Average temperatures around the country over the past few weeks have played around 33 degrees celsius, in layman’s language, it is hot, blazing hot. It is equally hot at this point in time in the Kenya Cup, everybody’s fighting for something. Some of them fighting for playoff slots, some of them fighting relegation, and others, just fighting in the spirit of being competitive. Sweet dreams, in the eye of the rugby purist, are made of this.
Nakuru is usually sweltering hot this time of year and that heat will most probably be replicated in Saturday’s Kenya Cup match when playoff chasing Top Fry Nakuru, currently sixth on the log, face league leaders Menengai Cream Homeboyz who are yet to lose a match in 2017. Nakuru, champions in 2013 and 2014 badly need the win, and will have to turn up the heat (pun intended) and disrupt the rhythm of the deejays if they are to win and stay in contention for the playoffs.
As mentioned earlier, the deejays are yet to drop a single match in 2017, turning up and emerging victorious in all their outings since the league’s resumption on 14 January. The National Sevens Series champions have seemingly carried that form to the longer version of the game and have already slayed the other teams in the top five including champions Kabras Sugar, KCB, SportPesa Quins and Resolution Impala Saracens as they seek to reach a first ever Kenya Cup semifinal and eventually challenge for the overall trophy.
Second placed SportPesa Quins host third placed KCB in an equally hot encounter at the RFUEA Ground. Temperatures in Nairobi are expected to hit a high of 30 degrees celsius on Saturday, (that’s hot) and action on the pitch is equally expected to be blazing hot, the quest for a top two finish and automatic home semifinal advantage lingering on the minds of both teams. So finely poised is this fixture that the winner could actually go top of the summit heading into the final round of action, although this is dependent on the result of the Nakuru- Homeboyz clash at the NAC.
Champions Kabras Sugar sitting fifth on the log welcome fourth placed Resolution Impala Saracens to the Kakamega Showground on Saturday. The two sides had contrasting results last weekend, Kabras falling to a rare home defeat, losing 13-19 to SportPesa Quins while Resolution Impala Saracens pulled off what is now a familiar and routine outcome against KCB, winning 27-24 at the Impala Club.
Strathmore Leos, are by their standards going through a tough campaign, already out of the playoffs and dwelling in the league’s lower reaches, they host seventh placed Mwamba RFC at the Jamhuri Pakr. Mwama are as keen and as hungry as ever for the sixth and final playoff slot. The Leos were vanquished last weekend by cellar dwellers Mean Machine who posted a 26-5 bonus point win while Mwamba registered a 33-0 shut out of Nondescript. The Leos badly need the win to boosting their waning confidence, probably even give them the momentum to finish strongly and carry that form into the Enterprise Cup while Mwamba must keep winning while hoping that Nakuru falter.
It’s not only hot at the top of the log, there is plenty of heat and lots to play for in the league’s lower reaches. Western Bulls, currently placed tenth on the log, are at home to eleventh placed Blak Blad at The Bull Ring in Kakamega. This is a do or die clash for both sides. Bulls badly need the win to stay just above the relegation zone, but so do Blad, for the same reasons advanced in this sentence.
Mean Machine have lately been operating like the efficient machine from the days of yore, wins over Blak Blad (16-10) and Strathmore Leos (26-5) coupled with that close 15-17 loss to Quins still see them sit twelfth and bottom of the log, but the chance of surviving the chop. To achieve this, they must overcome their hosts Nondescripts who lie eighth on the log, out of playoff contention and safe from the chop.
Collated Match Day 16 Fixtures
Kabras Sugar v Resolution Impala Saracens – 4.00pm, Kakamega Showground, Kakamega
SportPesa Quins v KCB – 4.00pm, RFUEA, Nairobi – Live on Zuku Sports
Top Fry Nakuru v Menengai Cream Homeboyz – 4.00pm, Nakuru Athletic Club
Strathmore Leos v Mwamba – 2.00pm, Jamhuri Park
Western Bulls v Blak Blad – 4.00pm, The Bull Ring, Kakamega
Nondescripts v Mean Machine – 4.00pm, Jamhuri Park, Nairobi