By Emisiko Andwati
The inaugural Arusha Junior Cricket League took place this past weekend on Saturday 7/4/2018. The tournament was hosted at the Arusha Club in Arusha, Tanzania. This is an initiative of former Kenyan national team player Michael Abwamba. “Coach Mike” as he has come to be known by many has not only started the JPL but also gave age grade cricket the breathe of life to give the young talents a chance. The tourney targets the U11-U19 age group.
The inaugural tournament attracted five teams which comprised of players from various Arusha suburbs while some came from as far as Moshi. All the teams were named after Indian Premier League franchises. Coach Mike had this to say about the team naming, “ I just had to twist it a bit from the IPL for it to motivate the juniors and give them a feeling of world class cricket. They always watch and wish to play in such big teams with a huge crowd, and the JPL ensured that their dreams are valid.”
The organizers were impressed by the event turnout which saw over eighty juniors registered to play plus their families that showed up to cheer them on.
All the matches were intense three teams(Royal Challengers Bangalore,Delhi Dare Devils and Chennai Super Kings) were tied with the same points at the Final1. Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Dare Devils emerged superior at Final 2 where they played a quick 5 over Match because of time. RCB batted 1st and made 24 runs, Delhi chased the Score in 4 overs to make 26runs and got crowned the winners of JPL 2018.
The following were the outstanding talents that scooped the individual awards :
Most Promising player – Manan Parmar
Best Bowler – Mihir Chavda
Best Batsman – Harsh Patel (with a total of 119runs)
Man of the tournament – Jinto Biju (with 4 wickets/ 97runs)
“The future looks Bright not only for JPL but for the youngsters. This being a start, I plan in having the JPL annually. And in future I also see JPL touring in other cities and becoming a huge movement for the juniors. I really appreciate the Sponsors who came on board to Make this Event a Huge Success. We had the Arusha Emusement and Go-Karting limited being our Main Sponsors,it being opened recently and being committed in supporting sporting events. We also had Media works and Aim Mall being our Silver Sponsors. The Sponsors have promised to adhere with their support in giving this youngsters a sporting Chance.With the youngsters, parents and Sponsors support – the JPL is here to stay.” – Said Coach Mike in a post tournament Interview