On the weekend of March 30, 2019 after beating DusuPay Warriors by a slim 18-13 result at their home ground Kyadondo Rugby Club, Heathens clinched their fourteenth title.

This marked the end of a quite dramatic season in which their chances of being victorious lay in the hopes of Black Pirates upstaging closest rivals Kobs, and they didn’t disappoint.

Mohammed Athio’s men finished the 2018-19 season atop the log with 80 points, just 3 more than Kobs. But instead of sitting back and basking in their reclaimed glory, Heathens have stepped up this season and charged into a commanding lead in the 2019-20 Nile Special Stout Rugby Premier League.

Thirteen wins from thirteen games by the time the season, and all sports, were put on hold due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Green Army have been flawless.

Let’s look at their season thus far.

Heathens got off to a rather sluggish start as they edged Kobs 06-00 in the opening game of the season under the floodlights at Kyadondo. Aaron Ofoywroth, returning from Kenya Harlequins, split the uprights twice as Heathens kept the visitors scoreless.

They scraped a 08-03 win at Kings Park against Black Pirates in a match that was marred by a heavy downpour on a muddy surface.

Credit: Twitter / HeathensRFC

Captain Charles Uhuru scored the first – and only of the game- try of the season just before half time to cancel out Stephen Alul’s penalty. On a day when the kickers from both teams seemed to have left their boots at home, Aaron Ofoywroth scored the only points of the second half.

With this victory, Heathens had successfully conquered their biggest challengers to the title early on in the season.

They then compiled their first half-century of points in beating freshly-promoted Impis RFC 59-03 away at The Graveyard as the league went into a month-long Christmas break. A total of nine tries was scored, with prop Arthur Mukama scoring a hat-trick of them as Heathens got their first bonus point of the season.

Heathens were much more comfortable in the new decade as they eased past Mongers at the new House of Pain in Entebbe by 34-13.

Despite being classified as the Battle of The Unbeaten, Warriors were no match for Heathens at Legends the following week. Yet another 43-09 bonus point victory was in the bag as returnee back rower Scott Oluoch was named man of the match.

This was the Matchday that cleared the air on who would be Heathens’ challenger for the league title. Kobs beat Pirates 23-11 at the same venue to continue their chase as Pirates fell even further back.

A second half-century of points was registered when they beat Jinja Hippos 56-00 at home, scoring nine unanswered tries.

Michael Wokorach

Their free-scoring form continued as they put troubled Rams to the sword at Kyadondo. It was the forwards’ day out as they ran in 6 tries in the opening half, and the backs completed a 69-03 routing with 5 of their own in the second.

The Kyadondo derby under the floodlights in the week after that was a show of Heathens’ clean defense. Joseph Oyet was the star of the night with two tries and a penalty to his name as they scored four unanswered tries against their second string side.

Heathens put the icing on the cake that was the first round with a routine 69-06 win over Rhinos to sink them to the bottom of the log. Lawrence Ssebuliba topped the charts with a hat-trick of tries.

Nine matches, nine wins and Heathens were 5 points clear of Kobs at the top of the log.

They engaged an even stronger gear in the second round as they cruised past Buffaloes 30-03 in the return leg of the Kyadondo derby. Five tries were scored as Joseph Oyet put up another brilliant performance in the fullback position.

Innocent Gwokto (Heathens) takes on David Agasi (Buffaloes)

Jinja Hippos would not put up much of a challenge at the Dam Waters Rugby Grounds as they fell 45-08 against Heathens.

Victory was in similar fashion against Rams at Kyadondo. Innocent Gwokto underlined his credentials as one of the most efficient midfielders in the league with a hat-trick of tries inspiring Heathens to a 48-00 win.

The last match played was against Rhinos – who were having a season where they couldn’t make a single right move, and Heathens sailed to a 49-03 victory. This was their thirteenth consecutive victory, a season-long unbeaten run.

Then, all business was put on hold until further notice.

Who has impressed most?

Winning the league takes a holistic effort and it is important to note that the team needs to be firing from all cylinders in all the departments for success to be realized.

However, the numbers do not lie and when analyzed critically, one can see the individuals making significant contributions to the gains made by the team.

It is hard to look beyond the impact of Heathens’ signings during the transfer window.

Scott Oluoch, Aaron Ofoyrwoth, Innocent Gwokto, Victor Wangobo, Boaz Musasizi, Joseph Oyet and Victor Otema

Veteran Scott Oluoch and Aaron Ofoywroth returned from Kenya Harlequins while Joseph Oyet crossed back from Warriors.

They also picked the cherry from Kyadondo’s available arsenal adding Innocent Gwokto, Darlton Kato, Ivan Claude Otema and Boaz Musasizi to the squad.

Joseph Oyet

Oyet tops Heathens’ point scorers chart with 87 points from 8 tries, 3 penalties and 19 conversions. He has been in such outstanding form this season that it is hard to recall a moment when he has made a wrong decision during the match.

Aaron Ofoyrwoth

Aaron Ofoyrwoth has delivered the bulk of his points off the boot, kicking 3 penalties and 14 conversions successfully. More importantly, he has fit the role of playmaker well, setting up his teammates for numerous tries.

Scott Oluoch

Scott Oluoch has scored 6 tries but his contribution can be more appreciated when one looks at the carries made and defenders beaten with ball in hand.

To appreciate Gwokto, you have to see him on the pitch, rather than have his statistics on some graphic artwork. Six tries to his name does not do enough justice to the gains made both in attack and defense with envious composure and timing.

Gwokto fends off Sulaiman. Credit: Edgar Hamala

Heathens have scored the highest number of points (541) more than any other team in the league, and have let in the least (51).

The forwards, led by Charles Uhuru, have stepped up to the challenge and denied even the strongest of attacking outfits a chance to touch down in their territory.

If Heathens can continue with this forward momentum when the season resumes, then there will certainly be no way of stopping them from defending the league title.

Ernest Akorebirungi is an amateur rugby player and a keen follower of local Ugandan rugby.

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