NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 15 – Kakamega High School recorded a 18-14 win over Laiser Hill Academy at the Nairobi School on Saturday to reclaim the Kenya Secondary School Sports Association (KSSA) National title for the first time since 2013.
Kakamega led 15-7 at the break through Derrick Ashiundu’s penalty and a conversion with Omuyaku Charles and Imani Kevin landing tries while Kenya U20 international Charles Tendwa scored a converted try for Laiser.
Johnnie Olindi scored and converted to bring Laiser Hill to within a point of Kakamega but an Ashiundu penalty and astute territorial tactics saw Kakamega dethrone Laiser Hill as national champions.
The East Africa champions ran in two tries, one conversion and two penalties against Laiser Hill’s two converted tries.
Revenge was in the air as Kakamega High had been beaten by the same side 10-8 in their final pool to head to the knockouts as second best.
The Allan Wamanga coached side led 15-7 at half time, having led 15-0 at one point, and had to endure some torrid times in the second half as Kevin Wambua-coached Laiser Hill made incessant runs to come to within a point; 15-14.
Inside center Derrick Ashiundu, a contender for the Most valuable Award at the Nationals, who left the Samba Park with eight points. He started it all with a penalty in the sixth minute for a 3-0 lead.
Nine minutes later centre referee Vincent Chweya slapped Laiser Hill’s openside flanker Christopher Asira with a yellow card and his ten minutes at the crime seat proved too costly as Katch made use of their numerical numbers to scoop 12 points to lead 15-0 by the time of this return.
45 seconds after Asira had been ejected Kakamega High grabbed their first try when tighthead prop Charles Omulako escaped tackles to barge over after a quickly taken penalty. Ashiundu was sure with the extra for a 10-0 lead.
In the 23rd minute it was 15-0 after Kakamega took as much as they received from a scrummage within Laiser Hills five metre line. Determination won over brute force allowing as lock Kevin Imani went over for the the second try. Ashiundu missed the conversion as it skewed to the left of the uprights.
Asira was to return and Laiser returned to normalcy and four minutes after Kakamega High’s second try, they started their way back to the game.
A deep Laiser Hill territorial kick found fullback Alvin Wanjala in two minds. As he pondered if, or if not to kick to safety, he conceded a penalty that Laiser took full advantage of.
Both progress to East African school games
Having considered to take what would have been an easy penalty for easy points, Laiser Hill changed their mind as they opted for play that bore fruits as lock Charles Tendwa breached the Kakamega back line for a try that former Upper Hill lad Johnstone Olindi converted for Laiser to make it an eight point game; 15-7.
15 minutes into the second half the scores stayed as it till a well driven maul saw winger Joel Inzuga – the 2014 Floodies school’s MVP go over. Olindi was certain with the extra to narrow it down to a one point game.
Four minutes on opened up a four point lead that they defended with their lives to reclaim the National rugby 15s trophy they last won in 2013.
A darting run on the right channel by winger Bakari Hassan earned Barbarians a penalty that Ashiundu drove home. They then defended that lead for the rest of the game.
Right at the death Laiser Hill’s Donald Wandago saw yellow at the hooter and a resultant penalty was sent out leaving ecstatic scenes by Kakamega High School and their enthusiastic fans.
Laiser Hill had beaten the same side 8-3 in the semis of the 2015 edition on their way to winning their first ever National 15s title at Nakuru High School.
The two sides progress to East Africa games set for August in Uganda alongside Upper Hill who beat St.Mary’s Yala 12-3 in the bronze medal playoffs.