Saturday, April 17, 2010

Quins back from the dead to win Kenya Cup

A delighted Quins captain Victor Sudi with the Kenya Cup trophy after the Kenya Cup final at the RFUEA ground Saturday. Quins won 26-23.  Photos/CHRIS OMOLLO

A delighted Quins captain Victor Sudi with the Kenya Cup trophy after the Kenya Cup final at the RFUEA ground Saturday. Quins won 26-23. Photos/CHRIS OMOLLO  

By AYUMBA AYODI

In was one of the most spectacular comebacks in Kenya’s rugby recent history, Kenya Harlequin rallied from 3-21 at half time to tame Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) 26-21 and clinch this year’s Kenya Cup title.

It’s the bankers who were quick off the blocks with superlative display dip into Quins stronghold to score two tries, one conversion and three penalties for their first half lead.

Many thought KCB had the game all wrapped up only for Quins to romp back with revamped systems and a cracking pack in the second half.

The Lions’ forwards went meek with their pack dead as Quins ran in three tries -two from pushover, one conversion and two penalties.

It was Quins’ sixth Kenya Cup victory in the last 36 years having won it last in 2008. The outgoing champions Impala had earlier in the day beaten Nakuru 26-8 to claim third place in the league.

“ I have no words,” said an emotional Quins coach, Edward Kinyany. “Rugby is 80 minutes and I am pleased the boys listened. They were fantastic and did what they needed to do. KCB opted to kick the ball in the second half and that proved advantageous to us”

KCB had their intentions clear as early as the third minute when blind side winger Benjamin Otieno completed a well- worked move with a fine try which was converted by Fabian Olando.

The unwavering bankers piled pressure on Quins defensive system to claim three successive penalties that Olando’s boot nicely curved over.

Good to watch

Then flanker Anthony Ogot’s try five minutes into intervals disoriented Quins.

But the new champions were good to watch in the second session with explosive pack play that was punctuated with swift open play. Tight head prop Daniel Kiptoo marshalled Quins pack to earn a penalty in the 48th minute.

After a quick tap the ball was shoved into the maul from where flanker Jeff Ojwach pinned the try whose conversion Abuoga missed. Quins got another penalty in the 55th minute and once again they slotted into the maul for hooker Vincent Ongera to go for the touchdown.

Another poor clearance from fullback Calvin Biko summoned for the line out. Quins won the ball and spread it wide before skipper and full back Victor Sudi was put through for the winning try to complete a most remarkable come back for Quins

It was a long evening for KCB’s coach Michael “Tank” Otieno whose disappointment was clear for all to see.

“ What can one say. I am just disappointed. The whole system stopped as the players resorted to shifting the ball around the forwards instead of moving it wide. We allowed them to kick the ball into our own half and gifted them easily,” said Otieno.