Ashes hold Marlins to Draw

Rabaul Ashes forced favorites Kokopo Marlins to a 16 all draw at full time in Game-2 of the Agmark Battle of Towns Series played at the revamped Queen Elizabeth Park in Rabaul yesterday, 28 January.

Ashes shot-off to a 6-4 lead at halftime before Kokopo fought their way back into the contest.  

The series, tagged as the ‘Clash of Towns’, was initiated to showcase the best and raw rugby league talent from Kokopo and Rabaul.

Game-2 kicked off at a blistering pace with a lot of big hits from both sides. Ashes, despite having the home ground advantage and a series to save, shot themselves in the foot early with alot of turnovers from poor handling errors, but at times earned a number of dubious penalties to help their course.

The young Kokopo outfit led by inspirational skipper Elias Selu, looked the better side from the opening exchanges and drew first blood when Selu scored in the 20th minute to take lead 4-0. Shortly after, Ashes replied with a 4 pointer to Brian Jolam in the 30th minute to draw 4-all. 

A successful penalty kick by thge Ashes made the difference at halftime, 6-4.

The fiery showdown continued into the 2nd stanza with both teams showing a lot of resolve in their defense, holding their line well.

Marlins got their mojo working again this time, scoring in back-to-back fashion through Brendan Mota in the 43rd minute and Guria No.9 Nathan Tente in the 61st minute to extend the lead 16-4. 

With 10 minutes remaining, match referee Elliot Wama got Rabaul back into the contest with a couple of controversial calls that did not go down well with the Kokopo team.

Former Guria Elipas Pidik was on-song with the boot, kicking two penalties. A Junias Guan try ended the match at 16 all.

From the series statistics after Game 2, Kokopo won 1 and drew 1, while Rabaul lost 1 and drew 1.

The Clash of Town series returns to Kokopo next Saturday for the decider at the Kalabond Oval.

Loop Sports