Oct 10, 2016
Impala Saracens Win Knife Edge Derby
Resolution Impala Saracens ground out a knife edge 13-11 win over Kenya Harlequins in the much anticipated Ngong Road semi final derby of the 36th Impala Floodlit tournament.
Impala Saracens got off to a strong start and the Gazelles had two clearcut try scoring chances from close to the base thanks to breaks initiated by fly half Nato Simiyu. They were however unable to capitalise on their opportunities.
Then the 26th minute, after much seesaw movement, scrum half Lyle Asiligwa would boot Quins into the lead after a Sarries side entry penalty at the top of their 22m.
Impala's Simiyu would reply however with a drop goal ten minutes later with the ref playing advantage. By half time, the scores were tight and even at 3-3.
The second half would see more frantic game play with both sides trying to get a foothold in the match. However, the first score in the half would only come in the 67th minute when former Impala Saracen Pius Shiundu scored an unconverted try at the corner flag, overcoming a scrambling Impala defence to give Quins an 8-3 lead.
The Impala captain Joel Omer would then raise the game pressure when he intercepted Asiligwa's base pass, run 20 metres and sent a grubber to Ongo who narrowly missed the unfavourable bounce.
The Sarries would though, on 72 minutes, score when they attacked a scrum blindside through number 8 Duncan Ekasi. He passed to scrum half Samson Onsomu whose delayed pass put fullback George Okowa in space to release Ongo. Ongo then chipped and regathered to score at the corner. The conversion, from a difficult angle, gave Impala the lead for the first time with the scores at 10-8.
Quins would go up again in the 76th minute when, in one of their forays into the Impala 22m, the Red Shirts committed a side entry offence. Reserve scrum half Kevin would slot in the penalty conversion for a slim 11-10 lead.
The game was not over however as in what was practically the last play of the game, Ekasi would carry the ball to the blindside again, and from a series of reserve loosehead prop Neville Omondi carries, Quins would concede a failure to roll away penalty.
Ongo stepped up to strike in the 35 metre penalty conversion to earn the Ngong Road bragging rights from a 13-10 win.
"As you'd imagine, we're very pleased with the win. Quins are alot stronger this year than they were at this stage of last season.
We will look to tighten our execution into the final match againt the defending champions, KCB. As is common, finals are about seizing moments and closing chances." said Impala's Director of Rugby, Fred Ollows.
In the final Impala will face KCB who qualified to next weekend's final after an equally nerve wracking semi final which they won 28-26 against Too Fry Nakuru RFC.