Kenya Commercial Bank all but extinguished Impala’s Kenya Cup ambitions with a 32-14 bonus point win at The Lions’ Den in Ruaraka. The home side were quick off the blocks, winning a penalty deep in Impala territory after just 1.22 of play. They opted to kick the ball into touch and upon retaining possession from the ensuing line out, diminutive scrum half Peter Mutai dummied his way to the try line with Fabian Olando converting to give the Lions a 7-0 lead two minutes into the match.

Impala would attack from the restart, their phase play gaining them crucial territory before lock Moses Wanyagah received the ball in open play, selling a dummy opened up his path to the try line. He landed under the posts with Nato Simiyu converting, leveling the scores at 7-7 after five minutes.

The match would continue at a frenetic pace, both sides eager to stamp their authority and it was the home side’s forwards who had the cutting edge in the opening minutes, forcing Impala into an infringement twenty five meters from the posts. Referee Mwangi Kirimi awarded them a penalty that Olando slotted home, giving KCB a 10-7 lead on thirteen minutes. Mutai would complete his brace four minutes later, beating his Impala markers with a dummy before powering his way to the try line just as it seemed he had been caught in possession. The bankers were 15-7 ahead after nineteen minutes.

The game’s tempo dipped slightly but KCB continued to dominate in the forwards and were rewarded with a third try after flanker Anthony Ogot scored from a rolling maul on twenty seven minutes. Trailing 20-7, Impala looked dead and buried but came back stronger in the final quarter of this half, putting KCB on the backfoot.Their pressure nearly paid off when twice they were denied on the try line by retreating KCB players. Determined to end the first half with more points on the board, Impala opted to kick for goal after being awarded a penalty following a KCB infringement but scrum half Mike Mugo fluffed his kick with Referee Kirimi whistling for half time.

The second half started on a tentative note, KCB seeing a lot of the ball but clearly unable to make use of it. This moment of indecision from the Lions allowed the Gazelles to grow in confidence. Anthony Nyandigisi skipped past three feeble KCB  tackles to touch down on fourty nine minutes. Replacement scrum half Moses Kola cut the deficit to six points with a successful conversion.

At 20-14, there was a contest on our hands, Impala sensed that they could inch their way back into this one, and indeed Vincent Mose and Kevin Umbuge were a constant threat to KCB who seemed to be on the ropes for the intervening period.  KCB would lose the influential Mutai to a suspected leg injury, something that clearly rattled them. Then, totally against the run of play,KCB got the bonus point when lock Ronnie Mwenesi grounded the ball on seventy one minutes with Olando converting for a 27-14 lead. This try sparked a renaissance of sorts for the now out of sorts Lions who re-emerged to dominate the games latter stages. Olando would take his personal points tally to twelve points when he touched down on seventy nine minutes. His conversion went wide as KCB moved into second place in the Kenya Cup with a 32-14 result.

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