NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 26 – KCB RFC retained their Impala Floodies Main Cup title with a 20-18 win over hosts Impala RFC in a dramatic final at the Impala Grounds on Saturday night.
The hosts had a superb chance to win the game by a one-point margin at the death when they won a set piece and elected to go for points, but Bernard Rotich sent his effort wide, seeing the bankers defend the title.
Curtis Olago’s men had also gone ahead in the final minutes of the game when Shabaan Ahmed drilled home a penalty with his side trailing by a point, Impala having mounted a comeback to take the lead at 18-17, a replica of last year’s final score.
“This is a very painful loss especially losing it the way we did tonight. We had really hoped to win it but again, that’s how the game goes. We take the hard lessons, take some rest and recovery then prepare for the Kenya Cup season,” Impala head coach Frank Ndong said after the match.
KCB boss Olago left immediately after the match, taking a huge sigh of relief after sustained pressure.
His assistant Dennis Mwanja lauded his players for the never say die attitude and their performance especially when they were trailing Impala.
“We have an x-factor in the team where there’s that killer instinct the players have. We have to fight through and through despite the outcome until the final whistle,” Mwanja said.
“We had the aspects of pressure on us coming into this game because of a lot of expectation coming off the much hyped South Africa tour but the boys took in the pressure. Impala was a worthy opponent and we had to dig deep to win,” the tactician further stated.
The bankers had a good start to the match and dotted down the first try of the game even before Impala could venture into their 22. A period of dominance saw Samuel Asati dot down on the right with Stephen Osumba missing the conversion, KCB leading 5-0.
But, Impala were not just about to go down without a fight and they kept the surge, Quinto Ongo drawing them level with a try, coming just minutes after missing an attempt at a penalty.
-Defense off guard
The home side went into the lead when scrum half Xavier Kipng’etich dotted won after a quickly started set piece which caught the KCB defense line off their feet.
But the bankers who were being run over by Impala upped the tempo towards the close of the half and they went level at the stroke of halftime, Oscar Sorano going over after taking advantage of a well mounted maul.
In the second half KCB came back a better side with Jacob Ojee especially doing well with his speed on the wing. They went ahead just four minutes after the restart through Francis Mwita off a brilliantly executed counter, Rocky Aguko flying away through the middle before offloading to Mwita.
Osumba converted as the bankers went 17-10 up.
Impala gave themselves some home when Kipng’etich drilled home a penalty after they won a set-piece almost 30m out, an offence that saw KCB reduced to 14 men with Brian Omondi set to the sinbin.
With a numerical advantage and a four point gap, Impala were motivated to get into the lead.
They could not do that within the period of advantage, but they managed to get into the lead in the final 10 minutes through Joshua Matasi off a maul. The conversion sailed wide, but they still went into the lead.
With two minutes left on the clock, KCB won a penalty and substitute Shabaan made no mistake, sending the ball between the sticks as the bankers took a two point lead. Impala tried to come back, with a final opportunity off a penalty but they wasted the chance.
Meanwhile, Kenya Harlequins beat Mwamba 28-6 to win the player while Mean Machine were crowned Univarsity category champions after beating USIU 12-9. The school’s final saw Ofafa Jericho lift the trophy as they edged Alliance High School 5-3.
The Black Lion’s bagged the Women’s Category Trophy as they beat Ngong Fry 25-10.