Nakuru Snatch Enterprise Cup From Lion’s Jaw
Top Fry Nakuru RFC picked up their sixth Enterprise cup title at the weekend after beating KCB 18-13 in a nail biting final at the RFUEA.
In terms of quality of play, it was not the best of finals, considering that these two are currently the best sides in the country. Both sides struggled to put together meaningful phases together, perhaps a bit too cautious of each other.
But whatever it missed in quality, it more than compensated in edge of the seat action and butt clenching moments, some of those wooden planks at the RFUEA will probably need repairs.
Before that final, Impala III picked up the Mwamba Cup Division II title after beating Shieywe 26-3. The third string Impala side were clearly a class above their opponents, putting in a commanding display. Man of the match Ian Mabwa was just a toast from the side that impressed many.
In the second final, the KCB cubs successfully defended their title, beating the calves of Western Bulls 28-8. The cubs were in control of this match from the start, despite going down to 13 men in the first half. The cubs eventually finished the match with 14 on the pitch, with their discipline the only blemish to their otherwise perfect display.
The cubs forwards were a formidable force, man of the match Edwin Otieno with the likes of George Asin, Francis Kiarie, Geoffrey Messo and Kevin Ngao putting in great displays, with captain Marlin Mulokwe at the middle of everything.
The big final started off in break neck speed, with Nakuru asking all the questions in the opening exchanges. They would soon get the first points on the board from a Martin Muita penalty to lead 3-0 inside the first ten minutes.
KCB would slowly get into the match and would soon take the lead after Dwayne Aswani picked the ball from a scrum, passing to Peter Mutai who played in Allan Omuka the barging winger releasing Jacob Ojee for the corner try. Essau Otieno’s conversion going wide to make the scores, 5-3.
KCB had managed to keep tabs on the Nakuru forwards, matching them in the first few scrums. The Wanyore were however starting to turn the screw and gaining the upper hand, Nick Lango would hand his side the lead off a maul with the conversion sailing wide to make it 8-5.
The two sides would continue trading blows with neither having a clear upper hand, both were struggling to get into a rhythm, failing to capitalise on the chances they made. Essau Otieno would hand the lead back to KCB with some great play. The diminutive fly half chipped over the rushing Nakuru line, putting it in behind Calvin Otieno, the bounce came back to him to gather and go over.
The match would remain a see saw affair until the half time whistle went. Both sides would go into the break knowing that they could take this one. KCB would be the happier of the two, with the lead, but Nakuru were starting to dominate at the scrums and had a whole forty minutes to make it count.
The second half would start on a lower note compared to the first, with the Lions starting off stronger. Peter Mutai slotting in a penalty to stretch his side’s lead to five points at 13-8. The match would plateau out for the next 10 minutes with the action mainly pegged between the two 10 meter lines.
Nakuru now with their tails up at the scrums and KCB suffering at the line out, this match was there for their taking. The lions though defended resolutely. The Wanyore won a scrum in the KCB five, shoving it into the KCB try box but some quick reactions from Peter Mutai who thumped the ball into oblivion before any of the multi coloured shirts could ground the ball.
With the clock ticking away, it looked like KCB were going to hold onto for their third cup title. Nakuru pinned the green shirts in their five again, winning penalty after penalty from the scrums on the opposite side of the one they failed to convert. The Lions would hold on, though illegally, centre referee Andrew Karani had seen enough sending KCB’s tight head Dennis Mukabi to the bin.
The Lions were lucky not to concede a penalty try off that play, but that quickly ran out as Dalmas Chituyi grounded off the ensuing scrum to tie the game going into the final 10 minutes. Martin Muita sliced the conversion wide, setting up a nail biting finale to this one.
KCB would put it deep from the restart, which saw Martin Muita caught off guard by the rushing Peter Karia, to result in a five meter scrum for the Lions. That decision was however overturned on the advice of assistant referee Mwangi Karimi who had spotted a high tackle by Brian Sagara resulting in a penalty to Nakuru.
Both sides failed to deliver what would be the final blow in this match as this one looked to go into extra time. KCB saved by Jacob Ojee’s last ditch tackle on Nick Lango as he was going over for the try. In the closing minutes though an attempted quick line out by Philip Wamae at the half way line went wrong for Kelvin Omiyo to gather to get stopped just five meters from the line.
The ball would be taken wide with Nakuru having a clear over lap for Javin Murayi to score at the corner with the last play of the game. Martin Muita’s conversion didn’t matter as the final whistle went immediately after, final score 18-15 to the Wanyore.
Nakuru’s captain Edwins Makori picked up the man of the match accolade, the second row present at every break down, working his socks off even when the side looked down and out. The Wanyore remain on course for the double this season, with their sights now firmly on the Kenya cup playoffs.
It is back to the drawing board for KCB, having lost yet another final, the lions took a pounding at the scrums, this is an area that they will need to look at seriously. The superficial ones would heap the blame on a few players but the truth is they lost this final together and will have to live with that.
Attention at the weekend now shifts to Machakos, with the town hosting the CAR Women sevens this coming weekend. After that action moves to everyone’s favourite get away, Nakuru for the great rift ten aside, after which we will have the super series.
Collated Results :
Nakuru 18-13 KCB
KCB II 28-8 Western Bulls II
Impala III 26-3 Shieywe RFC