Race For Kenya Cup Slots Reaches Final Hurdle
The four teams in the race for the coveted Kenya cup slots will meet their final hurdle this weekend as the Nationwide league enters it’s semi final stage.
Thika RFC, the Egerton Wasps, Bungoma Sharks and Eldoret RFC are one step away from the top flight, with two tickets up for grabs. Rift Valley region has two representatives in the semi finals in Eldoret RFC and Egerton Wasps, Central region and Western complete the list of four, with Nairobi and Coast regions with no representation.
The Thika RFC Millars have had a stellar season, having not tasted defeat this far. Peter Mutai’s charges blew past their opponents in the Central region, booking the only ticket to the play off from the region. They were however made to dig deep, way past extra time at the Kisumu Mamboleo Show grounds to book this semi final slot.
Tied 0-0 against Kisumu at the half time break, there was little to pick between the Millars and the Kondele Boys as the score was tied at 3 all at the end of eighty minutes. The sides would remain tied at the end of extra time which meant that they had to be separated by sudden death.
A Muthui Murithi drop goal saw Thika grab the ticket to the semi finals and break the hosts hearts. That win sees the Millars host the Rift Valley region champions Egerton Wasps, who also had to dig deep to make it here.
The Wasps finished top of the Rift region as earlier mentioned, picking one of two slots to the National quarter finals from the region. Earning them a home fixture against Nairobi runners up TUK. It looked like TUK had booked this ticket to the Semi finals, as they were leading 11-7 with few minutes left to play.
The Wasps however stung with virtually the last play, scoring an unconverted try to snatch that win at 12-11 to book this date.
The other semi final will see Western Region runners up Bungoma Sharks take on former Kenya Cup side Eldoret RFC. This fixture pits two sides with contrasting fortunes. Eldoret RFC were relegated from the top flight last season, and had initially missed out on the National play offs after finishing third in the Rift.
Their ticket came after second placed University of Eldoret pulled out of the play offs (It must have been a serious reason!) Eldoret RFC took this second chance fully, narrowly beating Nairobi champions Impala III, 20-17 at the Impala grounds. They will be seeking one more win, which will see them leap back into the top flight.
The Bungoma Sharks’ story is something from a fairy tale, in their debut season, finishing second in the tough Western region behind Kisumu RFC. They faced the Coast champions South Coast Pirates in the quarter finals.
The Sharks got the better of the Pirates in a closely fought out affair along the Ukunda beach, full time score 5-0. So will it be the fairy tale run of the Sharks or Eldoret’s lady luck that carries the day in this encounter at the Eldoret Sports Club?
Collated Nationwide Semi finals :
Thika v Egerton Wasps (4:00 pm, Thika Stadium)
Bungoma Sharks v Eldoret (4:00 pm, Eldoret Sports Club)
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