The National, Monday, May 9, 2011
NEWCOMERS Gulf Isapeas gave a good account of themselves in their first match of the Digicel Cup in Port Moresby losing to the home side 24-14 yesterday.
The win for the Stop N Shop-sponsored team was built on the back of an aggressive but disciplined pack led by man-of-the match Zachary Simbai and busy lock forward Sebastian Pandia.
Vipers scored within the first five minutes of the match through Eki Ene for a 4-0 lead but Isapeas surprised the Vipers by equalising quickly through Makara Ura for a even score board.
Vipers sensing they could not afford to coast went into overdrive with Simbai, prop Bobby Mori and centre Kevin Frank scoring tries for a comfortable 18-4 lead at the break.
The Isapeas were by no means outclassed but handling errors and the newness of semi-professional football will take some getting used to.
However, the signs were good with a two-try effort by winger Ura catching the eye.
Isapeas got within a try of Vipers in the 50th minute with their third try to backrower Vali Kapa taking the scores to 18-14.
But former Guria three-quarter Frank hit back minutes later to give the Port Moresby franchise a 10-point buffer from which they used their experience and composure to close out the match.