Befitting end to the season as NCPB, Ulinzi clash
The Brian Mathew-led National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), out to end the league unbeaten faced a tough test in a highly charged Ulinzi, who, despite missing keg players, fought to the last drop
The Kenya Handball Federation (KHF) men's league concluded on Sunday 26 March with a perfect match, a 30-30 draw between back-to-back champions NCPB and Ulinzi HC.
The Brian Mathew-led National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), out to end the league unbeaten faced a tough test in a highly charged Ulinzi, who, despite missing keg players, fought to the last whistle for the draw.
A sizeable fan base had showed up to witness the match played at Nyayo Handball Court, and the fans added to the game's flair as banter was the order of day event before the match threw off.
Both sides traded attacks early on in the march but the millers pulled away after about 15 minutes of play to end the see-saw and claim a commanding 16-10 lead going into the half-time break.
Coach Nixon Oyaro who had plenty of help from his technical bench, however, kept urging his charges on in the second half even when all hope seemed to be lost.
Within the first ten minutes of the second half, NCPB had build a seven-goal advantage and their fans seemed to believe they had the win as Ulinzi struggled to penetrate for goals.
Oyaro's charges, however, snapped out of the slump and went on a five scoring spree that brought them to within two goals of equalling the score at 22-20 and all bets were off now.
The millers kept pulling away but Ulinzi kept the faith and fought on to equal the score at 28 goals and hang on for what was their second draw of the season, having played for stalemate in their previous encounter with Strathmore.
As for the millers, while it was not the result they had anticipated, having not lost a point to Ulinzi in the league for more than a decade, they celebrated the draw as it had helped them maintain a clean slate of winning the title unbeaten.
Assistant coach Danstun Eshikumo says the squad is happy to have clinched yet another title and doing it unbeaten was the icing on the cake.
"All we wanted was an unbeaten run and we have achieved that. It was a good show. The pressure was not on us and I am glad we steeped up and got this result. We had the chances that would have won us the game but that does not matter now. We will build from this ahead of the next season," offered the tactician.
Meanwhile, Strathmore University managed to defeat rivals Black Mamba in a 22-17 outcome to move fourth on the rankings on 29 points, one below third-placed General Service Unit (GSU).
Mamba finish fifth with Kenyatta University sealing the top six Super Cup places on 24 points with a better goal difference than Thika Engineers who finished seventh on similar points.