By Mike Kwambo

Kenya Cup match day 13 is here upon us on Saturday 19th September 2009. This is the penultimate stage of the league and it brings with it very interesting pairings.

Two Ngong’ Road venues  will play host to two potentially explosive matches featuring the protagonists who make up the top four namely league leaders Impala RFC (42pts), former champions Kenya Commercial Bank RFC(41pts),defending champions Kenya Harlequin FC (40pts) and Enterprise Cup champions Nakuru RFC(38pts).

A closer look at the log reveals that these four sides are separated by four points.

It gets even more interesting, for the top three sides are separated by two points, making match day 13 fixtures all the more captivating.

The other four sides in action are for all intents and purposes engaged in playoff matches to consolidate their respective league positions but this does not water down the expected thrills and spills on match day 13.

League positions in brackets.

 

Impala RFC (1) v Nakuru RFC (4) Impala Club, Nairobi

 

League leaders Impala RFC play host to fourth placed Nakuru RFC at the Impala Club knowing that they must win this tie to keep their dreams of a first league title since 2004 alive.

Bill Githinji’s troops will be out to bounce back from the 8-17 home defeat to Kenya Commercial Bank RFC on match day 12 by going for the jugular against a Nakuru side that is still within realistic reach of a maiden league title.

The reigning Enterprise Cup champions suffered a 12-3 home defeat to league champions Kenya Harlequin FC on match day 12.

They come into this tie knowing that one more defeat virtually puts paid to their Kenya Cup ambitions. Nakuru won the reverse fixture 28-17 when the two sides met on match day 6 and will be out to complete the double over an Impala side that is precariously perched on top of the league table. With both sides motivated by the prospect of laying their hands on the Kenya Cup title, this match should be eventful.

 

Kenya Harlequin FC (3) v Kenya Commercial Bank RFC (2), RFUEA, Nairobi

 

Defending league champions Kenya Harlequin FC play host to their predecessors Kenya Commercial Bank RFC at Ngong’ Road’s RFUEA Ground. There a few details about this fixture that make for interesting reading. First,Quins coach Edward "Ogre" Kinyany is KCB coach Michael “Tank” Otieno’s assistant in the Kenya fifteens squad. Secondly, Quins wrested the 2008 Kenya Cup title from KCB who were the defending champions when they beat them 29-17 on the final day of the 2008 season. Finally, KCB are unbeaten away from home in the 2009 Kenya Cup.

Now to the matter at hand, third placed Quins trail second placed KCB by a single point and will be out to avenge the 18-27 loss they suffered at the bankers Ruaraka backyard on match day 6.

Both sides were victorious on match day 12, registering victories away from home. Quins survived the treacherous Nakuru Athletic Club playing surface, beating home side Nakuru RFC 12-3 while KCB bounced back from a shock 5-13 home defeat to Nondescripts RUFC on match day 11 to register a 17-8  away win over Impala RFC, a result that saw them keep their hopes of reclaiming the title they last won in 2007.

 

Any one of these four sides could be top of the table by close of business on Saturday.

 

Mwamba RFC (5) v Nondescripts RUFC (6)

 

These two sides may have been long out of contention for the title but there is plenty to play for in what is essentially a fifth place playoff match.

When the two sides met under floodlights on match day 6, it was the visiting Mwamba who emerged tops, rallying to win the fixture 28-17. Nondies have hit a rich vein of form ,claiming  the scalps of KCB along the way.  Charles Kanyi, Biko Adema, Bobby Oyugi and  co are an experienced bunch of players who will definitely take the game to a Mwamba side that has fared badly in recent encounters .However, with the likes of  Humphrey Kayange, Lavin Asego, Horace Otieno and co, Mwamba should not be counted out as they have the pedigree to rise to the occasion.

 

Mean Machine RFC (7) v Strathmore Leos (8) University of Nairobi, Nairobi

 

Essentially a seventh place playoff as both sides are tied on twelve points and are only separated by points’ difference.

When the two sides met on match day 6, Benjamin Ayimba’s Mean Machine ran off with a 30-28 win over Mitch Ocholla’s Strathmore. The two sides meet again at the business end of the season in what should be another entertaining, probably high scoring match.

 

Eric Shirley Shield Final

 

The second division Eric Shirley Shield final takes place this weekend when Quins II meet Impala II. This match will be preceded by the Patrons Bowl that pits Mwamba II against United States International University-Africa (USIU-A).




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