WITH the 2009 bemobile Cup minor premiership safely in the bag, NGIP Agmark Guria fielded an almost second string line-up against fourth placed Masta Mak Rangers in the final round of the competition in Port Moresby yesterday.
Coach Michael Marum rested five top line players in Chris Purkikil, Kot Kerowa, Rolly Matalau, Pidi Togap and Channel Aquila.
Rangers won 22-14, but did so by fielding their best pack of forwards led by captain Nixon Kolo and including Kumuls Leonard Otmar, Francis Ray and Simon Young.
In other matches of the bemobile Cup, SBS Muruks knocked off Bintangor Eagles 38-18 and Bintangor Lahanis dispatched a spirited ACTL Bombers in Lae’s double header, while Toyota Mioks crushed NCD Civpac Vipers 40-8 in Wabag.
In the Port Moresby match, the Rangers and Guria exchanged penalties in the opening 15 minutes to be 2-2 before Guria five-eighth Dion Aiye orchestrated a slick second-man play, which saw rookie winger Boaz Ruru sliding over in the right corner.
With the Rangers pack dictating terms in the middle of the ruck, Guria centre-cum-lock Larsen Marabe was outstanding, leading the hit-ups as well as working overtime in defence.
Rangers replied after a repeat set in Guria territory, which saw rugged backrower Johnson Kuike barging his way through to score from dummy half for a 6-6 score line.Handling errors were, as usual, high with a combination of poor ball security, stinging defence and hands in the ruck, which contributed to some frustrating moments.
Rangers’ rake Benjamin Tomben snuck through some lazy on-line defence to give his team a 12-6 buffer at the break.
Minutes into the resumption of play, Rangers lock Leonard Otmar made a mockery of Guria’s defence when he stepped through the backpedaling defenders to extend the lead 18-6.
In a clear case of mistaken identity, Tomben was sin-binned by referee Moses Tolingling for a late tackle on Guria fullback Ricky Sibiya despite him pleading his innocence.
Needing to take advantage of the disparity in numbers, Gurias scored through winger Chris Jerry in the 57th minute from an overlap.
At 18-10, the Rangers again exposed Guria’s soft dummy half defence, when centre Samson Ene punched through for what would be the decisive try.
With the scores at 22-10 and three-quarters of the game gone Gurias came close to crossing twice before Ruru scored a consolation try on the hooter.