Young Tigers come back to beat the Bulls
Posted: Friday 14th July 2017 - 3:59 PM
Castleford’s U19s held off Bradford Bulls to record a 24-22 victory at the Provident Stadium – maintaining their second-place league position.
The Bulls had the better of proceedings in the first half, and went into the break 12-4 up. However, the young Tigers battled back in the second period, scoring four tries to overturn Bradford’s advantage.
The hosts gave Castleford a late scare in the final moments, with the game on a knife-edge, but the Tigers hung in there to secure the points.
The visitors actually got off to the best possible start at Odsal, scoring with their first possession. After earning a penalty, deep inside Bradford territory, Castleford spread the ball to the left edge in a move reminiscent of the senior team. Jake Trueman delivered the killer pass to winger Lewis Carr – who finished smartly in the corner.
However, the home side wasted no time in striking back. The Bulls were not seemingly in a scoring position, thanks to a decent defensive set from the Tigers, but the kick on the last took an absurd bounce, with the ball finding Ryan Leadbeater who was able to stroll in unchallenged. Alix Stephenson added the extras.
Soon after, it looked as if the Tigers were about to score a try identical to their first. But, on this occasion, the final ball from Trueman only found touch, as the Bradford defence firmed up.
Instead, it was the Bulls who scored the next try of the evening. An intercept from a loose Castleford pass set Bradford up in prime position, and Matthew Storton did the rest, crashing over from short range.
The final chance of the half fell to Pat Diskin. After some sloppy stuff from Bradford, the ball came up for grabs and the Tigers’ centre proceeded to kick and chase. An 80-metre foot race broke out, but the four-pointer just averted the chasers – meaning the two sides entered the sheds at 12-4.
The second half began with the two sides feeling each other out once more. After such an edgy opening period, few gaps had been exploited, so the action was incredibly similar.
It took a moment of individual brilliance to bring about the first score of the half, and it came courtesy of Trueman – who excelled on his first return to Odsal since signing from the Bulls. The half-back glided past two of his former teammates, before planting the ball down over the whitewash.
The Tigers were clearly enthused by this score, and quickly went in again. This time, Diskin became provider, latching onto a wayward high bomb before feeding Jake Sweeting for a four-pointer.
Nothing was seemingly stopping the young Tigers at this stage. They looked like a different side from the one that had gone into half-time eight points down.
Jacques O’Neill was the next to get over for Castleford, the hooker burrowing his way between two Bradford defenders to get over the line.
The game was far from over though, as the Bulls quickly hit back through Rowan Milnes to set up a tense finish.
With a further Bradford try looking likely, it was clear that the Tigers were going to have to score once more to secure the victory. Luckily, Robbie Storey had read the script, and his effort in the right corner in the final five minutes ultimately did the job.
Bulls’ Elliot Culling put the result into question on the hooter, as he went over for a try of his own. However, the angle was too tight for the conversion. Stephenson’s attempt went wide, confirming a two-point win for Castleford.
Final Score: Castleford 24-22 Bradford
Castleford Tigers: Sweeting, Carr, Storey, Diskin, Render, McLelland, Trueman, Dixon, Million, Ray, Summers, Johnson, Burns
Interchange: O’Neill, Kear, Morris, Waring
Castleford Tries: Carr, Trueman, Sweeting, O’Neill, Storey
Castleford Conversions: Sweeting (2/4), Trueman (0/1)
Bradford Bulls: Stephenson, Leadbeater, Rickett, Culling, Ryan Butterworth, Milnes, J. Wilson, O. Wilson, Reiss Butterworth, Hodgson, Storton, Vasnys, Moxon
Interchange: Foster, Scurr, Wilkinson, Gallagher
Bradford Tries: Leadbeater, Storton, Milnes, Culling
Bradford Conversions: Stephenson (3/4)
*Match Report by Ross Williams
*Photograph by Melanie Allatt