Prisons reclaim Ndejje Woodball Open

Alverah Mukamarinda, the captain of Ndejje University women, makes a recovery shot. PHOTO/GEORGE KATONGOLE 

What you need to know:

The rain-affected tournament attracted a record number of schools.

Prisons have clinched their fourth consecutive Ndejje Woodball Open Championship, becoming the first team to achieve back-to-back victories at the prestigious event.

The rain-affected tournament attracted a record number of schools.

Abednego Okello, coach of the UCU team, led Prisons to victory with 89 strokes in 24 fairways.

Crescent Rwanyombya (95 strokes), Ladslaus Mudingotto (96 strokes), as well as Samson Rugongeza and Isaac Ariho (both 97 strokes), contributed to a combined score of 367 strokes to see Prisons back at the helm.

This impressive performance placed the defending league champions 19 strokes ahead of the second-placed Stroke team. Makerere University finished a distant third with a total score of 396 strokes.

"We prioritise teamwork, and I'm thrilled that we were able to secure another win together," said Mudingotto, the Prisons' spokesperson.

This victory comes after a disappointing performance at the Uganda Open in Gulu last October, where the Prisons team lost their title to Ndejje.

Since then, the team's fortunes have appeared to decline, despite boasting the most experienced players on paper.

They suffered defeats at the Kyambogo Open and have struggled to maintain a consistent performance.

The Prisons team's image has also transformed. Gone are their uniforms; instead, players have been seen sporting mismatched attire, including aging maroon t-shirts, Lakers basketball jerseys, and playing barefoot.

Only two players, Mudingotto and Davis Wabusa, appeared presentable enough to receive their trophy on the podium. Samson Rugongeza hinted at financial constraints but assured fans that the situation would be rectified soon.

"We're facing challenges, but we'll strive to find a solution before the league kicks off this weekend," Rugongeza said when questioned about the team's unconventional attire.

Mudingotto, the team's spokesperson, emphasised the significance of the win.

"Given our stature, we've been under immense pressure to perform. Missing out on two major championship titles is a setback," he acknowledged.

Home advantage

Ndejje capitalised on their home advantage in the women's category, winning gold with a score of 420 strokes, four ahead of Makerere University Business School (MUBS).

The defending league champions, the Ministry of Public Service, settled for third place with a combined score of 444 strokes.

Ndejje Corporates dominated the men's category with 205 strokes, while the University of Kisubi maintained their winning streak in the women's category, defeating their closest rivals, Zoe, by 58 strokes.

Luzira SS were victorious in the schools’ category, with Kenneth Etyang (41 strokes) and Norris Adriko (42 strokes) securing silver and bronze medals, respectively.

Their combined score of 172 strokes secured the team gold. Although Emmanuel Ekayu of Our Lady of Africa Namiryango (OLAN) clinched individual gold with 35 strokes in 12 gates, his performance was insufficient to propel his team to victory.

OLAN finished four strokes behind Luzira with a cumulative score of 176 strokes. St. Joseph's Naggalama finished third.

Immaculate Aloyo (41 strokes) and Anisha Mukyala (43 strokes) spearheaded OLAN's triumph in the girls' category, accumulating a combined score of 188 strokes. Martha Kisaakye, the daughter of legendary woodball player Lillian Zawedde, bagged silver for Buddo SS with 43 strokes. Mpoma Girls and Mpoma Satellite claimed the second and third-place finishes, respectively.

Bonnabaana Association swept all podium positions in the primary schools' category.