St. Mary’s Yala is a powerhouse in Kenyan rugby. They have won the national title four times in a row, and they are not slowing down anytime soon. They have a talented and disciplined squad, led by their captain and fly-half Brian Omondi, who is also the top scorer in the region with 72 points. Omondi is a wizard with the ball, he can kick, pass, run and tackle like no other. He is the heart and soul of the team, and he inspires his teammates to give their best on the field.
In the Nyanza Region tournament, St. Mary’s Yala faced some tough opponents, but they overcame them all with skill and determination. They beat Nyabondo 29-0, Maseno School 24-7, Kisumu Day 19-5 and Ambira 26-0 in the group stage, then thrashed Rapogi 36-0 in the quarter-finals and Kanga 22-0 in the semi-finals. In the final, they met their arch-rivals Maseno School again, who had also won all their matches until then.
The final was a nail-biter, as both teams played with intensity and passion. Maseno School scored first with a try by their winger Collins Ochieng, but St. Mary’s Yala replied with two tries by Omondi and centre Victor Ochieng. Maseno School reduced the gap with a penalty by their fly-half Kevin Omondi, but St. Mary’s Yala extended their lead with another try by Victor Ochieng. Maseno School fought back with a try by their prop Moses Ochieng, but St. Mary’s Yala sealed the victory with a try by their hooker Collins Oduor. The final score was 24-15 in favour of St. Mary’s Yala, who lifted the trophy for the second consecutive year.
St. Mary’s Yala coach John Ochieng was ecstatic after the match. He praised his players for their hard work and dedication, and said that they were ready to defend their national title in August. He also thanked their fans for their support and encouragement throughout the tournament. He said that St. Mary’s Yala was more than a team, it was a family.
I was lucky enough to witness this epic final live at the Kisumu Polytechnic grounds. I was cheering for St. Mary’s Yala all the way, as they are my favourite team in Kenya. I have been following them since I was a kid, when my uncle took me to watch them play for the first time. I was hooked ever since, and I have never missed a match of theirs. I even have a jersey with Omondi’s name and number on it.
I have to say that St. Mary’s Yala is not only a great team, but also a great example of what rugby is all about: teamwork, respect, discipline, courage and fun. They play with a smile on their faces, they respect their opponents and referees, they work hard on and off the field, they face challenges with bravery and they enjoy every moment of the game. They are true champions in my eyes.