By Denis Musali
The school's select side chosen to represent Uganda at the inaugural youth quadrangular series returned victorious from the week-long tournament. The tournament had four teams taking part with the hosts Rwanda fielding two development sides while Uganda was represented by Nyakasura School and the school's select side.
The school's select side was chosen from the 2019 school's cricket week and had a one-week training camp to prepare for the youth series. The 14 players were under the guidance of experienced Habib Mugalula.
The school's select side was led by Aine Aaron from Kings College Budo, the tournament was played on a round basis with each team guaranteed of playing six games that included three T20s and three ODI games.
The youngsters faced the Rwanda U19 side in their 1st T20 game with Cyrus Kakuru the stand out player scoring a century off only 51 balls as he led his team to their 1st victory on tour in a game whose second innings were disrupted by rain.
In the second tour game, the school's cricket side faced Rwanda U19 in a 50 over game that the visitors dominated with Cyrus Kakuru 91 and Asaba Brian 63 scoring half-centuries in a great batting performance from the youngsters. The hosts were nowhere near the contest as they folded just for 77 to give the Ugandans their second win on the tour by 197 runs.
The third game for the visitors was a 50 over contest against the Rwanda U23 side that offered better competition. They were very disciplined with the ball and restricted the visitors to just 169 runs in 40 overs and only an inspired bowling performance from the leg spinner Richard Sohela who picked a fiver 5/16 ensured the third win for the visitors by 50 runs.
The daily match days also tested the endurance of the youngsters as there was no time to rest and the pressure got to the youngsters on day 4 when they had to play two T20 games. A batting collapse in the morning against the Rwanda U23 side saw the visitors post just 76 runs. The home side was cruising in the chase until all-rounders Geoffery Kakaire and Pius Oloka combined to snap up five wickets that turned the game for the visitors. The hosts crumbled when the pressure was on falling short by 4 runs to give the visitors their fourth consecutive win.
With Nyakasura dropping precious points against the Rwanda U19 side in the other T20 game, the school select side only needed one win in the afternoon against their Nyakasura in the afternoon to be certain of being champions. Another uneventful batting performance saw the visitors post a paltry 97 runs in their 20 overs. In the chase at 10/4, Nyakasura looked down and out but their team captain Pascal Murungi put his hand up scoring a match-winning 70 to deflate any chance of the school select side going unbeaten. The win meant that both sides had won four games out of their five and it set up a mouth-watering final on the last day of the tournament.
The final game between the two Ugandan sides was momentarily delayed by a persistent early morning shower and was play was possible the game was reduced to 38 overs. The school select side won the toss and chose to bowl 1st a decision that quickly paid off as fast bowler Waiswa Anderson and leg spinner Richard Sohela made early inroads that set the tone of the Nyakasura innings who failed to have any meaningful partnerships eventually bowled out for 112 in 34 overs. The youngsters started the chase in assured fashion with makeshift opener Geoffrey Kakaire taking the game to the bowlers as they cruised to 46/0 before the first wicket fell. Cyrus Kakuru and Ronald Lutaya closed out the seven-wicket win for the school select side to be crowned champions of the inaugural youth quadrangular series.
The school select side finished ahead of their Ugandan counterparts Nyakasura who finished second with the Rwanda U23 taking third place and Rwanda U19 side finishing bottom of the four-team tournament. With 253 runs to his name from six innings, Cyrus Kakuru was declared the tournament MVP. Other notable performance for the school select side included 14-year-old Sohela Richard who picked up 10 wickets with his leg-spin together with his partner in the art Joseph Baguma who picked up 8 wickets as well.
A lot of lessons for the technical team picked up from the tournament as they prepare a team for the 2021 U19 World Cup qualifiers and on the whole a wonderful experience for the youngsters to test their skills against unfamiliar opposition.