Closing Day In The Kenya Cup and ESS
It will be the closing weekend in the top two leagues, a weekend that is commonly referred to as ‘closing day’.
Despite the battles at the top and bottom of the standings already done and dusted it promises to be a great closing day.
Blakblad vs KCB – (4pm, KU)
KCB close their regular season at the same venue they did last season, the blad bin. At that point last season the Lions needed a bonus point win to secure a home semi final but were frustrated by a hard tackling Blad side to win 17-0.
This season the green shirts do need a bonus and a big score here if they are to wrestle second spot from Quins. But with the quartered shirts travelling to bottom side Kisumu they have a long shot at that.
Blad have had a good season claiming their first win in the top flight, they lie in 11th on 15 points having played 11 matches. They will come into this one looking to match last season’s performance against KCB and probably get some points in this fixture that carries some history with it.
The cubs lead the ESS log and are poised to end it that way as they play 9th placed Blad II. The cubs are tied on points with the Catulus who travel to Nakuru to face third placed Nakuru II.
Mombasa vs Impala (4pm – MSC)
Most will envy Impala here, as they close their season down at the coast against Mombasa RFC. That will however be where the envy ends for most as Impala will be closing what has been another disappointing season.
Impala lie in 9th with 27 points and though this will be an improvement from last season’s 25 point haul, they are still far from where many expected them to be. That being said the red shirts haven’t lost this year and will be looking to end this campaign on a high.
Mombasa will be happy with their return to the top flight having already secured a second season. The hosts lie just above the drop zone on 11 points, those wins over Blad, Kisumu and Eldoret proving enough to get them over.
Impala II were the club’s shinning light last season, going all the way to the play offs. This season though they have failed to find that form and will finish in eighth despite the result here against Mombasa II who lie in 12th.
Machine vs Nondies (4pm – UON)
10th placed Machine host Nondies who are in eighth with an apparent two games in hand. Machine have had another tough season only managing three wins in 12, the most important thing though is that they have done enough to secure Kenya Cup status.
Nondies were in the play off battle for most of the season, fading out in the end. Whether they get to play those two fixtures against Eldoret and Blad is still unclear but the white shirts have improved greatly this season.
This fixture has always been a close fought affair, and is another one that carries heaps of history with it. Last time these two met, Nondies were 15-11 winners at the same venue.
Nondies II still have a mathematical shot at a play off spot with 30 points and a game in hand. To make it to the play offs however, they will need the sides above them to not pick up any points. A long shot but one the side will definitely take as they face Machine II who lie in 12th.
Kisumu vs Quins (4pm, Kisumu Polytechnic)
Second placed Quins travel to Kisumu looking to finish in second and secure a home semi final on 10th May.
Quins will be forgiven for already counting the five points and a huge score here as they travel to a depleted Kisumu side that has shiped in 594 points this season, only scoring 13. Looking at the number of walk overs they have given that number could easily hit 800.
After missing out on the play offs last season, Quins will be back this season and a win here will guarantee a home semi final.
The Arturos will definitely not be defending their ESS title, having fallen out of the play off spots. The defending champions lie in 6th and will be playing for pride here and to wrap up what has been a disappointing season by their standards, on a high.
Eldoret vs Mwamba (4pm – Eldoret Sports Club)
After that monumental win against Nakuru, Mwamba RFC travel to second from last Eldoret in their season closer. Kulabu lie in 7th and have a chance to finish in 6th depending on the Western Bulls result.
Kulabu who failed to match their performance from last season where they finishd in fourth will be looking for a big win here to finish on a high.
Eldoret will directly go back into the Nationwide after a season in the top flight. The hosts have had a tough debut season and will drop with some valuable lessons. This will be another opportunity for the side to learn from one of the better sides in the league.
Mwamba II will be looking to avoid the heart break they experienced last season, where they failed to make the play offs by a whisker. This time round they hold fourth spot on 40 points and a win here will ensure passage into the play offs.
W.Bulls vs Homeboyz (4pm – Kakamega High)
Two of this season’s surprise packages will be doing battle at the Kakamega High school. Homeboyz and Western Bulls who will be completing their second seasons have been impressive in this campaign. The Djs lie in fifth on on 41 points seven ahead of their hosts in sixth.
The two have had similar impressive runs this season, and it will be hard to pick out a winner here. The visitors have managed eight wins in 12 with the Bulls winning half of their fixtures this far. The hosts though have been quite impressive at home this season and will be looking to end on a high here.
The last time these two met, the Homeboyz were 22-21 winners at the same venue. Whichever way this one goes there is no denying that if the two manage to hold on to their players they will both be forces to reckon with next season.
In the ESS, the Calves still have a chance to snatch a play off spot from the jaws of Mwamba II. They will however need a bonus win here and hope that Mwamba II fail to win in Eldoret. Homeboyz II are in 10th spot with no chance of finishing any better.
Nakuru vs Strathmore (4pm – NAC)
The closing day highlight will see a replay of last season’s final with leaders Nakuru hosting fourth placed Strathmore at the Suguta Valley.
These two played out a 15-10 result in favour of Nakuru at the Madaraka Sports complex in the regular season, before Nakuru ran riot in the final to win 37-3.
The two meet again this season having already secured play off spots. Nakuru come into this one having lost their first match this season, 30-20 to Mwamba. The Wanyore will be looking to get back into winning ways and end the regular season on a high.
Strathmore in fourth have done enough to secure fourth spot and will be looking to inflict the second defeat on their hosts. The Leos have always loved playing at the NAC, but that has been in the shorter version of the sport.
They will be looking to become the first side to win at the Suguta Valley in almost two years. With the defeat at Mwamba, the Leos will be up beat also having benefited from a rest that weekend. It promises to be a tough one and if the Leos forwards stand up to the fight they will give their side a huge chance in this one.
The defending champions will be looking to send a message to their title opponents here including the Leos, with that loss to Kulabu having raised a few doubts. They will probably look to bully the Strathmore forwards into submission like they did during the final and have done multiple times this season.
In the ESS, both sides have secured play off spots, but with one point separating the two and being the difference between a home semi final and an away one, it will be a cracker of a match. The Catulus hold a one point advantage over Nakuru II and will be looking to keep that advantage or increase it at the end of the eighty minutes.
To the predictions ;
KCB +50 over Blad
Impala +50 over Mombasa
Nondies +20 over Machine
Quins +80 over Kisumu
Mwamba +70 over Eldoret
Homeboyz +5 over Bulls
Nakuru +5 over Strathmore