Kenya Lioness reminded the country of their World Cup aspirations as Janet Okello scored a brace and skipper Philadelphia Olando landed a hat trick, as they beat the Uganda Lady Cranes 44-13 in the Elgon Cup Women edition. The match kicked off at 1:30pm at the Mamboleo Showgrounds in Kisumu on Saturday 22nd June.
Grace Adhiambo, Philadelphia Olando (C), Celestine Masinde, Janet Okello, Sophia Ayieta, and debutant Stella Wafula all crossed for the home side, as Christabel Lindo delivered a woman-of-the-match performance, displaying an all-round performance to reward her team for their faith in her.
Lionesses, who appeared dysfunctional in the first quarter as The Lady Cranes camped in their 22, were rewarded when Janet Okello’s intuition made her pounce on a loose ball to set up Grace Adhiambo to put the hosts on the score sheet. Irene Otieno missing the conversion.
The Lady Cranes would be reduced to 14-women for a high tackle on Staycy Atieno. A quick tap by Olando with the defense scrambling, saw her power through to touch down at the center post with Irene Otieno converting.
A lovely miss-pass from Olando to winger Christabel Lindo broke down the left wing, with Janet Okello cutting an inside line on the next phase that left Lady Cranes winger stumped and gave Olando a free run-in, as she outpaced her marker to finish a 40 meter dash, scoring at the far corner to finish the play she started.
Jamari Agatha was sent off for intentional knock on leaving the Lioness playing with 14-women.
Christabel Lindo would produce an individual brilliance play when she outpaced her marker, left her defender for dead as she show cased how a switch is done, to put Celestine Masinde in space to score at the center post.
Janet Okello, who had been a menace to Lady Crane’s defense, was not to be denied when she produced arguably the try of the tournament, when she outpaced two defenders on the outside before finishing 80 meter sprint, to close a dominant first half performance by the Lioness. (HT: 27-0)
Olando would pick up from where she left in the first half to land her hat trick, leaving her marker seeking medical attention as she literally ran through her.
Poor defending allowed Lady Cranes big forwards to force Lioness to make mistakes in their 22, resulting in a penalty, Lady Cranes converting to register their first points on the score sheet.
Substitutions gave Lady Crane’s the perfect riposte late in the second quarter to reduce the score gap, when their forwards scored twice to bring the scores to 32-13. This gave Lady Crane a new lease of life and they rallied themselves to play hard ball.
This would be the last shot the visitors fired, as Lioness technical brought in their entire bench reserve which proved resilient at soaking up pressure and striking when they needed to.
Sophia Ayieta and Stella Wafula each scored a brilliant try to wrap up Lioness dominant performance of the day claiming the 44-13 win.
The Elgon Cup return leg will be held on 13th July at the Kyadondo Rugby Club in Kampala Uganda.