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Why Nakuru derby is a fixture like no other

 

Steve Arunga (left) of Menengai Oilers battles with Felix Okoth of Top Fry Nakuru RFC during the Kenya Cup match at Nakuru ASK grounds on March 13, 2021.[Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

As Top Fry Nakuru RFC and next-door neighbours Menengai Oilers prepare to meet in their fifth ‘Nakuru Derby’, each team knows what awaits them. It has always been a tough fixture.

The match will be played at Nakuru Athletic Club on Saturday and each team is ready for the duel.

For hosts Nakuru RFC, victory will be vital as it will also see them climb out of the relegation zone. To them, results from other matches will count for nothing. They need to win in their Saturday match. They must win.

Nakuru RFC are ninth in the 12-team-competition with 16 points from 10 rounds of matches.

Nondescripts have 15 points, Menengai Cream Homeboyz 15 and Impala Saracens 12, all of them separated by between one to four points.

On their part, Oilers are also in need of victory against Nakuru RFC as they seek to solidify their third position at 38 points from 10 rounds of matches.

They trail leaders Kabras Sugar, who have 50 points and league defending champions KCB with 44.

Strathmore Leos have 29 points, in fourth spot. All the top four sides have qualified for the semifinal play-offs.

“We really need that win (against Oilers) whether it is with a bonus point, or not. For us to be completely out of the danger zone, we must come out victorious and focus on next season,” Nakuru RFC team manager Hillary Kisangi told Standard Sports.

A bonus win has five points and a team must win with more than four tries while a simple win has four points.

Menengai Oilers head coach Gibson Weru confirmed that such matches are always tough and this one is not an exception and therefore unpredictable as each team is out to bag the win.

“This is a match that has always been tough for both sides and at times, it is controlled by emotions and therefore, ends up being quite unpredictable,” he said.

From the time Menengai Oilers joined the Kenya Cup League in 2018/2019 season, the two sides have met four times, with each of the two teams winning twice.

In their first derby hosted at Nakuru Athletic Club on February 16, 2019, Nakuru RFC defeated Oilers 46-37.

In the 2019/2020 season played on home and away basis, Oilers smashed Nakuru RFC 31-5 at ASK Nakuru showground on October 26, before Nakuru RFC secured a close 19-17 victory against Oilers at their backyard (Nakuru Athletic Club) on January 25, 2020.

In the 2020/2021 season played on a one-off match, Oilers defeated Nakuru 21-20 on March 13, 2021 at ASK Nakuru showground.

By Mike Kihaki 2 hours ago
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