Nato Simiyu served up a master class in territorial kicking as Resolution Impala Saracens reached the Kenya Cup final with an 8-7 win over outgoing champions KCB in a semifinal played at the Impala Club on Saturday 30 April.
The sides took time to adapt to the slippery conditions after Friday night’s rain, but it was the hosts who found their rhythm, slowly asserting themselves as play went on, their forwards, and Simiyu’s boot gaining crucial ground, allowing them to set up attacking platforms in KCB territory.
Ian Minjire would spurn a try scoring opportunity, the ball slipping out of his hands as he launched himself over the try line after being played in by the impressive Simiyu on 29 minutes.
He would find atonement 9 minutes later when Simiyu charged down KCB fly half Kenny Andola’ kick for touch, gathering the loose ball to score, George Okowa missing the conversion as the Sarries took a 5-0 lead into the interval.
An infringement in the early part of the second half saw Okowa stab home the ensuing penalty as the Sarries went 8-0 up.
The introduction of Peter Karia lifted KCB’s momentum, the bankers stringing together successive phases of play but let down by indecision and a cheap loss of possession at the breakdown. There was also the small issue of Simiyu’s boot to stave off whatever threat the bankers posed.
The Sarries continued to look the dominant side but found their lead cut to a solitary point when Darwin Mukidza converted Karia’s try off the rolling maul, the score 8-7 after 73 minutes.
KCB would look to score the winner but a handling error while attacking deep in the Sarries half meant a halt in play, referee John Bosco Muamba blowing his whistle for fulltime as the hosts went delirious, ecstatic at the thought of reaching the Kenya Cup final for the first time since their 2009 triumph.