Remember The Name, Nothern Suburb Cubs
What started out as an ordinary rugby weekend in Embu, ended in eye opening fashion at the Embu stadium, with a handful of fans witnessing what can only be described as all heart rugby, from one team in particular.
A quick glance at the 16 turned 12 teams that graced the tournament, you could always tell that this was going to be an easy run out especially for the headline side, Samurai Select. With sides fresh from the fifteens season, it was bound to be a scrappy two days of sevens rugby.
After the opening round of matches on day 1, a few sides stood out apart from the Samurai, there was Nondies, Strathmore, Embu RFC and the Catholic Monks. But one side bubbled under and went largely unnoticed, that is until day 2.
The Nairobi based Nothern Suburb Cubs, had just done enough to make it to the main cup quarter finals. Having put 66 points past Ruika, and losing 38-0 to the Samurai Select. They drew Nondies in the first cup quarter final of day 2.
For this tournament, the cup quarter finals served as the ‘dew matches’ (first set of fixtures on day 2), thus most of us did not catch the Cubs blanking Nondies 19-0, but tales of the young courageous side had already done rounds and as they lined up the Strathmore Leos in the semi finals.
Joining them in the Cup semi finals were the Samurai Select and the Catholic Monks, the Samurai had put 50 past Embu, with the Monks beating Kiambu 27-12, the Leos had beaten Chuka 26-5 to book the slot against the Cubs.
Most did not give them a fighting chance against a Strathmore Leos side that had been in great form this far. But true to their character, the Suburbs rushed to a 12-0 lead in the first half before closing out the Leos, 12-7 at full time.
The Cubs had ripped apart the odds book and made it to the cup final, lying in wait was the Samurai Select who had beaten them 38-0 on day 1, there was no way that this was going to be a contest. Or was there?
The opening seven minutes of that final were probably the best half of sevens I had watched since that first half in Singapore, okay maybe I exaggerate. But what the Suburbs did in that first half was something special, they made a statement to confirm that their earlier wins in the day were by no means a fluke.
Led by the likes of Johnstone Olindi and Brezzneve Owiti, the Cubs stood up to what would pass for a Kenya sevens side on any other day. They opened the scoring and led 7-5 going into the break before the rift in class finally showed, the Samurai comfortable 20-7 winners in the end.
While the accolades did go to the Samurai, the plaudits definitely belonged to this young side that had nothing but sheer determination and a never say die attitude. They played a very entertaining and fearless brand of rugby, when others folded on sight of the more experienced players, they stood toe to toe with them.
Under the instructions of Simon Jawichre and Edward ‘Bombi’ Opiyo, the Nothern Suburb Cubs were an absolute joy to watch. Very effective going forward, ruthless in defence and with a spring to their step like a seasoned Fijian side.
The tournament’s most valuable player award went to Johnstone Olindi who featured for the Homeboyz last season. Olindi was at the center of everything good that came from this Suburbs side. At fly half he pulled the strings with poise, dictating the games’ pace, with runners feeding off him over the two days.
While most may brush off their achievements at the weekend as low key and insignificant. What these kids managed to do is make a statement, both to themselves and the rugby scene. When the story of the Nothern Suburb Cubs is told, they will most probably trace it back to this weekend.
In the bigger picture of things, it really is exciting to see more young upcoming teams, playing a free flowing exciting brand of rugby that had for a long time been our identity. Till we were introduced to this ‘happy go lucky one dimensional bang bang rugby.’ The future does indeed look bright..
I can’t wait to see how these young lads perform in the Sevens circuit…
The Nothern Suburb Cubs squad to Embu 7s : Brian Omondi, Victor Wawire, Brezzneve Owiti, Simon Mulwani, Benson Amadi, Max Omondi, Jimmy Ochieng’, Wilfred Waswa, Brenan Rashid, George Maranga, Graham Wafula, Ishmael Gorio, Felix Omondi, Mbachia Wilberforce, Johnstone Olindi.