The Hela Wigmen have kept their title defence hopes alive following a tight 20 – 14 win over the Port Moresby Vipers in Sunday’s Elimination Final at the National Football Stadium.
The Wigmen will now meet the Waghi Tumbe in next weekend’s Minor Semi Final after the Tumbe defeated the Rabual Gurias 18 – 8 in the earlier Elimination Final.
Recording their ninth-straight win, the Tumbe put on a dominate performance against the Gurias scoring early through through winger Robert Koronos to setup a 6 – 0 lead. The Gurias hit back through Elias Stanley to make the score 6 – 4, but that was the closest the New Britain based franchise would get to the Waghi side.
Valentine Wamdi was next to cross for the Tumbe to give the side a 12 – 4 lead at halftime, with Bobby Joel scoring the match winner shortly after the break to extend the lead to 14 points.
Nathan Tent scored a consolation try for the Gurias, however it was too late as the side crashed out of the Digicel Cup Finals series.
In the second match of the Finals Double Header in Port Moresby, the Wigmen surprised the inform Vipers with two quick tries to kick off the match through Allan Simbiri and fullback Sylvester Bulu to setup a 12 – 0 in just the 11th minute.
The Vipers hit back through a double through Shalom Bire to claw back to within two points of the defending Premiers. The Vipers equaled just before halftime thanks to a penalty, which was converted by Yunny Patrick.
In the second half, nothing could seperate the two teams until Joel Kee was sin binned in the 55th minute. Hela took advantage of the one man overlap, scoring in the next set through Missach Wellen in the corner to establish a four-point lead before five-eighth Simbiri converted a penalty minutes later to make it 18 – 12.
The Vipers reduced the deficit to four with when Patrick converted a penalty with twelve minutes to go, but that was a close as the Vipers would get in the second half.
The Wigmen and Waghi will now play-off in the Digicel Cup Minor Semi Final next weekend with the winner to play the runners-up from the Lae Tigers v Mendi Muruks match.
Waghi Tumbe 18 (Tries: Robert Koronos, Valentine Wamdi, Bobby Joel Goals: David Joseph 3) defeated Rabual Gurias 8 (Tries: Elias Stanley, Nathan Tent)
Hela Wigmen 20 (Tries: Allan Simbiri, Sylvester Bulu, Missach Wellen; Goals: Sylvester Bulu 2, Allan Simbiri 2) defeated Port Moresby Vipers 14 (Tries: Shalom Bire 2, Goals: Yunny Patrick 3)