Isapea edge Vipers

The National,Monday July 4th, 2016

GULF Isapea put in a solid defensive effort to hold out the Port Moresby Vipers 12-6 in round 12 of Digicel Cup at the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium yesterday.
The Petroleum Resources Kutubu-sponsored Gulf franchise and Stop N Shop-backed Vipers’ worst enemy the high error count that stifled enterprising play and limted attacking opportunities.
However it was the Gulf men who held their nerve and were able to win and create some distance between them and the bottom of the ladder.
Isapea captain Bernard Goma  was a pillar for his side taking on the bigger Vipers pack for a battel of the middle third.
The crocodiles led 6-0 at half time with a centre try to prop Bradley Yano set up by five-eighth Solomon Pokari who converted it.
The Vipers had the two great opportunities but lock Patrick Morea held on to the ball to leaving Varage Wari Jr after beating the defence.
In the second half both sides tried hard to build pressure but their ball handling continued to let them down.
But the Isapea managed to run one smooth set in Vipers territory which saw halkfback Sam Pirika and Pokari link up with centre Jackins Mark for speedy Johnny Horope to dive over in the corner.
Five-eighth Pokari converted to put his team ahead 12-0.
The Vipers got on the board when Mark lost the ball in a threeman tackle and from the ensuing scrum the city side put it through the hands and fullback Brendon Gotuno broke through the cover defence to  score with Quinton Ragi converting for his side to trail by  six at 12-6.
The crocs had the faster backline but they couldn’t click leaving fans at the stadium frustrated.
The Vipers with their larger pack ran out of steam and could not lift to put the Isapea under pressure. The Isapea with veteran Rodney Pora, a former Kumul and Digicel Cup winner with the Gurias, played 13 minutes.
The Western Highlander’s presence was a rallying point for the Gulf side even though Pora had not played in 14 months. Former PNG international volleyball representative Tau Muri at fullback was a impressive in his first game at this level.
Isapea 12 (Bradley Yano, John Horope tries; Solomon Pokari 2 con) Vipers 6 (Brendon Gotuno try, Quinton Ragi con.
Results: Rd 12 – Sun, July 3: Lahanis 16 Muruks 30, Mioks 12 Gurias 8, Wigmen 14 Lions 14, Eagles 16 Tumbe 4.
Standings: Lae Tigers 21, Hagen Eagles 19, Enga Mioks 17, Agmark Gurias 16, Waghi Tumbe 13, Mendi Muruks 12,Hela Wigmen 12, Gulf Isapea 11, Port Moresby Vipers 9, Simbu Lions 8, Goroka Lahanis 6.