Lions Outclass Wanyore

The KCB Lions ended an eight year wait for a win against Nakuru at the Nakuru Athletic Club with a resounding 28-10 result at the weekend.

KCB in action against Nakuru the last time they met. (Photo: Midego Fotography)

Heading into match day 8, KCB had not beaten Nakuru at the NAC grounds for close to 8 years, their last triumph at the Suguta Valley coming in 2009. This was probably their best chance to end that run, a chance they grabbed fully against a below par Wanyore side.

The Lions were odd on favourites for the win here, especially after running 33 points past the same opponent at the den, however you just never write off Nakuru at the NAC.

The Lions watched the cubs commandeer their Eric Shirley Shield encounter against Nakuru II to claim a 29-16 result, it was now their turn.

The match kicked off at a frantic pace, Nakuru showing that they would not be push overs in their backyard. The Wanyore were relentless at the breakdown in the early exchanges, they left no ruck uncontested causing the Lions all sorts of trouble. This was however the closest they would come to dominating this match up.

From the Lions’ first foray into Wanyore territory, an audacious drop goal from Michael Wanjala went in off the cross bar to hand KCB a 3-0 lead to kill off any early jitters. It was soon 6-0, as the smiling assassin Dawrin Mukidza took up the scoring responsibilities, his first of 25 points coming from a penalty.

KCB were slowly grinding Nakuru into submission as the first half wore on, they dominated the set piece and were playing with far more intent than their hosts. It was however the Wanyore that got on the score board next courtesy of a Geoffrey Ominde penalty off an infringement that also saw KCB lose Oliver Mang’eni to the bin.

Despite going down a man, the Lions were still bossing proceedings, Nakuru were struggling to match their visitors’ physicality. The visitors were also very sleek in play, a moment of absolute magic from the smiling assassin left both player and fan in awe.

Darwin Mukidza in previous action against Nakuru. (Photo: Midego Fotography)

A quick break from the KCB backs, deep inside their territory, saw Ken Moseti release Darwin Mukidza who had Collins Wanjala on the outside and 3 Nakuru defenders ahead of him. Wanjala changed his running line to come in for the switch, Mukidza would then step to his outside and with one hand sell an audacious dummy to the three defenders who all charged at Wanjala, with Mukidza charging at the line, he was finally bundled to the ground a few meters from the Nakuru line.

There was however no denying him a few minutes later when once again a Moseti break found Darwin on the wing who raced all the way for the match’s first try, he kicked over the extras for a 13-3 lead. KCB were looking even more dangerous with 14 men on the ground, the score would remain the same going into the interval.

Nakuru would be counting their lucky stars at the breather, that they were only 10 points behind for they had been no where near this game, there was however still hope for them. KCB would need to be a lot more clinical in the second half for all their dominance the score board didn’t reflect the story.

The visitors came off the blocks charging, in a half dominated by two names, James Kilonzo and Darwin Mukidza. James alongside his brother Peter had so far been a handful for the Nakuru back line, they attacked brilliantly and defended resolutely the few times that they had been tested.

Moseti was once again architect, releasing James Kilonzo to break the first line of defence then commit the full back to an onrushing Mukidza who touched down at the corner, adding the extras to make it 20-3. The Lions were now back to full compliment and in total control of this one.

The Wanyore looked dazed, their once dreaded scrums were no where to be seen, their trademark brute and ruthlessness silenced by a rampant KCB. Mukidza would stretch his side’s lead further from a penalty making it 23-3.

KCB head Coach Curtis Olago threw in Martin Owila, Peter Karia and Stafford Abeka to kill off this one and the new faces added a spring in the side’s step. Owila would come close to scoring on his first return to Nakuru, a Wanjala break with Owila in support clear for the line was thwarted just meters short.

The KCB scrum from the previous encounter (Photo: Midego Fotography)

The Lions were at it again a few minutes later, the same duo combining for a familiar outcome, James Kilonzo on the break released Mukidza this time on his inside to take the scores to 28-3, the smiling assassin missing from the boot for the first time in the afternoon.

Nakuru spared themselves the blushes of not scoring a try, when Geoffrey Ominde released Leslie Ochieng on the break to go over, Ominde converted to make it 28-10. KCB’s chase for a bonus point win would end just short of the mark, with the final whistle coming minutes after to end proceedings at the NAC.

The Wanyore will have a lot of soul searching to do, if they are to turn around things this season. They looked a pale shadow of what used to be a dreaded side especially at home. On their part KCB would be happy with themselves though they did leave a handful of points out there.

KCB dominated the set piece and breakdown, something they don’t often do against this opponent, they were fluid in their play, for the first time in quite a while all their tries came from the backs. These were however made possible by a very hard working set of forwards, Davis Chenge and Nick Ong’eri put in a real solid shift in the trenches.

That win takes the Lions top of the Kenya cup standings on 32 points, 2 ahead of Quins. Nakuru are in 6th on 17 points, they face Kabras next at the Kakamega show ground, a game they need to be really up for, KCB face Machine looking to build on the momentum from this win.

Collated Kenya Cup Match Day 8 Results:

Nondescripts 30-12 Blak Blad
Strathmore Leos 14-29 Resolution Impala Saracens
Top Fry Nakuru 10-28 KCB
Mwamba 32-37 Kabras Sugar
Menengai Cream Homeboyz 15-10 SportPesa Quins
Mean Machine 19-29 Western Bulls

KWISHA…Nimeruka Nje!!!

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