By PARKER TAMBUA
HELA Wigmen shocked Port Moresby Vipers with a 20-14 win in the Digicel Cup elimination finals at the Oil Search National Football Stadium yesterday.
In the earlier match, Waghi Tumbe ended Rabaul Gurias’ season with an 18-8 win.
Defending premiers Wigmen will face Tumbe in Sunday’s minor semifinal while Lae Tigers will meet Mendi Muruks in the major semifinal.
The Wigmen and Vipers were levelled at 12-12 in the 55th minute but it was referee Manau Kema’s sin binning of Vipers forward Joel Kee that had a bearing on the game as the reigning champions took advantage on the next set and scored through Missach Wellen in the corner.
Allan Simbiri’s conversion made it 18-12 in favour of the Kroton-sponsored side. Twelve minutes from fulltime, Vipers’ Yunny Patrick kicked a penalty goal which made it a four-point ball game.
The Vipers had possession in the last 10 minutes but they couldn’t find a way through the Wigmen defence.
Five-eighth Simbiri kicked a penalty goal in the dying stages to seal the win. The Wigmen’s earlier tires were scored by Simbiri and fullback Sylvester Bulu.
Simbiri converted both tries which saw them lead 12-0 in the 11th minute.
The Vipers hit back with a double to centre Shalom Bire. Patrick only converted one of Bire’s try and kicked a penalty goal to level the scores at halftime.
The Moni Plus-sponsored Vipers did not score any tries in the second half.
Vipers coach Joe Sipa said his men had opportunities to get in front on the scoreboard but failed.
“We didn’t turn those opportunities into points and we made some silly errors that costs us the game,” Sipa said.
“But congratulations to Wigmen coach Charlie Wabo and his men for the win and good luck to them.
“We’ll come back stronger next year.”
Results: Sun, Aug 22 — Tumbe 18 Gurias 8, Vipers 14 Wigmen 20.
By PARKER TAMBUA