The 2023-2024 Kenya Cup season kicked off with a rugby spectacle that showcased dominance and determination from defending champions Kabras Sugar RFC, Kenya Harlequin, Menengai Oilers and KBC Rugby.
The weekend matches witnessed a thrilling encounter between the champions and returning sides Kisumu RFC and Nondescripts, who secured direct qualification to the Kenya Cup after finishing in the top two of the second-tier Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) Championship.
Playing at their evergreen Kakamega Showgrounds nestled in the tropical Kakamega Forest, Kabras Sugar delivered a resounding statement with a comprehensive 72-10 thrashing of Kisumu RFC.
Led by the prolific Kenya Simbas winger Derrick Ashiundu, who showcased his brilliance with four tries, Kabras Sugar left no room for doubt about their title defense ambitions.
Captain George Nyambua contributed two tries while Teddy Akala, John Kubu, Walter Okoth, Mathias Osimbo, Dan Angwech, and Lameck Ambetsa all left their mark on the score sheet.
The 62-point difference secured Kabras Sugar's place at the top of the 12-team standings with an impressive five-point start to the season.
The defending champions demonstrated not only their attacking prowess, but also their defensive solidity, making them the early team to beat in the Kenya Cup campaign.
Following closely behind Kabras Sugar in the standings are former champions Kenya Harlequin and KCB, both with five points each.
Kenya Harlequin displayed their dominance with a convincing 48-8 victory over Catholic Monks.
Meanwhile, KCB proved their mettle with a 45-8 triumph over Nondescripts, highlighting their championship credentials.
Menengai Oilers, Blak Blad, and Strathmore University also entered the winners' circle, securing five points each and positioning themselves as early contenders in the competitive league.
The tight competition is evident, with point differences separating the teams at the top. Quins boast a 40-point difference, while KCB follows with a 37-point difference.
For Kisumu RFC and Nondescripts, the return to the top tier was a challenging one. Kisumu RFC, in particular, faced a daunting task, conceding 72 points in their opening fixture. The result serves as a wake-up call for the returning side, urging them to regroup and bounce back ahead of their next fixture against Nakuru RFC.
Nondescripts, too, have a tough challenge awaiting them as they welcome defending champions Kabras Sugar in Nairobi. The encounter promises to test their resilience and provide insights into their ability to compete at the highest level.
As the season unfolds, both returning sides will need to dig deep and harness their strengths to navigate the challenges posed by the Kenya Cup.
Overall, the opening weekend of the 2023-2024 Kenya Cup season set the stage for an exciting and competitive rugby campaign.
With defending champions Kabras Sugar making a bold statement and other teams showcasing their prowess, rugby enthusiasts can anticipate a season filled with thrilling moments, fierce battles, and intense competition for the coveted Kenya Cup title.