Center referee Umar Balikkanda might have set a new record in the Nile Special Rugby Premier League. In the final twenty-two minutes of the Makerere Derby, he dished out six cards – five yellow and one red – as Rams and Impis bruised each other at The Graveyard on Saturday evening.

And to be frank, it could have been worse. Balikkanda was lenient, especially to Rams’ Emmanuel Kibirige who received a straight red in the 79th minute for leading with his elbow and making direct contact to the head of his opponent. Kibirige had earlier, in the last play of the first half, been sent to the sin bin for back chat.

At one point, it was fourteen men against thirteen as both teams’ discipline got out of hand.

In summary, Impis’ Roy Kizito and Robert Sentongo saw yellow. Then for Rams, the naughty list had Jude Kakala, Reagan Mungu, Geoffrey Othieno, Uthman Mukasa, and Kibirige.

It was a poor quality derby where both eternal rivals hardly played any rugby. The team that made less errors walked away with the win.

Michael Kalyango had a day he would wish to forget quickly as he missed five kicks off the tee. Two of those, plumb straight in front of the poles. It would have certainly been a different outcome had some of the kicks gone through.

However, some players did some things well. Youngster Jonathan Magezi, playing in his fourth straight start as Impis’ flyhalf, kicked well to keep Rams out of Impis’ territory. And Hashim Kabogoza too, for Rams on a day when everything they tried did not work. Hooker Godfrey Ayebare hit the bull’s eye every time in the lineouts. And credit also goes to the forwards in Impis’ five-man setpiece who kept Rams guessing every time. Kenneth Obito was commanding in the midfield and so was his opposite number Kennedy Muhumuza.

Both teams each scored one try. Rams’ by Obito in the sixty-third minute as they attempted a comeback. Impis’ by top try scorer Pius Mpoza in the seventy-fourth minute as they finished the job.

Sentongo’s boot made the difference on the day, kicking two penalties for Impis to win by 11-05 and complete the season double over their tenants.

Ernest Akorebirungi joined Kawowo Sports in July 2019 after one year as a student volunteer at the Makerere University Games Union. In his role as rugby correspondent, he offers unique insight and analysis...

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