki hailed his team’s spirited fight and believes if only the referee was fair, Mongers was bound to fall at their own grave-yard.
Team Line Ups:
Sadolin Mongers: Ronald Adigas, Jerome Buyonga, Elijah Segawa, John Wandicho, Sean Bassoka, Lennon Kyambadde, David Kabuuza, Ben Kigongo Ssebalamu, Donsam Wambete, Joel Opio Papi, Trevor Tusiime, Adrian Wasswa, Daniel Laddu, Simon Wakabi, Joseph Tamale, Richard Bbira, Robert Bibagambah, Jackson Wako, Zed Kibuuka, Benua Mwijikye, Joseph Bulago
Rams: Timothy Kawuki, Jude Rwakayanga, Solomon Aryampa, Mitchael Emjong, David Emong, Ucho Damar, Hamza Kinyera, Robert Anguzu, Charles Ebunyo, Richard Lumu, Trevor Ochan, Nelson Mandela, Emmanuel Kibirige, Daniel Werera, Henry Musisi, Erisa Zikusoka, Geofrey Otieno, Denis Rwahero, Samuel Kikomeko, Christopher Turyahemba, Uthman Mukasa