Strathmore knock out Nakuru in Enterprise Cup

By francis marangu
May 28, 2021
  • Impala and Kabras will meet again this season in the Enterprise Cup semi-final.

  • Mitch Ocholla, the Strathmore University coach was impressed with the performance of his team against Mwamba.

Strathmore University turned on their game in second half to beat Nakuru RFC 32-13 and advance to the semifinals of Enterprise Cup.

They will play champions Kenya Commercial Bank RFC who beat Blak Blad 36-8.

In this match, substitutions worked for Strathmore with Mike Wanjala and Brian Alukwe coming on to play a huge role in the dominant second half show.

But, it was hooker Ted Dondi who gave Strathmore the impetus they needed. He scored two tries in five minutes of the second half when they led 15-13, giving the students confidence.

Strathmore led 15-8 at halftime after a tough first half that they had the best of Nakuru at the breakdown.

The absence of scrumhalf Geoffrey Ominde who is away with Kenya Shujaa was evident for Nakuru. He has been their primary kicker this season and Nakuru used three different kickers in the match. They scored three points out of a possible 16 from the boot.

“We dominated at the forwards and allowed our backs to finish off. It's a good win for the boys, we allowed them to express themselves and we now start planning for the next match. It's one at a time for us,” head coach Mitch Ocholla said after the match played at their Madaraka ground.

Flyhalf Ian Lumwaji gave Strathmore a 3-0 lead two minutes into the match from a penalty. Nakuru fullback Javan Murayi made it 3-3 two minutes later.

In the ninth minute, Dondi was in the thick of things as Strathmore took a 8-3 lead. He had possession after they contested a ruck and made a powerful break to gain ground. His play rattled Nakuru’s defence before offloading to Churchill Ooko outside the 22 who raced to touch down.

Made amends

Murayi then missed two penalties in three minutes that could have given Nakuru the lead. It did not take long before they made amends.

In the 28th minute, Nakuru won a scrum inside Strathmore’s 22 and connected good passes that set up a try by Godfrey Mbeya at the left corner to tie scores 8-8.

Four minutes to halftime, a judgemental error by Nakuru players gifted Strathmore a second try. Don Oluoch who played at scrumhalf had a weak kick to clear.

The ball dropped in his 22 and allowed Strathmore’s number eight Gabriel Adero to gain possession easily as they (Nakuru) anticipated a call from the referee. Nakuru reacted quickly and from the ensuing tackle, Strathmore controlled possession.

The ball swung from the right to left wing with perfect passes and landed to Ooko. He picked out George Orembo who touched down at the corner with Lumwaji converting from a tight angle.

First half closed with Edwins Makori missing a straightforward penalty kick in front of goal posts.

Two minutes into second half, Nakuru fought back with Charlton Mokua touching down for 15-13 to Strathmore. Nakuru had won a lineout and Mokua found his way out of the maul to push over and score clear.

Lumwaji then kicked wide a penalty before Dondi rose to the occasion with the game-changing tries. His first came in the 48th minute, getting the assist from Eric Kioko who won the ball after Strathmore set up a maul from a lineout.

Dondi completed his brace in the 53rd minute. Ginton Adongo did all the damage with a line break on the left wing and beat successive tackles from Murayi and Cassia Omollo. He then offloaded to Dondi who touched down with a late tackle from Henry Ayah.

The tries gave Strathmore confidence as they played with aggressiveness upfront. An impressive Alukwe who came on in second half missed a penalty attempt with 10 minutes to play but made up for the miss with a try and conversion moments later.

Won turnover ball

Wanjala, a former Kenya Sevens player won a turnover ball at the ruck and made a run on the left before passing to Ooko. He crossed the line but allowed Alukwe to score and convert.

Mitch Ocholla was impressed by Alukwe and other new players who were making their debut for the senior team. Dan Othieno who started at lock was making a return from long-term injury that locked him out of the entire Kenya Cup season as well as Mugambi Kithamba.

“Some of these guys are straight from high school and this being their first match am impressed. It was a good way to test our depth.”

The second semifinal will be a repeat of the Kenya Cup final as Kabras Sugar host to Impala RFC. Kabras beat Homeboyz RFC 60-22 while Impala won 48-10 over Mwamba RFC.

Against a depleted Homeboyz, Kabras scored 10 tries. Jones Nkubu scored four and converted five for a personal tally of 25 points. Anthony Ogot and Aluda Beda scored two tries each with Sava Racigi and Levi Ochieng adding one try each.

Results

Enterprise Cup: KCB 36 Blak Blad 8, Strathmore University 32 Nakuru RFC 13, Impala RFC 48 Mwamba RFC 10, Homeboyz RFC 22 Kabras Sugar 60; Mwamba Cup Pre-Quarters: Comras 10 Impala II 30, Quins II 65 Homeboyz II 3, Strathmore II 0 Nakuru II 7, CUEA 24 Kisumu 0; Mwamba Cup II: Quarterfinals - Quins III 24 KCA 0, Impala III 24 Ngong 0, Shieywe 24 Nakuru III 0, Mwamba III 24 TUK 0.