The National – Tuesday, June 28, 2011
By ZACHERY PER
KONGO Coffee Simbu Warriors defeated Wantok Gaming System Eagles 10-4 in a mud bath under drizzling rain on Sunday in the Digicel Cup round eight clash.
The wet and muddy conditions prevented an open game with players struggling to find their footing and hold on to passes.
The surface of Dixon field resembled a mud flat with occasional spots of green making play a chore for players and gave spectators a hard task at times when trying to make out who home players were and who the visitors were.
However, it was Warriors who made the best of the atrocious conditions in front of the home crowd to secure the two points.
Eagles hard-running back Ham Tee was the first to put points on the score board when Warriors were penalised in front of their goal posts.
Tee easily slotted the goal for 2-0 lead.
Warriors being familiar with the slippery conditions of Dixon field, had five-eighth Francis Paniu pin Eagles in their own half with well-placed raking punts and applied pressure until they were rewarded with a penalty.
Halfback Mai Tom easily levelled at 2-2.
Eagles played a tighter game to keep things on an even keel through strong performances by David Rombuk, Jason Tali, Willie Guambo and Lapua David.
Warriors centre Sonny Daing, who was in great form despite the muddy track, stepped past several Eagles defenders after running off a Tom off-load to score.
Tom made no mistake with the conversion for an 8-2 lead.
The two neighbouring highlands provinces fought a pitched battle into the remainder of the half with Warriors holding on to the six-point lead when the referee called a halt to play.
The second half started with an Eagles penalty when Warriors were penalised for a high tackle.
Tee stepped up to close the gap to four at 8-4.
Warriors led by veteran hardman Paulus Mondo, skipper Sigfred Gande and hooker Andrew Baine managed to keep Eagles out after three close calls.
Warriors were the last to score through a penalty goal by fullback Joel Ambrose that extended Warriors to lead 10-4 into the full time.
Ambrose picked up the man-of-the-match award.