Mukono emerge pool league queens

Victoia Namuyanja, the league top scorer, takes aim during the final game against Mukono Giants. PHOTO/GEORGE KATONGOLE 

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Indeed, they won the two frames with Mutesi and Nakawesi heeding her advice. But Ritah Nimusiima and Ankah had different ideas as they beat Ayebazibwe and Nganda respectively to level matters.

Bullish Mukono Giants were crowned Ladies Pool League winners on Friday after winning all their two games in the one-day play-offs at Pot It Bar in Najjanankumbi. Upper Volta were silver medallists while big spenders Scrap Buyers were third.

Five teams initially played in the regular league with three marching to the play-offs where the winner was awarded Shs3m.

Mukono, who are on paper the strongest team, made light work of the opposition winning both games while Scrap Buyers, who had the most expensive player, Ritah Nimusiima, lost all.

But the nerves were reserved for the final televised game, which Mukono edged 11-9 from hard fighting Scrap Buyers.

Throughout the game, Mukono used an unchanged line-up of Amina Nganda, the national team captain, African champion Lukia Nayiga, seed number one Rashida Mutesi, player of the day, Lydia Ayebazibwe and experienced Rhoda Nakawesi. Juliet Namuhanga only came in for the dead rubber 19th game as Ayebazibwe had secured the win.

"We had the confidence and belief that this would be our day. I am happy that we managed to come on top of the league," Nganda said.

Close opening stanza

The opening 10 games served fans and the TV audience with a mouthwatering game.

After falling behind 3-2 in the first five games, Scrap Buyers was unrelenting. Marian Nanyonga shocked Mutesi in game seven followed by two other wins from Sheila Ankah and Victoria Namuyanja to send the game into a 5-5 halftime tie.

Nganda rallied her teammates to win the first two opening games of the second half.

"Those are very important games if we are to take this championship," she said in the halftime briefing.

Indeed, they won the two frames with Mutesi and Nakawesi heeding her advice. But Ritah Nimusiima and Ankah had different ideas as they beat Ayebazibwe and Nganda respectively to level matters.

Nayiga, who did not lose a single frame, won game 15 followed by Nakawesi and Ayebazibwe's cracker against Nanyonga to secure the victory.

"Scrap Buyers are a very experienced team and we knew it was going to always be tough against them. They beat us in the regular season and after losing their play-off opening game to Upper Volta, they were always going to be very difficult," Mutesi smiled with a gap in her teeth showing how relieved she was with the victory.

The girls deservedly sung and danced all evening.

Mukono Giants were initially acquired from Ntinda Giants but the Mukono owners closed shop and the team only survived by the clemency of the Pool Association of Uganda, who allowed them to change home to Pot It Bar in Najjanankumbi. There was nothing Mukono about the team apart from the name!

They finished the season without a manager and obviously no winning bonuses.

Namuyanja top

Namuyanja was the only individual player awarded at the closing ceremony for emerging the top scorer.

This was not only a testament of how consistent she has been but her class as well.

"At least I have something to smile about. We had a tough season but my individual effort has paid off," Namuyanja said.

The men’s league will be closed on Thursday with Mbale and Upper Volta vying for the national title.

Ladies pool league – play-offs

Scrap Buyers 9-11 Mukono

Mukono 12-8 Upper Volta

Scrap Buyers 8-12 Upper Volta

Top scorer: Victoria Namuyanja

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