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Kenya Cup heads to crucial stage

Monday January 20 2020

Nakuru's Kelvin Kabole (right) shows Mwamba's Charles Chege a clean pair of heels during their Kenya Cup match at Nairobi Railways ground on January 18, 2020. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Nakuru's Kelvin Kabole (right) shows Mwamba's Charles Chege a clean pair of heels during their Kenya Cup match at Nairobi Railways ground on January 18, 2020. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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Kenya Cup enters the third and critical phase on Saturday when teams revert to their respective pools following the end of match day 11 last Saturday.

Saturday witnessed the last round of six matches where teams from the opposing pools battled in a one-off, which was the second phase.

It’s visiting Nakuru, who weathered both a previous defeat by Kabras Sugar and a second half assault from Mwamba to beat Kulabu 18-13 in a thrilling Kenya Cup match at the Railway Club, Nairobi. Nakuru had lost to Kabras 38-0 in their previous outing.

That happened as leaders Kabras Sugar, defending champions Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and Homeboyz refused to bulge from the top of the log after they claimed convincing victories.

Kabras Sugar thrashed touring Kenya Harlequin 34-3 at the Bullring to claim a bonus point from the victory and stay top with an improved tally of 50 points.

KCB mauled Kisumu 55-3 at Kisumu Polytechnic grounds to remain second with 49 points with Kabras Sugar and KCB having lost one match each so far.

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Homeboyz rolled a swift 36-11 victory against hosts Nondescripts at the Jamhuri Park to also stay third with 44 points.

Menengai Oilers failed to uphold their giant-killing instincts when they fell to Impala Saracens 37-29 in a tight clash at the Impala Sports Club. Oilers had stunned Mwamba 30-14 in their previous outing.

The victory saw the Sarries stay fourth with 35 points as hosts Blak Blad crushed visitors Western Bulls 44-0 in a bottom-of-the-table clash at Kenyatta University grounds.

Oilers stayed fifth with 30 points with Nakuru occupying the sixth and last semi-final playoff place with 29 points, while Mwamba are placed seventh with 25 points followed by Nondies 21 and Quins 17.

The only shift in the league came after Blak Blad hammered visiting Western Bulls 44-0 to move one position to 10th and a place from relegation with 13 points.

Western Bulls and Kisumu are 11th and 12th and in relegation zone with 13 and five points respectively.

In Pool “A”, champions KCB, Western Bulls, Quins, Nakuru, Oilers and Homeboyz will face-off in return legs with Kabras Sugar, Nondies, Impala, Blak Blad, Mwamba and Kisumu taking on each other in Pool “B”.

The top two teams after the end of the third phase proceed to the semi-finals direct with the next four engaging in a playoff for a place in the semis.

Back at Railway Club, there was no end to Mwamba’s miseries after they failed to recover from last Saturday's defeat to Oilers.

Mwamba camped in Nakuru’s half virtually for the better part of second half, but wasted a lot of opportunities. Nakuru failed to venture into Mwamba’s 22 metre zone the whole of the second half as the Great Rift side deployed an impregnable defence.

Nakuru scored all their points in the first half with centre Oscar Ouma and hooker Emmanuel Mboya landing a try each. Full back Collins Onyango made one conversion and kicked in two penalties to lock the duel.

Fly-half Brian Kivasia gave Mwamba the penalty in the first half with the burly eighth man David Machanje landing from rolling mauls but all was in vain.

“The absence of my prop Felix Omondi was really felt in the second half as my forwards had to dig in for the slim victory,” Nakuru coach Felix “Mwalimu” Oloo said, adding that they have now resolved what he terms “domestic issues” that had seen his side register poor results.

Mwamba coach Peter Kefa rued the mistakes that cost his side. “We lost a vital try-scoring chance and two penalties in the second half and it made the big difference,” said Kefa.

Kenya Cup results:

Kabras Sugar 34-3 Harlequins; Mwamba 13-18 Nakuru; Impala 37-29 Menengai Oilers; Nondescripts 11-37 Homeboyz; Blak Blad 44-0 Western Bulls; Kisumu 7-55 KCB.

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