KCB Defend Series Title Despite Being Bowled Out

KCB successfully defended their Safaricom sevens series title at the weekend, despite failing to make it to the cup competition at the Christie sevens and losing 12-0 to Nondies in the Bowl final.

KCB celebrating their Prinsloo title

KCB celebrating their Prinsloo title

The Lions accumulated a total of 92 points over the 5 leg series, picking up 3 titles on the way to the overall crown. The weekend was however an anti climax for the side as they came down tumbling at the final leg.

The side that started the weekend as defending Christie sevens champions failed to make it to the cup competition, when they lost to Impala and Homeboyz in Pool A on day 1. This was the big news out of Day 1 as the Lions were relegated to the Bowl for the first time in a long while.

Impala had qualified for the cup competition for the first time in 3 legs and had done it in style, topping the Pool of death. The presence of Innocent ‘Namcos’ Simiyu, giving the side a much needed boost.

The other head liners from Day 1 were Mwamba RFC, the black shirts having recalled former Kenya sevens international George Mbaye, were firing on all cylinders and had only conceded a single try after Day 1.

Kisumu managed to make the cup quarter finals for the first time this season after upseting Western Bulls 14-12 in Pool D. The hosts, Quins, Strathmore, Kabras and Homeboyz rounded up the cup quarter finalists.

The complete Quarter final pairings were as follows :

Bowl :

KCB vs Machine

Western Bulls vs Mombasa

Catholic vs Masaku

Nondies vs JKUAT

Plate :

Impala vs Nakuru

Quins vs Kabras

Mwamba vs Kisumu

Strathmore vs Homeboyz

At this point KCB’s fate was still very much in their hands, a place in the Bowl semi final and they would be crowned series champions for the second year running. They got off to a good start on Day 2, beating Mean Machine 31-7 in the first Bowl quarter final.

There were also wins for Western Bulls, the Catholic Monks and Nondies.

In the Cup, Impala saw off Nakuru 14-10 while hosts Quins beat Kabras 17-0, to set the Ngong road derby in the cup semi final. Mwamba were 24-0 winners over Kisumu and would meet Strathmore who finally got the better of Homeboyz 7-0 in the other quarter final.

That result by the Leos also signified the end of the race for the overall title, as KCB’s tally of 90 points that far, was insurmountable. Homeboyz had also secured second place as Nakuru failed to make it past the cup quarter finals. All that was left to fight for in the series was pride and better postings on the log.

Semi Final Pairings :

Shield :

Machine vs Mombasa

Masaku vs JKUAT

Bowl :

KCB vs Western Bulls

Catholic vs Nondies

Plate :

Nakuru vs Kabras

Kisumu vs Homeboyz

Cup :

Impala vs Quins

Strathmore vs Mwamba

KCB were 19-7 winners over Western Bulls in the first Bowl semi final to set up a battle of the Lions in the final against Nondies who beat Catholic 22-0.

Kabras upset Nakuru 21-15 with Homeboyz beating Kisumu 36-5 in the Plate. Impala got back form a 19-7 deficit at the break to silence the Quins faithful with a last minute Sam Onsomu try to hand them a 21-19 result. Not such a great way to celebrate 50 years of Christie sevens for the hosts.

In the second semi final, things were more straight forward as Mwamba beat Strathmore 26-0 and book a final berth against Impala. The black shirts were yet to concede a try on Day 2.

Final Pairings :

Shield :

Machine vs JKUAT

Bowl :

KCB vs Nondies

Plate :

Kabras vs Homeboyz

Bronze :

Quins vs Strathmore

Cup :

Impala vs Mwamba

Machine marked their return to the top flight with a Shield title after beating fellow university side JKUAT 5-0 in the final.

KCB were beaten 12-0 in the Bowl final by Nondies, as the toll of playing in 4 straight cup finals clearly showed in the bankers play. Homeboyz picked up the Plate title after beating Kabras 21-5.

Bush Mwale of Homeboyz in full flight against Kabras (Photo - Skarra)

Bush Mwale of Homeboyz in full flight against Kabras (Photo – Skarra)

Hosts Kenya Harlequins finished in fourth place after losing to Strathmore 19-5 in the Bronze final.

It was now time for the big final, with Impala taking on Mwamba RFC for the 50th Christie title. The match also held with it a chance for a top four finish for Kulabu, for the red shirts it was a matter of finishing the season on a high.

Impala were quicker off the blocks, Sam Onsomu scoring under the posts with Nato Simiyu converting for a 7-0 lead. Dennis Ombachi would narrow that deficit to two points going into the breather with a try at the corner.

The second half would kick off with Kulabu asking all the questions, and piling the pressure on the Impala defence. Nato Simiyu would visit the cold chair for an intentional knock on. Kulabu were quick to make their numbers advantage count as Collins Injera gathered a lose Impala pass to score under the posts for a 12-7 lead.

Horace Otieno would race the length of the pitch to score and give the black shirts a 17-7 lead as Impala got back to their full complement. Nato Simiyu would make up for his time in the bin , with a try and a conversion to make it 17-14 and set up a tense closing minutes.

Ombachi would settle the Kulabu nerves as he landed his second try of the match and his side’s fourth for a 24-14 final score. The Black shirts had finally put an end to their sevens cup title drought to an end in style.

Not only being ruthless going forward, but by most importantly shutting out their opposition, conceding only three tries over the two days.

Mwamba celebrating their Christie title (Photo - Skarra)

Mwamba celebrating their Christie title (Photo – Skarra)

This could be the turn around point for Kulabu, as they now have a young crop of players who have seen and tested the best and worst of sevens rugby over the past five legs, to complement the globe trotters they already have in their ranks.

Dennis Ombachi picked up the Christie sevens top try scorer and most valuable player accolades. As Paul Abuto picked up the most promising player award.

The weekend however belonged to KCB as they wrapped up the series title in unconventional fashion. 92 points, 4 cup finals out of 5, they will still be the team to beat next year as their squad depth continues to impress.

Here is how the 2014 Safaricom sevens series overall log looks like after the five rounds :

Final sevens standings

Jacob Ojee picked up the series’ top try scorer and most valuable player accolades for the second year running. You sense that it won’t be long since he is the first name on the national team squad list. Augustine Lughonzo picked up the top points scorer award.

The Catholic Monks were the series’ most promising side, a plate final appearance at the Kabeberi sevens set the stage for a great season for the Monks who finished in 11th spot on 35 points.

Attention now shifts to the big one, Africa’s premier sevens tournament, the Safari Sevens.

KWISHA…Nimeruka Nje!!

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