Kenya Cup: Nondies, Quins axed from country’s top-flight rugby league
Kenya’s oldest clubs Nondescripts and their Ngong Road counterparts Kenya Harlequins this weekend bid bye to the country’s top-flight rugby league - Kenya Cup - sending shockwaves in the sport.
The two sides were relegated after respective upsets against Homeboyz and Mwamba in a final round of the league.
The fallen giants will no doubt now return to the drawing board to meditate on their unexpected downfall and contemplate life in the second-tier Championship league with their replacements set to be confirmed on March 12.
Undoubtedly, the coronavirus pandemic played a role in a season full of upheavals not only for the sides but all the 12 participating teams.
Since the emergence of the pandemic, sponsorships have dwindled leaving the league to be contested by teams with heavy corporate backing while the rest had to make do with meagre contributions from well-wishers.
A team like Mwamba is now into the second season without a home ground but still performed better than their rivals largely due to an experienced squad full of dependables, including World Rugby Sevens speedster Collins Injera.
Apart from hanging boots or jumping ship, a majority of experienced senior players were held up by work and other commitments when rugby failed to put food on the table during this difficult period, and only the brave and strong-willed players kept at it.
The final round that had all the six hosts net the bragging rights.
Impala nailed MMUST 42-17 to bolster their points difference that turned out to be Quins' worst nightmare, and it was compounded Nakuru’s win over Oilers despite being aware they needed to score four tries against Kulabu (Mwamba) or lose by less than seven points to overcome Impala’s survival quest.
Nakuru’s experience and home advantage gave Wanyore fans a weekend of celebration in around the side needed a win or two losing bonuses to survive and a 13-8 win over stubborn Menengai Oilers was enough to save the day.
All the three varsity sides survived the axe despite their mixed results where only Blak Blad registered a 17-3 win over Strathmore Leos to give the side a top-six finish.
Strathmore finished fourth and meet Kabras in the cup semifinals playoffs. MMUST finished ninth.