It was an explosive exchange of leads as Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) edged out Kabras Sugar 23-15 to retain Kenya Cup Rugby Union League title at a packed Kakamega Showground on Saturday.
Two converted tries and three penalties are what KCB needed to beat Kabras Sugar for the fourth time in the final and wrap up their seventh Kenya Cup success - their third in a row.
Kenya Sevens skipper and winger Jacob Ojee put up a man-of-the-match performance, converting his own try besides curling over three penalties to give the bankers the victory.
Substitute back Shaban Ahmed scored the other try for KCB who led 7-5 at the break.
The overly partisan crowd of over 8000 fans erupted in joy when Kabras Sugar landed two tries from flanker Dan Sikuta and fullback Jone Kubu but all was in vain even after flyhalf Philip Wokorach made one conversion and a penalty.
KCB played with one man less when centre Peter Kilonzo was sin-binned for a high tackle but the bankers still overpowered Kabras charging forward with explosive pack play.
They got a penalty but Ojee's kick from 40m fell short. The bankers still won a crucial turnover before embarking on some superlative hits as they drove forward. Ojee was put through at the middle from a maul to score and convert his own try for a 7-0 lead.
Kabras' miss-passes and poor lineouts were their main pain while Wokorach missed a penalty. The hosts decision to go for the kick and chase when on attack inside KCB's area proved counterproductive.
Sikuta managed to beat KCB defence for an overhead kick but his chase fell short as Ken Moseti cleared the ball back to play.
However, Kabras had some period of dominance before Sikuta scored off a maul. Wokorach failed to convert as Kabras trailed 7-5 at the break.
KCB proved ruthless on resumption with good ball carrying from the forwards.
But Kabras weathered the storm with substitute back Johnstone Mungau making a break before offloading to Kubu from tackle. Kubu made no mistake to score before Wokorach converted to give Kabras a 12-7 lead. Wokorach curled over a penalty to stretch their lead to 15-7 but KCB went on attack forcing Kabras to make mistakes hence benefiting from two penalties that Ojee curled in.
KCB reduced the deficit to 15-13 before another break that saw Ahmed score a try that Ojee converted before stabbing on another penalty for victory.
KCB sealed a double when they second side edged out Homeboyz 11-5 to retain the Eric Shirley Shield at KCB Ruaraka, Nairobi on Saturday.