By Norbert Abbi
St Johns High School 123/5 in 20 overs (Nicholas Osikol 41*off 66, Zephaniah A 22 off 10) Lost to Busoga College Mwiri 124/5 in 18 overs (Ramathan Ochimi 49* off 48, Trevor Bukenya 25 off 26) by 5 Wickets.
Busoga College Mwiri have been crowned champions of the 2018 edition of the Boys Schools Cricket Week tournament held in Kampala. They beat St. Johns High School to claim the title in a thrilling finish to the tournament.
St. Johns won the toss and elected to bat hoping to ride on the back of explosive batsman Zephaniah ‘Katungi’ Arinaitwe. This seemed to pay off in the first three overs that saw them amass 29 runs with Zephaniah contributing 22, which included three meaty sixes off the bowling of Trevor Bukenya. His tenure at the crease was however cut short by the works of seamer Suleiman Mwebaze.
The fall of wickets did not stop as Mwiri went on to pick another four wickets in the next five overs to see St Johns stuck at 62/5 in 8 overs. This was as good as it would get for the fall of wickets as Nicholas Osikol dug in to steady the ship with a team high of 41 in 66 balls.
Nicholas however was forced to retire hurt when he tripped and sprained his ankle in the process of making a single between the wickets. At that point, St Johns were at 115 and they just as easily managed to add another 8 runs in the 7 balls that remained to propel them to 123 runs in the allotted overs.
A target of 123 in 20 overs seemed fairer compared to the 138 runs Mwiri failed to chase the last time both sides met in the group stages. Mwiri miserably collapsed at 107 all out and did not look forward to a repeat as their pride and the championship was at stake.
With the pressure to perform on, star batsmen Perry Wazombe, Ronald Opio and Cyrus Kakuru were easily dismissed for a paltry combined total of 14 runs to leave Mwiri re-evaluating their chances. At that point, the call of duty beckoned and, Ramathan Ochimi who batted at number two made a valuable partnership with Trevor Bukenya (25 off 26) to score 46 runs and calm the nerves of their fans before the latter fell.
Ochimi then went on to score an unbeaten 49 runs not out in 48 balls with the batsman getting two runs off the last ball in the 18th over to seal the win for the boys in blue. Mwiri have now won the title for a record 17 times.
Their victory today comes after a thrilling semifinal win against last year’s champions Jinja SS. Mwiri had to dig deep to fend off the defending champions Jinja SSS to win a semifinal thriller by 3 runs.
On the small Budo Oval Jinja SSS looked came after the 150 set by Mwiri with a lot of power but they ultimately fell short by three runs with Trevor Bukenya defending 13 runs in the last over.
Mwiri have won the schools cricket week a record 17 times with their last crown coming in 2015. Coach Isaneez who has been in some painful losses in the final both as a player with Jinja SSS and coach of Mwiri finally has his hands on the holy grail.