The Lady Cricket Cranes surprised all apart from themselves when they were crowned African Champions in August this year. They defeated favorites Zimbabwe in the final played at the Wanderers in Windhoek Namibia to qualify for the Global World Cup Qualifiers slated for the European Summer of 2018.
The team that traveled without first team coach Francis Otieno because of immigration issues had to send Assistant coach Grace Mutyagaba who could only join up with the team a day before their first game but the girls quickly regrouped defeating hosts Namibia in the opening game, and despite losing to Zimbabwe in the group games MVP Gertrude Chandiru put up her hand in the final to shock Zimbabwe by 4 wickets.
Senior players Gertrude Chandiru and Franklin Najjumba led from the front throughout the tournament with the former winning the MVP award. They were backed up by Schools Cricket MVP Immaculate Nakisuyi whose 25 not out won the fierce semifinal against fellow East Africans Kenya.
Uganda will travel to Amsterdam to join hosts Netherlands, Ireland, Bangladesh, PNG and Scotland as they battle for 2 World Cup slots.
There was a first time for Olila High School and Jinja SSS winners of the T20 and 50 over women’s titles respectively. Olila High promoted from Division 2 last season lit up the ladies league playing very attacking cricket in the T20 tournament and led by Kenyan internationals Mary Banja and Sarah Bhakita, they defeated the school girls of Jinja SSS in the final.
Olila High pushed Jinja SSS all the way to the final day of the 50 over league but the school girls didn’t choke defeating defending champions Tornado Bee by 6 wickets winning their maiden 50 over title. Coach Habib Mugalula has won everything there is on the local circuit in ladies cricket adding to the schools cricket title they won early in the year.
Tornado Bee went down after losing all its group games and the promotion of Aziz Damani powered Masaka SSS will make the ladies top flight very interesting next year.
We spoke to keen followers of ladies cricket for their opinion on which players stood out this year.
Davis Turinawe, Rwanda Cricket Coach and Development Manager
Janet Mbabazi was pivotal for Wanderers, Chandiru came through for Uganda although club cricket jammed her. Damalie returned most runs in the women’s league for Olila High.
Saw some Soroti left arm slow bowler (Sarah Akiteng of Olila) in the nets she needs a run in the big picture. I was told she spun ladies in the league this season.
Immaculate Nakisuyi got loads of runs albeit in Division 2 but runs are runs.
Joyce Mary had the most wickets and most dismissals in league playing for Olila High.
Felix Musana, Olila High Team Manager and Proteas Fan
Gertrude Chandiru (Olila High) confirmed her status as a top all rounder on the national side, Saidat Kemigisha (Tornado Bee) was a consistent run scorer at the top of the order. Franklin Najjumba (KICC) supported with both bat and bowl whenever the team needed that person and won games for the national team.
Consy Aweko (Wanderers) was the most economical bowler with her off spin in the league and for Uganda.
Stephanie Nampiina (Jinja SSS) batted well in the African final to complement Chandiru and that partnership took us to the global qualifiers.
Joyce Mary Apio (Olila High) topped the bowling and fielding stats in the league , Sarah Walaza (Jinja SSS) shared the top bowling spot with Apio and I guess best pace bowling duo in the country.
Janet Mbabazi (Wanderers) is the best all rounder in the league when Janet plays well Wanderers wins
Damalie Busingye (Olila High) best 50 over batsman in the league her concentration at the top is unmatched.
Sarah Akiteng (Olila High) finally We have a left arm off spinner in the country , Prico Nakitende (Pioneer) returned to form towards the end of the season and it’s good for a good player 2 recover.
Grace Mutyagaba, winning coach in Namibia
I have 3 ladies Stephanie Nampiina, Immaculate Nakisuyi and Gertrude Chandiru.
Nampiina is way above the two in terms of numbers, she was key for Jinja SSS winning the league, helping her school win the girls cricket week plus the successful schools XI in the Kwibuka tournament in Rwanda.
Chandiru played well in Mehta league for Olila High and in Namibia where she was the MVP.
Nakisuyi got 2 centuries in the local div 2 league and 3 50’s with the highest score of 139 helping her Masaka SSS side gain promotion to Div 1.
The ladies have a busy season next year with the World Cup Global Qualifiers and preparations are already underway, the top 6 next season will be very competitive with the promotion of Masaka SSS.
Overall the ladies had a more successful year compared to the men and a first time appearance at the global qualifiers should help them enhance their reputation as an African power house.