It is now six years since a side defended the Uganda Cricket Association-organised Boys Schools’ Cricket Week tournament.
Kololo Secondary School is the last team to win back-to-back titles when they did a sweep between 2007-3013 bar 2009 when nemesis Busoga College Mwiri.
Since, the trophy has rotated between Mukono Parents, Mwiri and Kololo before Jinja Secondary School won it last year.
One forever stand-out pillar in Jinja SSS’ cricket is coach Habibu Mugalula. He has served the game diligently at that institution, making the girls’ side a powerhouse in the national league and schools’ cricket.
Last year, Mugalula ended Jinja’s 15-year wait for a Boys’ Week gong after they beat Mwiri by six wickets with 68 balls remaining in the final.
The plan is to defend the title, some Jinja failed to do in 2003. “We shall try play, compete and take it game by game,” Mugalula told Sunday Monitor before teams assembled at Makerere College for the 2018 edition yesterday. “Of course, respect for opponents is paramount on my side but it’s my dream to defend it,” he said.
Mugalula is banking on three star players Cosmas Kyewuta, Acram Nsubuga and Isaac Ssekatawa who is recovering fast from a nasty accident. But Perry Wazombe, who was Jinja’s best player last year with the MVP honour comprising 303 runs with best score of 105, 10 wickets and 6 fielding dismissals, crossed to rival team Mwiri this year.
However, during the Eastern Region Qualifiers, Jinja ably chased a target of 117 runs in 13.3 overs to beat Mwiri and win the tournament unbeaten.
But Jinja must not rest on its laurels as the Emmanuel Isaneez and Daniel Batuwa-tutored Mwiri is filled with U-19 talent like Trevor Bukenya, Wazombe, Ramathan Ochimi, Ronald Opio and Ashraf Senkubuge who was the best wicket-keeper with 12 dismissals last year.
It is going to be quite a star-lit showpiece with in-form batsman Zephaniah Arinaitwe featuring for Mukono’s St. John’s High School.
The draws were set to be conducted last evening at Lugogo.