Monday, September 1, 2008

Lions relinquish Kenya Cup

Action from Saturday's match

The KCB Lions relinquished the Kenya Cup title when they went down 17-29 to hosts Kenya Harlequin on match day 18 at the RFUEA on Saturday.

Needing only a draw, the Lions started the match frenetically, pinning Quins to their own half for the opening quarter of the game.They forced Quins into conceding three penalties but scrum half Peter Mutai missed all his goal attempts.

The hosts made a raid into Lions territory on 24 minutes, forcing the triple league champions into an error that saw match referee Godwin Karuga award them a penalty. Jude Thumbi opted for a touch kick at the five yard. They won the resultant line out and continued attacking.Karuga awarded the home side another penalty following another KCB infringement on the five yard, David Mogere scored a pushover try in the 27th minute. Thumbi missed the conversion as Quins led 5-0.

Three minutes later, KCB conceded a penalty after Dennis Mwanja was caught offside 40 yards out and Thumbi was sure with his goal attempt, extending Quins lead to 8-0. Thumbi kicked over another penalty in the 32nd minute as Quins led 11-0.

Quins' hooker Vincent Ongera scored a pushover try on the stroke of half time. Thumbi did not disappoint with the conversion. The home side went into the interval leading 18-0 which was pretty cruel for KCB as they dominated this half for large spells, failing to convert possession into points.

KCB coach Bill Githinji must have said something to fire up his charges when the match resumed in the second half. They came out with guns blazing,dominating the early exchanges. Lock Anthony Ogot won a line out ball in the 45th minute, beating several defenders but his support arrived late and referee Karuga penalized the KCB forwards for an infringement. Undeterred, KCB piled on the pressure. Prop Franklin "Stooge" Amiani beat the Quins defence and his support arrived in time to form a maul and after ten phases of play, the combative Neil Dick scored a pushover try for the Lions on 50 minutes. Flyhalf Edwin Kiprono converted for the scores to read 7-18.

This try seemed to give the Lions new impetus as they went right back at Quins, throwing everything at the home side and scored a second pushover try through Amiani in the 55th minute. Kiprono's conversion narrowed the scores to 14-18. the Lions were within touching distance of Quins.Moments later, KCB would lose the inspirational Dick through injury,an incident that signalled the end of a potent partnership with Amiani that had resulted in their second half revival.

Thumbi would return to haunt KCB with a 62nd minute drop goal that extended Quins' lead to 14-21. KCB responded right from kick off, camping in their opponents half and earning a 67th minute penalty that Kiprono put over as the deficit came down to four points.17-21 Quins.

Kiprono had earlier broken free, squandering an opportunity to touch down when he opted to raise the ball over the Quins defence, an exercise in futility.With the clock winding down,Thumbi slotted home a 72nd minute penalty to stretch the lead to 17-24 for Quins. An 80th try minute from substitute Alan Makaka killed off the Lions as Quins won their first Kenya Cup since 2003,ending KCB's three year reign as Kenyan club champions.

Earlier, KCB's Cubs who had won the second division Eric Shirley Shield with a match in hand, ended their fixtures on a high, beating Quins II 26-7 at the same venue. Bryan Omondi scored a brace of tries while Xavier Makuba and Dedan Omondi scored one try each. Steve Matioli kicked over three conversions. Kevin Bett scored the lone try for Quins II which was converted by Frank Rop.( Full Review in Friday's editon of KCBRFC Online).

It was a good game of rugby, a game in which the form book was thrown out of the window.Kudos to Quins for winning the league title. The Lions will live to fight another day.

The curtain has now fallen on the league season,paving way for the knock out Zain Enterprise and Mwamba Cups which kick off on 6th September 2008.

KCB Supporters Club -Ruaraka

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