Finally, It Is The Lion’s Turn To Eat!
The Lions finally put to bed their eight year wait for Kenya cup glory, at the weekend, with an effective 27-3 result against Kabras.
Last year’s runners up showed their intent early on the final played before a packed RFUEA grounds, with Curtis Lilako going over in the opening stages of the match, Mukidza converting for a 7-0 score. KCB would continue to have the upper hand in this contest, that was except in the scrums.
If this game was judged solely on the scrums, then Kabras would have picked up this title. This was one of those rare matches, where the side the side that dominated the scrums failed to translate this dominance to the rest of the game.
At the 15 minute mark, Lilako would be sent to the bin for an infringement at a ruck, it was time for KCB to show their Grit. Kabras would get their tails up, putting together several phases but would stumble on either the Lion’s resolute defending or their own mistakes.
KCB would weather the 10 minute period with great resolve, and went on to almost immediately stretch their lead upon Lilako’s resumption. A well worked move at the backs would see Ken Moseti, split open the Kabras defence to release Darwin Mukidza who drew in the last defender and pass to Jacob Ojee for the try at the corner.
Darwin would scuff the conversion, to make it 12-0 at the 26th minute mark.
(Video courtsey of the Mental acrobat, Daudi Were)
Kabras’ tight five of Hillary Mwanjilwa, Cyrus Watum, Duncan Mwangi, Geoffrey Otino and Steve Oluoch continued to have a field at the scrums, blowing past their opposite numbers with ease. At the line outs however the pairing of Philip Wamae and Oliver Mang’eni had the upper hand against their former team mate Anthony Ogot.
From this point, the first half would play itself out without much to write home about. KCB would go into the break the happier of the two sides having played a very effective 40 minutes of rugby. Kabras were still in it and were hard done in that half by their inexperience, perhaps folding under the pressure of the whole occasion.
The sugar Millers would hit the second half with intent, their efforts finally bearing fruit after Aluda Beda’s successful penalty, put the first points on the board for Kabras at 12-3. Just as the game seemed to turn in Kabras’ favour having pitched tent inside the KCB half, Darwin Mukidza would react quickest to his own clearance kick to ground the ball, after miscommunication by the Kabras back three.
Mukidza would again miss his attempt from the resulting conversion to make the score 17-3.
With the clock reading 60 minutes, KCB looked to have a solid grip on the Kenya cup title, with the battle in the scrum now almost evening out with the substitution of Hillary, and the Lions dominating possession and territory.
Kabras would see another period of dominance end with nothing to show for, as they opted to go for the scrum repeatedly from multiple penalties awarded inside the KCB 22. The Lions would again see off this tough period, and it would soon be KCB, 22.
Peter Karia would position himself behind his sides raging maul and was on hand to ground the ball at the 68th minute. Darwin was spot on with his conversion to take the scores to 24-3.
The sugar millers were now reduced to hurriedly taken penalties and disjointed play as they looked to salvage some pride in this contest. Darwin Mukidza would sink in the final nail on Kabras’ coffin with a penalty in the 78th minute. The Lions could finally free the champagne from the cold ice and captivity, as they toasted to their fourth Kenya cup triumph.
Kabras clearly folded under the pressure of the final, but can be damn proud of their performance through out the season. Missing Nick Barasa and Leslie Mango also did not do their efforts any favours as the two could have had a big impact in this game.
KCB finally shook off the choker monkey from their backs as they played an effective game of footie, in the right areas. Their experience clearly showed here, could this be the start of another three league triumph for the Lions, maybe more?
Earlier in the day, Nakuru claimed third spot after battling to a 21-15 result against a spirited Strathmore side. In a game that saw the lead change hands 3 times over the eighty minutes.
The Lions also swept the individual accolades, Curtis Lilako picking up the Top try and point scorer accolades, after scoring 16 tries in 15 games. At this point I should probably remind you that Lilako is a prop, a tight head at that.
Max Adaka picked up the season’s most valuable player, with Darwin Mukidza taking home 10,000 Kenya shillings from The Rugby Foundation after he was elected the final’s man of the match. A good day all round for the Thika road side, who add the Kenya cup to an already impressive trophy cabinet over the last two seasons.
The Catholic Monks picked up the team spirit award, for their relentless efforts this season.
Attention now moves to knock out rugby, as the Enterprise and Mwamba cups kick off at the weekend.
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