The curtains fell on the Kenya Rugby Union’s Abedeen Shikhoyi Women’s Franchise Championship on the weekend of Saturday 24 June 2017, the final round of action taking place along the sidelines of the men’s Rugby Africa Gold Cup clash between Kenya and Uganda at the RFUEA Ground.
This championship, played in the 15s version with each fixture lasting 40 minutes, was played in memory of Abedeen Shikhoyi who captained the Kenya Lionesses until her demise on Saturday 28 April 2012 . It featured three teams, Black Lions, Western Force Mashinani, Thika Road Panthers. A fourth team, Ngong Hitters, pulled out as the championship proceeded.
At the close of three legs played at the KCB Sports Club in Ruaraka on 21 May, Nakuru Athletic Club on 3 June and the RFUEA Ground on 24 June, it was the Black Lions who claimed the overall honors, having amassed the most points with Western Force Mashinani and the Thika Road Panthers rounding off the top three.
Sinaida Aura from the Black Lions top home the top try scorer’s award with 11 touch downs, her team mate Phila Olando amassing 31 points to take home the top points scorer’s award as Western Force’s Grace Adhiambo claimed the Most Valuable Player award.
Commenting on the championship, KRU Age Grade and Women’s Rugby Co-ordinator Nicholas Aballa said, “It has been encouraging to see the teams, players and officials enthusiastically turn up on the weekends to compete. With a lot more female players taking up the game, it is evident that there is a hunger for more in terms of women’s competitions and activities.”
“Women’s rugby in Kenya is slowly breaking cultural barriers, the uptake of the game increasing by the day and we are constantly taking advantage of the changing cultural perceptions about the game to not only grow our audiences through the Get Into Rugby festivals targeting girls, but also seeking to improve performances through such competitions, “ he concluded.