Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology stormed to the summit of the Central Nationwide League table following a hard fought 20-14 win over Embu RFC at the university grounds in one of two matches played over the weekend.
Nanyuki also registered their first win on the field, a tight 24-21 victory over Chuka Vikings at home, to stay alive in the nine-team league.
Thika RFC were officially knocked out of the competition after failing to honour their nine matches scheduled so far.
Following the win, JKUAT Cougars leapfrogged their county rivals and early league leaders, Kiambu RFC.
The big cats have now registered 41 points against Kiambu’s 39, while Embu remain third on 27.
The match between the Cougars and Embu began on a cautious note, with each side studying the other.
JKUAT, who were once contenders to join Kenya Cup in the 1990s, struck first, opening the score in the 15th minute through winger Boniface Nyabioge after sleek passes from backs Jeff Osundwa and Luhayi James.
Eugene Lubanga however missed the conversion.
JKUAT, who were coming into the game following a morale boosting 25-23 win over Kiambu RFC, struck again off a back line move with Nicholas Hawi cantering to cross over.
This time, Lubanga made no mistake with the kick between the sticks for a 12-0 Cougars lead.
A series of JKUAT infringements saw Embu invade the opponents 22, applying pressure.
Embu’s persistence paid off with Dennis Kibara quickly tapping in after JKUAT were penalised for offside, five metres from their line to score under the post in the 32nd minute.
Embu made a successful conversion to cut the deficit to 12-7 as the first half ended.
Following the break, JKUAT seemed re-energised, pinning their opponents in their half as they dominated possession and territory.
The students earned a penalty that Lubanga duly converted to extend their lead to 15-7.
Embu then had long spells of possession but were unable to translate that into a score.
In the 60th minute, Bramwel Kilwake successfully intercepted the ball and sprinted nearly the whole length of the pitch to touch down.
JKUAT then conceded a series of penalties and two yellow cards to Nyabioge and David Mukuna, allowing Embu to close in.