NAIROBI, Kenya, January 23- Reigning Kenya Cup champions Kenya Harlequin FC returned to winning ways in thrilling come-from-behind triumph over leaders Mwamba in the highlight of the weekend action.
Quins recovered from 0-7, 10-14 and 15-21 down to edge RFC 22-21 at the RFUEA Grounds on Saturday.
Mwamba threw down the gauntlet and took the lead when prop Francis Akatu gathered a loose ball and cantered to the try line with Tito Oduk converting to put the black shirts 7-0 up.
Quins response was swift; their backs capitalizing on an error in the Mwamba midfield, setting up winger Kevin Keegan who grounded the ball for an unconverted try.
The match would remain a delicately balanced affair with both sides prodding each other but an infringement by Quins in their half accorded Mwamba an opportunity to kick for goal from the ensuing penalty but Collins Injera’s attempt sailed low and short of the posts.
Quins skipper Victor Sudi missed a straight forward goal attempt after Mwamba conceded a penalty deep in their half and on the other end, Injera left four defenders trailing in his wake and the resultant maul saw his brother Humphrey Kayange held up on the try line.
The champions then took a half time lead when they scored an unconverted try.
After a few tentative exchanges upon resumption, Mwamba fly half Chris Asego would played in Kayange who beat one defender before running over 40m to touch down in the corner. Injera’s conversion from a seemingly impossible angle saw Mwamba retake the lead, 14-10.
However, Quins restored their lead when they touched down from a rolling maul but Dennis Muhanji’s attempted conversion bounced off the posts as Quins.
Another Kayange try and Oduk conversion saw Mwamba go 21-15 up but the home side kept charging at their visitors and the pressure paid off when Muhanji had the presence of mind to chase a kicked ball, gathering it after the Mwamba backs spilled it and racing clear to ground the ball, narrowing the deficit to 21-20.
His conversion made the final score 22-21 to the champions but Mwamba still lead the table despite the loss.
Strathmore Leos rallied from 3-17 to lead 20-17 at the interval before defeating Kisumu RFC 44-24 in Kisumu, Nondies registered a second win on the trot, beating Homeboyz 29-17 at the Jamhuri Park, Mean Machine survived a late Nakuru rally at the UoN Grounds, seeing their 23-3 lead cut to 23-20 at full time while Kenya Commercial Bank RFC and Impala RFC played out a 15-15 draw at the Lions Den.
Quins 22 Mwamba 21
Kisumu 24 Strathmore 44
KCB 15 Impala 15
Homeboyz 17 Nondies 29
Machine 23 Nakuru 20
Eric Shirley Shield
Western Bulls 19 Strathmore II 8
Homeboyz II 0 Nondies II 26
Machine II 12 Nakuru II 13
Quins II 15 Mwamba II 5
KCB II 20 Mwamba II 10