NAIROBI, Kenya, March 10- With the quarter final match ups having served up their fair share of drama and that is so typical of cup ties, we are down to the semi final stage of the Enterprise Cup.
By some strange twist of fate, the semi final draw sees the sides who scraped through their quarter final encounters face off in one fixture while those who registered emphatic results square off in the other fixture.
Impala RFC v Nondescript RUFC – Impala Club, 4.30pm
Throwing away each side’s Kenya Cup form, semi-finals don’t get much bigger than this as two storied forces lock horns on Saturday.
Nine time champions Impala play twenty five champions Nondescript RUFC in what should on paper be a mouth-watering encounter, with the ferocious intensity that cup matches are made of.
Both sides registered convincing wins during their quarter final matches. Impala beating Mean Machine 56-19 while Nondies were 36-19 winners over Mwamba RFC.
Nondies will need all their guns blazing if they are to emerge from the Impala Club with a victory on this occasion. Impala will undoubtedly take them on up front and around the fringes.
The Gazelles will bring their power game and the backrow of Lawrence Buyachi and Kevin Umbuge will undoubtedly have a big role to play throughout the game.
Similarly they will look to go wide and the Nondies back line will have to be at it’s sharpest to prevent aces such as Nato Simiyu,Vincent Mose and Innocent Simiyu from getting the ball in space.
Kenya Harlequin FC v Strathmore Leos – RFUEA Grounds, 4.30pm
Defending champions Kenya Harlequin FC take on first time semi finalists Strathmore Leos at the RFUEA Grounds on Saturday 12th March 2011.
Quins had to rely on Isaac Adimo’s left footed drop goal to see them squeak 23-22 past KCB during their quarter final fixture last weekend while two very late tries from Felix Ayange and Edwin Salamba saw the Leos overturn a 0-5 deficit, just edging Nakuru RFC 12-5 to book their first ever Enterprise Cup semi final berth.
Having played their get out of jail card last weekend, Quins, nine time Enterprise Cup winners will want to kill off Strathmore early in the game.
Strathmore have had a decent patch of form, winning three of their four previous league and cup matches. Salamba and Ayange have been part of the reason behind the Leos resurgency. Can the lure of playing in a major cup final drive the Leos to a famous victory over their illustrious hosts?
The Leos may be physically diminutive in comparison to their more illustrious hosts but are no slouches when comes to contesting rucks. Whoever wins these battles at the contact points will have an upper hand and run off with the desired result.
For Quins, Jared Owino, David Mogere and Tony Mutai may not have been on the score sheet in their quarter final win over KCB but anyone who watched that fixture will be hard pressed to deny their influence on Saturday. Working behind the scenes, their defensive and offensive input will be key in giving Quins the forward impetus against a potentially tricky opponent.
Mwamba Cup Semis
The semi finals of the second tier Mwamba Cup, contested by Eric Shirley Shield teams also take place this weekend with favourites Homeboyz facing Impala II while defending champions KCB II take on visiting Kisumu RFC.
Homeboyz v Impala II
Homeboyz RFC had a stroll in the park during the just concluded E.S.S, retaining the title with a 100% record after vanquishing all their opponents. They booked their semi final berth without breaking a sweat after Mombasa SC failed to show up for their quarter final fixture. They meet an Impala II side that they disposed of with relative ease during the E.S.S. semis.
Impala II, motivated by their 46-15 quarter final win over USIU will have other ideas. They are out to end the season on a high. Navigating a tough semi final against Homeboyz could bring them closer to that dream.
KCB II v Kisumu, The Den, Ruaraka, 3.00pm
KCB II is a side that just loves the Mwamba Cup. They have featured in every Mwamba Cup semi final since 2003, winning the title in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2009 while losing the 2003 final to Mombasa SC and the 2007 final to Strathmore. A win over visiting Kisumu RFC gives them the chance to qualify for a seventh final as they seek to lift the Mwamba Cup for a fifth time.
Kisumu were expected to feature in the Eric Shirley Shield final but inexplicably exited the competition at the quarter final stage. This tie gives the lakeside boys a opportunity to inch closer to ending the season with some silverware. They have a decent set of players but will need to shake off the exertions of making the almost 400km journey to the city to face the defending champions.
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