The National, Monday April 20th, 2015
THE Enga Mioks came home strongly to beat defending champions Hela Wigmen 18-14 in the opening round of the Digicel Cup in Wabag yesterday.
It was Kevin Inagafa’s miracle try in the final minute that gave the home team and its fans a reason to smile after the match looked destined for a 14-14 draw, with neither side looking likely to break the deadlock with four minutes remaining.
The visitors started the match with a try to winger Paul Dickson to take an early 4-0 lead.
The best the home side could come up with was a penalty in the 20th minute, which five-eighth Solomo Pokari slotted for his side to trail 4-2.
Pokari then scored and converted his own try for the Mioks to be 8-4 in front, nine minutes later.
The Hela side, led by former Kumul and Agmark Gurias star Larsen Marabe, hit back in the 38th minute through No.6 Rodney Tenza to level the scores at 8-8 at half-time. In the second half, the Mioks outstanding halves combination of Pokari and Towari Kenake and Tiger Emere and Leon Cletus in the centres paid off with Inagafa dotting down for an unconverted try to reclaim the lead 12-8.
Marabe played a captain’s knock, fearlessly taking on the Mioks defence and leading the run metres for the visitors.
He was supported by strong efforts from Watson Repo, Allan Anton and Andrew Ipi in the pack. The pressure resulted in a try to Wigmen’s Jojo Brandi under the post as they got back in the lead 14-12.
The last five minutes of the match was a test of strength by both sides as they engaged series of sets where defences where tested to their limits.
It was fitting that the deadlock would be broken by a mistake — and an opportunistic piece of play — and Inagafa provided the match-winner.