KCB retained both the Kenya Cup and the Eric Shirley Shield Titles on the 18th of May after beating opponents Kabras Sugar RFC and Menengai Cream Homeboyz 23-15 and 11-5 respectively.
The Kenya Cup Final had fans traveling from far and wide to witness the two top sides face each other in their third consecutive appearance in the final.
At the KCB Sports Club, Stephen Osumba drilled in two penalty kicks for the Cubs giving them a 6-0 lead in the first half. Two minutes into the second half, Jan Remke landed a try for the Menengai Cream Homeboyz RFC bringing the scores to 5-6. Eleven minutes later, Kenya U20 Centre George Maranga extended his side’s lead to 11-5 as he went over the whitewash.
KCB held on to the six-point lead to the full time retaining their title. They are the only side to have finished the 2018/2019 Season unbeaten.
The Kenya Cup side outplayed their hosts Kabras Sugar RFC in the 2019 Kenya Cup final beating them 23-15 at the Kakamega Showgrounds. In the opening minutes of the match, KCB’s Jacob Ojee missed two penalty kick attempts but he soon landed the opening try for the Bankers as he cut through the Kabras defense in his “swag runner” fashion followed by the successful conversion.
Kabras Sugar responded eleven minutes later as Daniel Sikuta went over the whitewash at the corner reducing the gap to 7-5. Wokorach missed the conversion and both sides held on to this score to the breather. In the first fifteen minutes of the second half, Kabras brought their fans cheering back to life as they scored ten clean points off Charlton Mokua’s try, Wokorach’s conversion and penalty kick taking the hosts to a 15-7 lead.
As KCB were deep in Kabras’ territory, foul play by Kevin Keegan resulted in the referee sending him off for the next ten minutes. KCB drilled in two penalty kicks in the span of three minutes off Ojee’s boot reducing the gap to 15-13. The KCB crowd going wild at the stands. Reserve fly half Shaban Ahmed spotted a gap in Kabras’ defense line and went through it, diving over the whitewash for a center post try, Ojee added the conversion, Bankers leap frogging to a 20-15 lead.
An infringement by Kabras presented an opportunity for KCB to extend their lead with an extra three points which they did, sealing their 2019 win with a 23-15 score.
Captain Curtis Lilako expressed his team’s gratitude to Western Province Rugby Club for taking them through the off season training mid last year and helping them work on the areas where they were struggling with last season. “During the pre-season, we focused on forwards and team plays which is what has taken us through the season.”
“We held ourselves together even as they were leading, it’s never easy playing a team in their home ground and especially with this much support. We came together as a team and reminded ourselves that we still have time and we worked to the very last minute,” concluded Lilako.
“Playing away from home means that you have to be resilient throughout the whole match and that is what my boys did. I love my boys for the team spirit displayed in the final today,” added Curtis Olago, Head Coach KCB.
This was their 10th meeting in the 15s league with KCB winning nine of these encounters, the other one ended in a 15 all draw.
KCB bagged the One Million Shillings Prize money while Kabras walk away with Kshs. 600, 000
ESS FT scores: KCB 11 – Menengai Cream Homeboyz 5
Kenya Cup FT: Kabras Sugar RFC 15 – KCB 23
Images Courtesy of Eric Onchiri