Vincent Onyala put in a man of the match performance, landing two tries, providing an assist and a solid defensive effort to see the Simbas stop Zimbabwe’s Sables 36-14 in an enthralling Victoria Cup fixture at the Nakuru Athletic Club on Saturday 21 September 2019. This was the Simbas first fixture in Nakuru since 1961.
The National Sevens Circuit MVP gave Paul Odera’s charges the perfect start to this test match, going over the whitewash with Anthony Odhiambo converting for a 7-0 lead. Odhiambo then added a penalty to see the Simbas go 10-0 after 18 minutes of play.
Monate Akuei, lively for the Simbas, would leave the field of play concussed after 25 minutes, Sam Were taking his place in the back row.
Both sides were reduced to 14 men after Zimbabwe’s Biselele Tshamalala and Kenya’s Toby Francombe were dispatched to the bin by Ugandan referee Sauda Adiru with 11 minutes of the half still to play.
Emmanuel Mavala would limp off injured with Brian Juma replacing him in the second row with about three minutes of the opening half still to play.
The Sables would get points on the board right on the stroke of half time through Chibue Ngoni’s converted effort but there was still a moment of drama left in the half when Simbas winger Timothy Okwemba raced down the left flank to score under the posts, Odhiambo converting to give the Simbas a 17-7 lead at the break.
Zimbabwe were still in this game, pressing forward for territory and points. Their efforts finally paid off when Bornwell Gwinji landed a converted try to bring them to within three points of the hosts with 24 minutes still to play in the half.
It remained a tight contest, Kenya backrow Joshua Chisanga a constant threat to the Sables with his hard running which constantly gained territory for the hosts.
Tony Omondi, on for his test debut, chased down Geoffrey Okwach’s punt down field, scoring and converting with his first touches of the ball, the Simbas going 24-14 up.
Zimbabwe were still in it, putting the hosts on the backfoot but were unable to score even after going through seven phases of play as the Kenyan defense held firm.
After soaking up intense Zimbabwean pressure, Kenya found themselves in possession through Onyala who released Charles Kuka to score an unconverted try for a 29-14 lead. He then pounced on a loose ball and raced clear to land his brace, Omondi converting for the full time score.