KCB Come Out On Top Of 100 Minute Thriller
KCB booked a final berth after beating Impala 31-24 in a match that can only be described as a thriller. This match had everything, last minute drama, heart stopping moments and a hand full of cards to go with them.
Impala were first on the board albeit against the run of play as Lameck Dunde reacted quickest, picking up a lose ball from a failed penalty to give his side a 7-0 lead. The Lions would have an immediate response as they put together great phases in the forwards for Dennis Mwanja to score, Mutai converting to even up things.
Impala would take the lead soon after in similar fashion to their first, Quinto Odhiambo punishing some lacklustre reactions from the KCB back line to go over and make the score, 12-7. The green shirts would continue pounding at the Impala defence, and getting their dividends a few minutes before the break. Anthony Ogot touching down, Peter Mutai with the extras to see the Lions take a 2 point lead into half time at 14-12.
The hosts would be the happier of the two sides despite trailing, they had managed to stay in touch with KCB despite seeing very little of the ball. Impala were putting up a real front at scrum time but couldn’t translate that in other facets of play.
For KCB it was a matter of keeping concentration in the next forty minutes as they were punished from the two mistakes they made in that half.
The second half saw the bankers continue dominating, with Impala holding on in the opening exchanges. KCB’s domination was anchored on some great forward play, with Peter Mutai marshalling his forces. Philip Wamae would go over to stretch his sides lead to eight points at 19-12.
Impala would slowly start plucking away their visitor’s dominance as the half wore on. They however found themselves further behind after Ian Indimuli went over to all but seal this win for the Lions at 24-12. With a little over 20 minutes to go there seemed to be no way back for Impala.
With one eye already in the final, head coach Curtis Olago decided to rest his charges as he rang the changes. Dennis Mwanja, Jacob Ojee, Ken Moseti and Philip Wamae were all substituted in quick succession. Peter Mutai would soon get sent to the bin and hand the hosts a direct ticket back into the game.
Impala would grab the opportunity with both hands, with Moses Kola and Dennis Karani on for the hosts they had the experience on their side. Anthony Oyugi would cut the deficit to seven going over with the conversion just wide.
KCB would get back to their full complement, but would shoot themselves in the leg again with Maurice Mbai going into the bin. There was little they could do to prevent Nato Simiyu’s try at the death with Kola converting to take the game to extra time.
Most had expected sudden death in extra time, but according to the tournament rules the sides had to play 10 minutes each way then go into extra time if the tie isn’t broken.
The momentum was with Impala and with KCB’s options at the bench exhausted, most tipped the hosts to go on and win this. Maurice Mbai who had picked up an ankle injury was forced to carry on.
The Lion’s were explosive off the restart with quick phases in the forwards resulting in Edwin Alubaka going over and Mutai converting for a 31-24 lead. Most fans knew it was all over at this point but with barely 2 minutes played there was another 18 to go.
Impala saw their chances of coming back slipping away as Kola missed a sitter from a penalty in the closing stages of the half. To add salt to injury, they were soon down to 14 men at the break, to mean that they had to finish the second half that way.
KCB would stay on top in the second half, missing a chance or two to kill the game absolutely, eventually winning 31-24. The bankers will now meet Nakuru in the final next weekend.
Division I Defending champions KCB II will meet Western Bulls II in next weekend’s final. The cubs beat Nondies II 41-29 in their semi final, with the Calves edging out the CUEA Monks 28-19 to book that date.
Impala III will take on Shieywe, after narrowly edging TUK 25-24 in their semi final. Shieywe booking this berth after Kakamega RFC’s no show.
Collated Results :
Impala 24-31 KCB (AET)
KCB II 41-29 Nondies II
Western Bulls II 28-19 CUEA
Impala III 25-24 TUK
Shieywe 24-0 Kakamega RFC