The inaugural overseas tour marked a significant milestone for Soroti Cricket Academy, the oldest Cricket Hub in Uganda.
It commenced in November last year when the Rwanda Cricket Association extended an invitation to Soroti Cricket Academy, specifically inviting their under-17 girls’ team to participate in the tournament.
This tournament serves as the starting point for a series of upcoming tours, and the entire journey has laid the groundwork for a lasting relationship between Soroti Cricket Academy and the Rwanda Cricket Association.
Navigating through the logistical complexities of international travel, the preparations for this venture began promptly upon accepting the invitation.
Clearances posed a unique challenge, particularly for the minors, with 12-year-old members in the squad. This challenge was further compounded by the necessity of processing travel documents, adding an extra layer of intricacy to the pre-tour arrangements.
As the departure date approached, there was anticipation that the Uganda Cricket Association would extend support to the Academy.
However, this hope proved futile. Nevertheless, Batball organization came through, offering valuable assistance to Soroti Cricket Academy by providing necessary equipment.
On January 14, 2023, the team left Kampala, led by Chairman Musana Felix, with the departure point being Lugogo at approximately 10:00 AM.
Upon arrival in Kigali on the same day, the team took a well-deserved rest after having dinner.
The planned light training session on following day at the IPRC cricket ground in Kigali faced an unfortunate setback due to a heavy rain pour that halted the program.
On January 16th, two thrilling T20 games were scheduled, both of which Soroti Cricket Academy emerged victorious in.
The morning match concluded with a resounding win by 9 wickets, while the afternoon game saw them triumph by a margin of 38 runs.
The subsequent day, January 17th, was dedicated to a 40-over game. Rwanda U-17 girls secured their first win of the tour, claiming victory with an impressive 8-wicket margin.
January 18th served as a rest day, providing an opportunity for the girls to engage in a light training session in the morning, reflecting on previous mistakes that might have led to the earlier loss.
In the afternoon, the team embarked on a tour around Kigali city, visiting notable landmarks such as the Amahoro stadium, BK Arena, memorial sites, and the Convention center.
Despite interruptions from heavy rain, preventing some planned visits, the team managed to explore the car-free zone in downtown and various parts of the city.
As part of the return trip, the team made a memorable stopover at the Equator, capturing the essence of the tour with a commemorative photo.
Cricket action resumed the following day with two T20 games. The morning encounter saw Rwanda secure a narrow victory by 4 runs, leveling the series at 2-2.
However, a remarkable afternoon performance by Soroti Cricket Academy, culminating in a well-deserved 7-wicket win in the tiebreaker, allowed them to clinch the series with a final score of 3-2.
Tino Sarah, representing Soroti Cricket Academy, stood out as the sole player to claim dual Player of the Match accolades, highlighting her exceptional contributions.
Usabyimana Sylvia from Rwanda delivered the most outstanding bowling performance of the entire tournament, securing 4 wickets in a single game.
In the scheduled 40-over match, she bowled 4.5 overs, including 2 maidens, and conceded a mere 3 runs. This outstanding effort played a crucial role as Soroti Cricket Academy was bundled out for only 13 runs.
Akrut Asumin from Soroti U17 Girls produced the highest individual score in the series, achieving 23 runs off 32 balls in the second game.
Notably, Soroti Cricket Academy recorded the highest team score in the tournament, reaching 84 all out in 19.5 overs.
Conversely, Rwanda U-17 girls faced the challenge of the lowest team score, managing only 11 all out in 9.5 overs.
In the realm of individual awards and accolades, Umukundwa Nascilla from the Rwanda under-17 girls’ team earned the prestigious title of Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the series.
Her exceptional performance amassed 19.06 points, securing not only the MVP honor but also the distinction of the Best Bowler.
Nascilla demonstrated her bowling prowess by claiming 8 wickets, delivering 4 maidens, and maintaining an impressive economy rate of 1.78.
Asumin Akurut, representing Soroti Cricket Academy, claimed the title of Best Batter in the series. Accumulating a total of 51 runs from 5 innings.
Akurut showcased a striking balance between precision and power, boasting a commendable strike rate of 68 and an average of 17.
The title of Best Fielder of the tournament went to Jimia Mohammad, the captain of Soroti Cricket Academy. Over the course of 5 matches, she exhibited outstanding fielding skills, accumulating an impressive total of 9 dismissals.
Her agility and proficiency in the field undoubtedly contributed to the team’s overall performance throughout the tournament.
Addressing both teams and cricket enthusiasts during the closing ceremony, Mr. Byiringiro Emmanuel, the General Manager for Rwanda Cricket Association, expressed profound pride in Soroti Cricket Academy for graciously accepting the invitation.
He emphasized that this collaboration symbolizes a strong partnership and extended his gratitude to Soroti Cricket Academy for embracing the opportunity for skills exchange.
Mr. Byiringiro firmly believes that this reciprocal engagement is pivotal for the cricket community, envisioning a future where the Rwanda team reciprocates the visit to Soroti, proposing that such tournaments should become an annual tradition.
Chairman Felix Musana, representing Soroti Cricket Academy, conveyed heartfelt appreciation to RCA for hosting them.
He extended gratitude for the warm hospitality and specifically commended their liaison, Madam Rosine Uwera, for her continuous guidance during their stay in Kigali.
Chairman Musana departed with confidence, expressing that the girls had a transformative experience playing on an international stage, emphasizing its positive impact on the overall growth of the game.
Highlighting a broader perspective, Chairman Musana emphasized that the essence of the series extends beyond the outcome, emphasizing the paramount importance of individual player growth and development.
To commemorate the meaningful tour, the two leaders exchanged mementos, symbolizing a lasting mark on the shared cricket journey.
Throughout the tour, Mr. Rurangwa Landry, the Development Manager for Rwanda Cricket Association, consistently emphasized the core philosophy that “Cricket should improve the welfare of people in the community; if it doesn’t, then it has lost track.”
He maintained that every initiative in cricket development should be geared towards this noble objective.
Post the dinner on January 19th, following the culmination of the last two games, the Soroti team promptly departed from Kigali.
Their swift return was necessitated by the upcoming holiday coaching program awaiting them at home.
Additionally, the team is gearing up for the groundbreaking first-ever Girls U-18 Inter-Hub tournament scheduled to take place in Gulu from January 24th to 28th, 2023.
The turnaround reflects their commitment to both local community engagement and ongoing developmental efforts within the sport.
Soroti Cricket Academy did not only clinch victory in the series with a resounding 3-2 triumph but also showcased inclusivity by providing playing opportunities to all 14 players in the squad.
This accomplishment goes beyond the scoreline, as it marks a significant turning point in the relationship between Rwanda and Soroti Cricket Academy.
The series served as a catalyst for the mutual enhancement of skills between the two teams, fostering a positive and collaborative atmosphere for future engagements.