“Character maketh the man”: that was on display when South Coast Pirates clashed with Ngong Warriors at home. The 23-0 score line in favour of the Pirates might suggest a one sided affair but this game was a do or die fight for both teams to get out of the relegation zone and was a full-blooded competitive game.
The main game kicked off at a fearsome pace and fly-half Kelvin Amiani got us underway within minutes with his superb ball carrying prowess to shrug off tackles by the defense and touched down neatly between the sticks, he was already preparing to take his conversion when his try was misjudged by the touchline referee to have been a forward pass from number 9 Collins Shikuku, much to the disappointment of the home faithful who were already up on their feet celebrating. Even the Ngong players had to ask the referee why is was disallowed.
However, it didn't take long for Pirates to break the deadlock as it looked like a carbon copy of the first disallowed try, this time scrum half Collins Shikuku setting up in-form midfield beast Charles Tendwa AKA 'Try-Time' who fought his way to the try line through the Ngong defenders. Kelvin Amiani successfully kicking the conversion 7-0. The midfield is where much of the action took place, as the forwards led by captain Charles Okwemba and Benjamin 'Biggie' Lutta made things difficult for the visitors with nearly inch perfect tackles and heavy ball carrying. Fullback Kevin Ngila made sure that we went to the break with the lead after pouncing on a loose ball and showing that he had wheels for days to touchdown despite attention from a pacey Warriors winger. Amiani narrowly missed this time from the resulting conversion kick 12-0.
After the break, we were awarded two penalties and Amiani's boot didn't disappoint kicking the goals with precision from rather difficult angles 18-0. Ngong in search of a reply came close to scoring with their own break, a counter attack after an interception but outstanding defense from the back three of Ken Omaset, Kevin Ngila and Joseph Musyoki, working together to stop their attempts.
With time running out the match seemed to be coming to a conclusion although Kevin Ngila had other ideas. He set himself up with a beautiful 'up and under' kick, gave a chase, put pressure on Ngong's backline and instinctively dived for the ball in the try box, 23-0 and a Man of the Match performance by the flying fullback. The subsequent conversion was missed.
The win meant that South Coast Pirates leap frogged Kitale RFC one spot to 10th on the Championship log with a game in hand. The next focus is on the match against local rivals Mombasa RFC, the big Coastal Derby on Saturday March 6th 2019.
The first game played was the South Coast Buccaneers (Pirates Team 2) facing the Technical University of Mombasa in a Coastal Nationwide Semi Finals at an early kick off at 2pm. The gruesome coastal sun showed no mercy as our young boys slumped to a 0-32 defeat against a much stronger, dominant TUM side that will face Malindi RFC in the finals. On the positive side this was only the 7th game the boys have played all season and the squad was comprised of 12 players currently in school being trained in the South Coast Pirates Academy Programme and 5 recent school leavers including team captain Clifford Odhiambo, an indication that our future is very bright. It was the first game for several of these players.