Mean Machine, Monks earn Kenya Cup promotions
The 2023 Kenya Cup league will have five varsity sides contesting for the title to be defended by Kabras Sugar.
University of Nairobi’s Mean Machine and Catholic University Monks breathed fire on away grounds to shock the hosts with close wins in the heated Championship semifinals that automatically gave the two winners the right to replace relegated Impala Saracens and Nondescripts.
The other varsity sides already featuring in the top tier league include Kenyatta University’s Blak Blad, Strathmore Leos and Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST).
Catholic Monks claimed the first ticket with a 9-5 win over Shamas Foundation for a seasonal double over the newbies who attempted to qualify for the Kenya Cup in their very first stint at the Championship tier.
The visitors were nonetheless the favourites of the match owing to a 29-21 round four win and their hunger to return to the top tier league since the season 2014/15 was evident through their defence on away grounds. This in turn inspired two-time Kenya cup champions Mean Machine to also rise to the occasion to beat South Coast Pirates 20-14 at the Sea Crest grounds in a match that kicked off later at 3 pm.
At the RFUEA grounds, both sides struggled to get the better of each other but it was the Monks who made the most out of their advantages and their playmaker Sam Omollo slotted all the three winning penalties that happened to be the only points the away team scored. In the match, the hosts could only manage one unconverted try by Godfrey Khisero.
Tempers flared at RFUEA where twin brothers James and Joseph Kang’ethe attacked the centre referee and the two will face disciplinary action in the week. In Ukunda it was also a balanced affair won by early penalties that separated what would have turned out to be a stalemate at full time.
Last month at the same coastal venue Pirates shocked Machine with a 28-10 beating to give the hosts confidence heading into a playoff match where they needed to confirm the double.
The visitor’s fullback and man of the match was among the changes who brought the expected difference courtesy of scoring two penalties alongside a try and conversions to ensure they led the match from kick-off to the final whistle without conceding a point in the opener half for a 13-0 lead.
The hosts returned stronger and attempted to fight back but could only score two converted tries, not enough to cancel a 20-point lead by Machine.
who confirmed the second slot after Catholic University.
Catholic Monks and Machine finished the regular season perched third and fourth with 39 and 35 points respectively and the two sides that kicked off the league at the University of Nairobi grounds will renew their rivalry set to wrap up the season this Saturday.
The knocked-out teams, South Coast Pirates had finished the regular standings placed first with 42 points while Shamas finished second with 41 points.