Mean Maroon of Lenana School took down Champions Alliance High School 11-10 in an epic semi final played at Lenana on the evening of Saturday 25 June to romp the final of the prestigious Prescott Cup for the first time since 2014.
The game went to the break with Lenana School leading 8-3 but Alliance went ahead for the first time in the second half with a converted try before finally falling off narrowly.
Mwita's penalty decides
The close knit duel was decided by the boots of fly half Arnold Mwita who drilled in a penalty from near the half way line, mid through the second half.
There was utter silence as he prepared to take the kick and as his three pointer rose, then rightly dinked between the poles, the attending fans - old boys included, chorused with wild cheers.
Prior to the penalty from Mwita – whose extra time drop goal against RVA earned Lenana School the 2016 Blackrock – the first since 2002, the hosts trailed 10-8 after Alliance had clawed back in the second half with a well worked try from Anthony Maina followed by an extra from Dennis Gitau.
Lenana School up first
Lenana School sounded the boards first with a try off the maul to take an early 5-0 lead. Alliance, who beat Upper Hill 18-14 to win the coveted Cup in 2015, the first since 2013, then responded with a penalty from Gitau to narrow the margin to 5-3.
Mwita would then extend the lead for Lenana with a penalty that settled the game at 8-3 going to the water break.
Alliance had the chance to finish off the game in the closing minutes of the first half, as on four occasions they got to within meters of try line only to be stopped by a solid Lenana back line.
Within the last five minutes of the game Alliance earned a penalty from 25 yards out but when it looked easier to drill it in, and silence the raucous crowd, Gitau kicked wide to the relief of the wild Lenana supporters.
On two occasions Lenana had to play a man less as, towards the end of the first half outside center Jeff Hargy, a second former, was sin binned for a high tackle.
The hosts were to end the game with 14 players on the pitch as the hero of the game – Mwita, turned villain after being yellow carded. It mattered little though as he was fished out from the crime seat and lifted sky high after the game as his winning points sent his school through.
While Lenana Coach Willis 'Foxx' Ojal was elated at the progression, his counterpart from Alliance Mwangi Murimi rued missed opportunities for the loss.
“A place in the final means a lot,” started Ojal “If you saw the crowd there were old boys from as far back as 1975 and it excited them that the school played like it used to and getting back to where it should be,”
“In recent years the school was close to relegation but with a place in the Prescott final we can get better numbers coming for training, meaning better competition and better rugby,” said Ojal
For Murimi, it was close yet far;
“We needed to put them under more pressure but we did not. We could have won it but we lost and that is the nature of the game,” he said
Lenana will now face off with the winner of the second semi between two-time finalists Upper Hill School and four-time champions Mangu High in the final set for Saturday 2 July at Jamhuri Park.
The pending semi will be played on Thursday 30 June, 4pm at Upper Hill School. The tie had been planned for Saturday but Mangu had since closed shop for mid term hence the reschedule.
For a place in the hotly contested semis, Lenana School shocked hosts Strathmore School 24-3 in the quarters as Alliance stopped Ofafa Jericho 11-0.