By Thomas Odongo
The Kenya Simbas on Saturday beat Rugby Cranes 20-13 in the second leg of the 2023 Elgon Cup played at the Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu.
The home side overturned the the first leg’s 21-20 defeat in Kampala to win 40-34 on aggregate and hoist the crown for the 13th time and sixth straight time with Uganda winning only three times, in 2006, 2012 and 2015.
In the women’s encounter that was one legged, Kenya Lionesses devoured the Lady Cranes in the opening match of the day at the same venue, beating them 87-3 to claim a seventh women’s Elgon Cup victory.
In the men’s game, Kabras Sugar RFC flyhalf Jone Kubu ran the show scoring 15 points to guide Kenya to victory. He was the first to get the points of the game when he slotted home a 10-yard penalty to earn his side a 3-0 inside the opening 10 minutes.
Moments later, Elkins Musonye earned Kenya its first try to stretch the scores to 10-0 after Kubu’s successful conversion.
The visitors would later posts points on the board to cut the hosts’ lead a bit. Cranes skipper Ivan Magomu successful penalty kick made it 10-3. He would have earned more points for his side but missed a penalty and the scores were unchanged at halftime.
In the second half, Kubu was once again pivotal for the home side. He touched down right between the posts and stretch Simbas lead to 17-3 after converting his own try.
With Kenya’s lead getting wider, the Cranes opted for fresh legs and Magomu was replaced by Liam Walker who has been good at kicking and Kenyans would remember his last minute winning penalty in Kampala.
The visitors seemed to have gained momentum as they quickly cut Kenya’s lead to seven points (17-10) after Walker converted a try.
Walker had a chance to steal the show and level the aggregate score but failed to utilize two successive penalties. It was Kubu who would standout at the end of the day after his penalty kick sealed a 20-13 win for the Simbas.
In the women’s game, Sharon Auma opened the scoring for Kenya when she dotted down with her first touch of the ball in the fifth minute. Ann Goretti failed to convert.
Stella Wafula later gave Kenya a second they but the extras were missed. Diana Omosso then followed immediately after Auma and Wafula to become the third straight back to touch down a try to stretch Kenya’s lead to 17-0.
Wafula then broke from the midfield with quick feet and dummies that despite being stopped by the Ugandan backline, Kenya were awarded a penalty try to lead 24-0.
Phoebe Akinyi then showed she is too quick for the Ugandans after receiving the ball straight from kick off and pacing her way to the try line to stretch Kenya’s lead to 31-0.
Christabel Lindo, Omosso, Wafula, Maureen Muritu, Diana Kemunto would then join the score scheet for the win.
For Uganda’s Lady Cranes, the consolation was earned through a successful penalty kick from Tina Akello.