BY ADRIAN MWANZA –
DEFENDING champions Kitwe Playing Fields (KPF) remained on course to retain their title after reaching the quarter finals of the 2017 David Abel Ray Phiri (DARP) Rugby Challenge in Lusaka.
KPF, who are also leading the National Rugby League, were joined in the quarterfinals of the main cup, known as Owen Busange, by ‘Men At Work’ Diggers in a competition that saw three clubs fail to make the trip due to financial constraints.
The organisers had to reshuffle the tournament to a round robin system after Roan, Ndola and Chibuluma failed to compete in the tournament that comes to an end today with the winners pocketing K12, 500.
KPF started their campaign with a 31-12 win of Green Eagles, who drew first blood through Thadious Chipoya, who placed a try after he outpaced a horde of KPF players as Emmanuel Mawele made the conversion to take a 7-0 lead.
The Kitwe side responded with a try from Peter Mutanuka but George Mwamba missed the conversion but Mutanuka scored another try and this time Kelvin Seposa managed to convert.
Eagles responded with another try by Chipoya but KPF proved too strong as they scored a try by Kennedy Lukama which was converted by Seposa and Moses Chundo added another try which was converted by William Mukuka to seal the deal for KPF.
KPF followed that win with a 29-14 victory over Mufulira to earn a slot in the last eight.
Diggers also powered through to the Owen Busange quarters after winning their first two games with one against hosts ‘Powerhouse’ Lusaka.
Elisha Bwalya gave Diggers the hard fought win after he made a solo run from the left flank and outpaced his opponents and slot the ball home.
Diggers then stunned pre tournament favourites Red Arrows, who are chasing their fifth cup competitions title, winning 12-5 thanks to a try by Kabwela Mulenga and was converted by Mike Mwanza before Elisha Bwalya added another try while Brian Mbalwe scored a try for the airmen.
Other selected matches saw Air Force Rugby defeat Nkwazi 33-19 as Mufulira defeated Lusaka B 12-7, Red Arrows beat Prop Legends 49-10 while Green Eagles beat Lusaka B 17-15.