- Saturday, February 15, 2020:
- FT: Avengers 12-18 Thunderbirds
The final match of the Central Region Women’s Rugby XV League was played at the Entebbe SS Playground on a clear sunny afternoon of Saturday, February 15.
Thunderbirds came from behind in the match to win, 18-12, against their hosts Avengers and win the regional title in style.
It is important to note that this season, no team has been able to register victory at their own home grounds. Thunderbirds fell to Black Pearls, 13-10 at Kyadondo Rugby Club in the opening match before Avengers won, 22-17, at Kings Park against the Black Pearls.
Fazira Namukwaya scored the first try of the final match for the Avengers before Thunderbirds fullback Mary Kyoita split the uprights to make it 05-03 in the opening quarter-hour.
Moments later, Peace Lekeru powered her way through the Thunderbirds’ defense to touch down for the Avengers with ease at the half-hour mark. Maimunah Nassozi added the extras to make it 12-03.
However, just before half time, the record champions Thunderbirds made two tactical substitutions that changed the course of the match when Samiya Ayikoru and Aisha Nakityo were introduced.
Almost immediately, Irene Ziggy scored their first try of the comeback after which Mary Kyoita made no mistake with the conversion.
This culminated in a two-point game with the scoreboard reading 12-10 at the break.
In the second half, it was a fierce battle with most of the action happening between the 22m territories. Thunderbirds exhibited patience and exploited Avengers’ slow reaction to get into the lead for the first time in the match.
Mary Kyoita dived in the corner but missed the conversion as the visitors led 15-12 at the hour mark.
Despite captain Winnie Atyang spending 10 minutes in the sin bin for an illegal tackle, Thunderbirds held on to their lead. Mary Kyoita, who had had a brilliant performance all game, slotted a penalty late in the game that sealed the match at 18-12 full-time score.
With the win, Thunderbirds leapt from the bottom of the three-team log to the top due to a superior points difference with all teams tied on 5-points each.
Thunderbirds and Avengers thus qualify as the Central Region Franchise 1 and 2 respectively to compete in the national franchise competition semi-finals that kick off in a fortnight’s time.
Central Franchise 1 will play against the Northern Region Franchise (comprising players from teams that play in the Northern Region 10s league) while Central Franchise 2 will face the Eastern Franchise (represented by Mbale Eagles), the winners of which will play the final game of the season.