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Who thought once mighty Patch could sink so low?

After several attempts to save two-time Prescott Cup champions Nairobi School from relegation, the axe finally fell as they went down 10-27 to Laiser Hill during the play-offs.

Patch was among the elite teams in the tournament, alongside Lenana, Saint Mary’s (Saints), Strathmore, Rift Valley Academy and Mang’u. It’s the first team from the elite group to be relegated.

Over the years these teams arrogantly thumped their chests because of the lengthy period they’ve played in the Prescott and won titles. Patch’s relegation has a number of harsh lessons.

Lesson one: The term elite teams is dead and buried. It’s either players shape up or ship out. Prescott Cup status will be determined by performance and not in the boardroom.

Teams equal

Old timers must prove they are better than the newcomers, if not, no unfair considerations will be made.

Patch made their bed and must lie on it. They failed to honour four Prescott Cup matches including the most important – the relegation play-off between them and Saints.

Lesson two: When someone hands you a lifeline, grab it. Initially, the relegation play-off was slated for last July on the same day as the final.

The bottom teams Patch and Saints were to the play. However, the match was postponed several times. In February, a date was set but Patch gave away a walkover.

Kenya Rugby Union still gave Patch a chance to play the lower tier Damu Pevu winners, Laiser Hill.

Either Patch didn’t take time to prepare for the game, or their talent has run dry, as the once mighty team fell to Laiser Hill.

Cold shoulder

Lesson three: Beg your school administration to take sports seriously. Patch’s predicament is largely a consequence of growing laxity towards rugby that saw them give away walkovers to almost all opposition in Pool B during last year’s Prescott Cup.

Saints, Strathmore and Lenana went through the same problem but managed to scrape enough wins to keep them in the tournament.

Rather than take a back seat, administrations need to ponder about the priceless history they risk throwing down the drainage. The onus is on the students, past and present, to convince their schools to support rugby or suffer the same fate as Patch.

Rugby has changed and all teams need to embrace the new order, lest they throw away a rich history of generations stretching almost 50 years back.