Timothy Simwa @timsimwa
Former national hockey boys champions St Anthony Boys Kitale started their regional campaign on a high after thrashing Nakuru county’s Utumishi 4-0 in their first match of Pool B as the Kenya Secondary School Sports Association Rift Valley Region kicked off at St Joseph’s Boys’ Kitale yesterday.
Under the tutelage of coach Kevin Kegan the saints proved a bigger force for the rookies to handle as they dominated the show throughout with Brian Ongeche grabbing a brace for the winners in both halves while Nicholas Muchiti and Oscar Kibet scored one each. In Group D, debutants Eldoret Township announced their arrival in style after overpowering Baringo County-based Kabimoi 2-0 with brilliant goals from William Kidare and Muchai Gitau.
In girls’ hockey, EMC Singore from Uasin Gishu stunned Kajiado’s Elerai 2-0 in their first match to secure their chances of qualifying to the next round in Pool B. Ursula Cherotich and Celestine Kurgat goals ensured Singore goes into the second match confident while Elerai faces a must-win encounter to revive their chances of qualifying to quarters.
Nandi County Tach Asis narrowly secured their first win after edging out Baringo’s Kituro 1-0 in a hotly-contested match in pool A thanks to Lydia Moraa’s solitary goal. In handball boys, Elgeyo Marakwet County Kitanyi smashed their West Pokot county neigbours Chewoyet 19-9 in a rather one sided showdown played at the St Anthony Boys Grounds.
Kisanana from Baringo cushioned Londiani from Kericho county 19-17 in another show down in Pool B. In other results St Francis from Nandi whitewashed Kibingei from Baringo 26-9 in girls’ handball.
Meanwhile St Michael Kipsombe from Uasin Gishu County has booked a berth at the rugby 15s quarter-finals despite registering mixed fortunes at the preliminaries in Group B yesterday. Menengai have also advanced as group leaders as they try to make their mark in the 15s category after defying odds last year t emerge national rugby sevens champions.
Kipsombe who are making their maiden appearance at the regionals outwitted Nanyuki 19-0 in their first match before stumbling in their ultimate test against Nakuru’s Menengai in which they lost 20-10.
The regional games enlisting schools from the 14 counties across the larger Rift Valley region will run until Saturday when the curtains are expected to come down with finals where the winners will advance to the national championships later in April to represent the region in hockey, rugby15s, handball and athletics.