By Michael Kwambo
Nairobi, Friday 17 February 2012
Kenya Cup leaders Strathmore Leos will be away to former champions Impala RFC at the Impala Club in the league’s top bill clash as the 2011/2012 Kenya Cup season enters its second leg. Mwamba RFC, leaders for the better part of the first leg host former multiple champions Nondescript RUFC, KCB are at home to Homeboyz RFC at the Lions Den in Ruaraka, Nakuru RFC play away to Kisumu at the Polytechnic grounds while defending league champions Lunch Bar Quins play Mean Machine at home. Below is a preview of the fixtures set for Saturday 18 February. Home team named first, league position in brackets.
Impala RFC (6) v Strathmore Leos (1)
Coming off the back of two successive defeats to Lunch Bar Quins (13-22) and Mean Machine respectively (20-26) , Impala rallied from a 12-15 deficit, eventually overcoming Homeboyz RFC 30-15 on match day ten. They will surely hope to carry the resilience and strength of character displayed last weekend into the weekend’s encounter against the league leaders. They will seek to avenge the 6-5 first leg loss to the Leos on 3 December 2011 as they look to stay in contention for the title.
Strathmore Leos have registered five consecutive league wins since the 8-5 loss to Mean Machine on 7 January. They claimed Kenya Cup’s pole position with a gritty 19-13 win over previous leader Mwamba on match day, completing the double over the black shirts after beating them 12-3 in the league opener on 26 November 2011. The Leos will seek to consolidate pole position with a win over their hosts.
Mwamba RFC (2) v Nondies (8)
Mwamba (30pts) sit two points behind leaders Strathmore (32pts). They have consistently been amongst the league’s leading pack, registering positive results along the way. Boasting the psychological edge against their opponents on Saturday, Nondies, whom they beat 24-5 in the first leg on 3 December 2011, Mwamba will view this match as an opportunity to register a second result and stay within the league’s summit.
Nondies have had a start-stop campaign, their performances on the pitch not reflected by the results posted, something that sees them placed eighth o the log. They enter Saturday’s fixture seeking to put behind the disappointment of a few recent results that include the shock loss away to Kisumu and the close home defeat last weekend to Nakuru.
KCB (3) v Homeboyz (10)
KCB’s home form will give them the confidence to register a victory over a Hoemboyz side who are currently placed bottom of the standings. The bankers are unbeaten in their five home fixtures in this season’s campaign, having registered three wins and two improbable draws. Currently placed third, level on points with second placed Mwamba RFC but with an inferior aggregate, they will relish the opportunity to complete the double over Homeboyz, whom they beat 22-17 in the first leg fixture. A win could see them keep in touch or even top the standings at the close of Saturday’s business.
With two matches in hand, Homeboyz RFC will come into this match not daunted by the challenge posed by KCB as quite a number of their players honed their skills at Ruaraka. Casting that issue aside, a dip in form midway through the first leg saw the Eric Shirley Shield champions slide to the foot of the table. They will seek to draw from the positives of last weekend’s 15-30 loss to Impala, a match that they led 15-12 at a point.
Kisumu RFC (9) v Nakuru RFC (4)
Kisumu RFC may have been on the receiving end but they surely are enjoying their debut Kenya Cup season. They have been tricky customers to cope with while playing at their Kisumu Polytechnic home. They play host to Nakuru RFC, a side that they asked questions of during the first leg, even leading their hosts 10-7 before succumbing to a 29-10 loss on 3 December 2011. They were not disgraced in their 6-20 loss to Quins last weekend and be out to translate last weekend’s performance into victory.
Nakuru RFC have been competitive, currently placed fourth and not too far off the leading trio’s pace. They have an outside chance of topping the table on Saturday night. To do so, they would have to register a bonus point result over Kisumu while counting on losses for Mwamba and KCB as well as Strathmore losing without garnering a bonus. With all these factors to consider, Saturday’s fixture should be an entertaining one.
Lunch Bar Quins (5) v Mean Machine RFC (7)
Reigning champions Lunch Bar Quins have like Strathmore, been the form team over the past few weeks, registering four consecutive wins that have lifted them to fifth in the standings with two matches in hand. Playing before their home fans, they will be pumped up against the challenge posed by a very dangerous Mean Machine side whom they beat 17-0 in the first leg on 3 December.
Mean Machine like Quins, also have two matches in hand. They have proved to be a very competitive side, giving as good as they have got in their recent fixtures. With two wins (23-20 against Nakuru and 26-20 against Impala) as a loss (20-29 to KCB), the varsity side will be no pushovers and will definitely take the fight to Lunch Bar Quins as they seek to register another positive result.
Action in the lower leagues continues with matches in the Eric Shirley, Nationwide and University leagues.
Eric Shirley Shield
Leaders Western Bulls will be out to consolidate their lead when they host Nakuru II. Second placed Quins II put their 100% record on the line when they face Machine II. Only one point separates the top two sides and victory is key for both.
Nationwide League West
Eldoret RFC lead the Nationwide West, their match away to Kakamega is an opportunity to extend their lead.
Nationwide League East
Kenyatta University’s Blak Blad are comfortably in the lead, boasting a 100% record. They face JKUAT looking to further stretch pole their lead.
Egerton, with seven wins from seven outings lead the standings, ahead of Kenya Poly who also hold an unbeaten record but have two matches in hand.
Egerton play away to Thika.
Collated Fixtures Saturday 18 February 2012
KENYA CUP (KICK OFF 4.30pm)
Impala RFC v Strathmore Leos
Mwamba RFC v Nondies
KCB v Homeboyz RFC
Kisumu RFC v Nakuru RFC
Lunch Bar Quins V Mean Machine RFC
ERIC SHIRLEY SHIELD (KICK OFF 3.00pm)
Impala II v Strathmore II
Mwamba II v Nondies II
KCB II v Homeboyz II
Western Bulls v Nakuru II
Quins II v Machine II
Kisumu II v Siaya
Kakamega v Eldoret
Webuye v Bungoma
Maseno v Kisii
Masinde Muliro v Moi Uni
Blak Blad v JKUAT
Mombasa v Pwani
Spartans v Mombasa Poly
USIU v Oryx
Blad II v MultiMedia
Kimathi v Kabarak
KEMU v Comras
K.Poly v Daystar
Thika v Egerton
Catholic v Nazarene