I know….this report is a tad bit late. I am still recovering from having too much fun. I don’t think anything at the moment will top the past two weekends.
Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Edinburgh!!! What more can I say……IT ROCKED BIG TIME! The weather wasn’t brilliant, but better than Twickenham the previous weekend. It was at least warmer and it hardly rained.
If you weren’t there, I hope my account will help you see what you missed.
My bus to Glasgow was late, but surprising arrived at a decent time. I was in the hotel I was staying by eight in the morning, already waking people up to catch Kenya’s first game against Fiji. The train to Edinburgh from Glasgow was almost an hour long and the first Kenyan game was at 9.56 am. So, by the time we collected our pre-booked tickets, had our bags checked and looked for a suitable sitting area, let’s just say we didn’t make it to see Kenya lose to Fiji 31 – 0. Its like a ritual with Kenyans in the UK, only a handful of us will be there on time for the first game before a decent crowd turns up. The reception at Murrayfield was one I and many of us never experienced before. Maybe it was the fact it was the first time for a long time that the sevens tournament was held there….I just don’t know. All I can say is the atmosphere was way better than Twickenham. I just hope it stays like that for next year.
Kenya’s second game against Australia was Saturday’s biggest upset as we beat them 17 – 12. A repeat performance from last year at Twickenham or what? The crowd went wild and estatic. At this point, the whole stadium recognised who we were…….the Kenyan crowd at Murrayfield to support the Kenyan team bila jokes, not more than 500 rocked the stadium as if we were more than 2000. The whistles we had helped. Our voices, the singing and chanting were part of the deal too! We also helped in the cheering for Scotland’s games against Russia who they beat 19 – 5, Canada who they beat 31 – 5 and suprisingly South Africa who they beat 24 – 17 to see them in the Cup quater final against Argentina.
In Murrayfield, Kenya had to improve their performance from Twickeham and get the points they were after, as it was the last of the 2006/7 sevens circuit. With injuries affecting the team, hopes for them to do better at the final leg of the sevens tournament were on an all time low. To our surprise though, the team came out fighting and gave the best performance I have seen from them in a long time. Of course they could have done better, but under the injury and player unavailability circumstances they did well…..extremely well. By beating Australia again and Portugal 22 -7 in their final game of day one, Kenya put themselves in the Cup quater final against Samoa.
Day one fixtures and results can be seen here
Fast forward to the afterparty in Glasgow, which started out slow, but later picked up. In true Kenyan style, people started arriving at midnight and we only had the joint until 3ish. As usual, Dj Edu played a banging set, assisted by Dj Dubwise and Dj Sparks. I played as well, but one or two tracks. The night was off the hook. Everyone enjoyed themselves apart from one or two people as usual. Like this SA chic who complained that only one Kwaito song was played everytime Dj Edu played in Scotland and this time it was just the same thing. I swear, if it wasn’t for the wall and glass partition between her and Dj Edu………..! Anyway, from where I was standing there were no more incidents, just fully loaded night of MWENJOYOS! The organisers did a good job. Although the majority of the patrons were Kenyans, other nationalities were present and it made the night even more so successful. Also, there were no reports of any drunken fights or domestics.
I vowed that I wasn’t going to miss the first Kenya game again and since it was Sunday, public transport would be on the hour. So, got up early and headed to the station to catch the next train out to Edinburgh. Arrived with just enough time to spare before Kenya’s first game at 1.19 pm against Samoa. Kenya played well, with a few mistakes here and there. In the first half, Samoa was in the lead, but Kenya came back fighting and caught up. Their first try without a conversion proved costly and affected the final score as they lost to Samoa 12 – 14. This in turn secured their place in the semi-finals for the Plate. Scotland’s quarter final against Argentina provided a loss for the Scots with the Argetinians leading 22 – 10. This in turn meant we were meeting Scotland in the Plate semi-final. A difficult setting as we were both supporting each others teams as they played other teams and we were now playing each other. Again, Scotland was in the lead until the second half where Kenya came out fighting and narrowed the scores. In the dying minutes, Kenya score and converted a try to beat Scotland 19 – 17. Securing Kenya a place in the Plate final against Fiji. At this point, Kenya got a the loudest cheer from their supporters and in return the Scottish supporters acknowledged that the strength of the players was not only in the team, but in their fans.
The final against Fiji was of course going to be a tough one, but we weren’t going down without fighting. Kenya did their level best, but Fiji proved to be a tough nut to crack and by the second half we, the fans, were just hoping for a try at least. With Fiji leading 31 – 0 towards the final minutes of the game, a glimmer of hope was in the horizon with a try and conversion from Kenya to end the game at 31 – 7 and Fiji taking the Plate home. Win or lose, we were cheering for the Kenya team like our lives depended on it. They in return got standing ovations around Murrayfield as they did their lap of honour.
The final game of the tournament was between New Zealand and Samoa. It was a very intense game that would determine the winners of the 2006/7 sevens series in addition to them taking the Cup at Murrayfield. If Samoa beat New Zealand then Fiji would be crowned the winners, but that wasn’t to be as New Zealand emerged on top and beat Samoa 34 – 5 to take home the Cup and Series Winners crown at the end of the 2006/7 Emirates Sevens tournament. The event ended with New Zealand doing their famous haka.
Click here for Day Two full fixtures and results
In addition to all the sporting events, the organisers at Murrayfield had a team introduction ceremony like in the olympics, a Scottish band with bagpipes, fancy dress, Kenyas were on the pitch as well singing traditional songs, skydivers and a fireworks display as NZ was awarded their cup and crown.
Later we arranged a meet-up with the players in a Salsa club in Edinburgh which turned out well despite a few hiccups. Unfortunately, as we were staying in Glasgow and the last train was at 11.30 pm, our party was cut short and we had to say our goodbyes.
To sum it all up, the Kenya team did us fans proud.
Until next year……….