Kenya Steam roll Uganda In Elgon Cup
After a closely fought out contest in the first leg, the Kenyan sides turned on the style at home to claim the three Elgon cup titles in commanding fashion.
Only the Lionesses had won in the first leg, and looked set to reclaim the title that they lost last year. It was however all to play for in the Under 19 and Men’s category after the Kenya sides suffered narrow defeats in Kampala.
Under 19 Category
Chipu set the ball rolling at the RFUEA and in many ways set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. Trailing 10-15 from the first leg, the Chipu were first on the board through a Marlin Mukolwe penalty. Michael Wanjala would go over for the side’s first try, Mukolwe converting to make it 10-0 with fifteen minutes played.
The physicality of the Kenyans was taking its toll on their opposition, the addition of Billy Isabwa and Michael Wanjala was working magic at the backs. The likes of Simon Muniafu, Felix Ojow and Herman Humwa were causing the Uganda defence all kinds of trouble.
The visitors would finally settle into things, showing some great set of skills in open play. It was a matter of time before they got back into the game through a Pius Ogena try on the 20 minute mark, to make the scores 10-5.
That would be the wake up call the Chipu needed, as they realised that their work was not yet done. Marlin Mukolwe would combine brilliantly with Isabwa to release Felix Ojow, who in turn passed to Michael Wanjala. The deceptive Wanjala releasing winger Edgar Khafumi to score under the posts, Mukolwe would add the extras for a 17-5 half time score.
The Kenya U-19 had been dominant in that half, as mentioned earlier their physicality was overwhelming. Though you could see that the Uganda U-19 could play they saw very little of the pill and were forced to defend for large parts of the half. The contest at the set piece was more balanced as neither side dominated the other in the scrums or line outs.
The second half saw more of the same, Kenya with all the possession in the opening exchanges. Billy Isabwa would slice through the hapless Uganda defence to go over for his side’s fourth try, Mukolwe converting to make it 24-5 inside the first five minutes of the second half.
From this point the match would fizzle out, the Kenyans seemingly happy with the 19 point cushion. They would let several chances to increase that margin slip, but were fortunate that their opponents couldn’t do ant better. That is until the 60th minute, when Edrine Kayima went over with Stallone Arinaitwe converting to take the scores to 24-12.
Marlin Mukolwe would take his match tally to 12 points, from a penalty to make the scores 27-12. With 20 minutes to go, Ugandans threw everything at the Kenyans, as they gave it one last push.
Their efforts were however being thwarted at every turn, frustration started to creep in. The emotions started to boil over, as both sides were reduced to 14 men as Isaac Tago and Tyson Okoth saw yellow after a scuffle.
Kenya were further reduced to 13, Herman Humwa joining the two in the sin bin. Chipu would however hold on to the 27-12 result and claim the first Elgon Cup Under 19 title, 37-27 on aggregate.
It was a great showing from both sides, a great start to the category and one that is set to light up this tournament.
With an 18 point cushion, the Lionesses would be forgiven for making a slow start in this one. The Lady cranes looked livelier in the opening exchanges, but it was the Lionesses who took the early lead, Millicent Opala going over for a 5-0 score after the 15 minute mark.
The pacey Lady cranes winger Asha Nakityo would level things immediately touching down at the corner. The match would plateau out in the next quarter of an hour with neither side making any tangible breakthroughs.
With the half time break fast approaching, two quick tries by stalwarts Philadelphia Olando and Doreen Remour saw the Lionesses go into the breather with their tails up 17-5 after Janet Awuor converted the last try.
The Lionesses were a step ahead of their counter parts, putting together several phases of play. Something their opponents failed to match, they looked disjointed, their only threat coming from the winger Nakityo.
The Lionesses would pick up from where they left off in the first half, Irene Atieno dancing through the dazed Uganda defence to touch down under the posts, Awuor with the extras to make it 24-5. A push over try by Beatrice Atim for the visitors made the score 24-10, as the Ugandans tried to get back into the game.
It was however not going to be for the lady cranes, a brilliant try by Janet Akello, who ran the good part of 70 meters and 3 defenders to touch down for a 29-10 score heading into the last 10 minutes of the game.
Irene Atieno would stretch that lead from a penalty to 32-10, before Camilyne Oyuayo rounded up a super performance landing the final try and nail, to claim a 39-10 result after Awuor’s conversion.
72-25 on aggregate represents Kenya’s biggest win over their fierce rivals and it was well deserved after dominating over the two legs. The hard work put into this team has started to show, the Lionesses can only get better from here.
Knowing that they had a seven point deficit to recover, the hosts began on high tempo, the Cranes doing well to hold on. Kenya would win a penalty a little over 25 meters close to the touch line. It was within Adimo’s range thus opted to go for the posts, his kick hitting the upright and bouncing back into play.
Kenya would react quicker to regain possession, Philip Kwame touching down for the first try of the match. Uganda would get a similar twist minutes later where a kick from a penalty hit the upright, but they failed to gather the ball.
Uganda would try to impose themselves physically, with little success. The Kenyan forwards were matching their heavier counter parts pound for pound, Brian Sagara, Dalmas Chituyi, Edwins Makori and Philip Owuor exemplary through out this encounter.
The combination of Eden Agero and Isaac Adimo was clicking brilliantly, Kevin Omiyo and Fabian Olando in midfield were beating the gain line with every touch of the ball as did Godfrey Mbeya and Leon Adongo.
The visitors were doing well to keep the rampant Kenyans at bay, the all too familiar Romano Ogwal and Marvin Odongo causing problems here and there. Joseph Aredo at fly half doing well to stand his ground against the marauding Kenyan attack that attacked his channel often. Justin Kimono who was explosive as ever until he was forced off with an injury mid way through the first half.
It was only a matter of time before Kenya went further ahead, Nato Simiyu going over just before the half time break with Adimo adding the extras for a 12-0 lead at the breather. Kenya were putting together great phases of play, had the upper hand in terms of possession and territory and were a bit unlucky not to have been further ahead.
The second half saw Kenya get more effective, Godfrey Mbeya getting things going for the home side with a try 10 minutes in. Eden Agero would be at the end of a sublime move that saw Nato Simiyu with an audacious step to release Agero who touched down, Adimo would add the extras for a 24-0 score line.
Kenya now rang in the changes, as the game entered the home stretch. Further tries from substitutes Jacob Ojee and Victor Brown made the scores 34-0 at the final whistle. It was real impressive from Kenya A who recorded the largest margin of victory in an Elgon cup match.
What was even more impressive is that this side had been put together a little under a month’s time. It was great watching the likes of Brian Sagara, Dalmas Chituyi, Anthony Orege, Rocky Aguko, Ezra Lagat, Peter Karia flourish in the red black and green.
48-21 on aggregate also represents one of our best results in the Elgon cup. With the Kenya A putting up such a great performance on the back of such short preparations, you don’t see the Simbas playing in this tournament any time soon.
The weekend showed just how much depth we have currently, we should now look to exposing these teams to more competitions not just the Elgon cup.