By Emisiko Andwati
After a year of running his Summer Cricket Camp, Coach Michael Abwamba decided to give his charges a big test by taking them out of Tanzania for a major tournament in Nairobi. With three teams, still the Tanzanian contingent wereviewed as the underdogs of the tournament given the level of cricket being played in their country compared to her neighbors Kenya and Uganda who also had participants. The three teams were Northern Tanzania Athlete Association (NTAA) U9, Arusha Jaffery U9 and NTAA U12.
Arusha Jaffery under nine team despite having the strongest players among the Tanzanian participants could barely come out of their group. Coach Mike attributed the unforeseen poor results as a product of tension, which engulfed the team with lots of expectations on their shoulders.
NTAA U12 gave an impressive account of themselves winning their opening two matches that saw them book a ticket into the semifinals. Eventual winners, Mombasa Simba Academy, eliminated them. NTAA U9 ended up as shock finalists and eventual winners of their category. During a post-matchinterview, their coach had this to say about the team, “These youngsters have been part of my initiative which I officially commenced in 2017 July. It is a combination of NTAA Schools. They have built a strong bond and chemistry that has caused them to be a threat to other teams.”
NTAA U9 won three of their group matches against, Star Field Cheetahs, Star Field Lions, Star Field Tigers and lost to Pumwani who they went on to meet in the finals. In the finals NTAA won the toss and chose to bat 1st, finished their overs to score 45 runs. Pumwani sailed to the finals unbeaten and had thrashed teams with scores of 80-90 runs in their wins.
“I had a game plan with my boys that caught Pumwani unawares with the big fall of wickets. Pumwani being unbeaten and with their gigantic scores in other matches undermined our score. They were forced to chase the score until the last over and we won the final by two runs.” Said Coach Mike.
Apart from winning the 2018 Hayer Star Field U9 trophy, the NTAA team went home with the following individual awards:
1 Man of the Match – Mikaeel Nash Allidina
1 Man of the Match – Udaay K. Sangar
2 Man of the Match Awards – Laird Hamilton Lombard
2 Man of the Match Awards – Caleb Mugisha
Best Bowler of the tournament – Caleb Mugisha
Best Batsman of the tournament – Keirav Sapra