Three in a row for the Tigers
Posted: Sunday 11th March 2018 - 6:13 PM
Castleford made it three Super League wins on the bounce on Sunday afternoon, defeating Salford Red Devils 22-8 at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
The hosts failed to get over the whitewash in the second half, but the damage had been done early, with Michael Shenton, James Clare and Luke Gale all scoring tries.
The Tigers certainly started the brighter of the two sides, and quickly set about pinning Salford on their own line.
Off the back of a couple of repeat sets, the pressure told and captain Shenton went in for the opening score of the afternoon, benefitting from a cleverly-produced overlap on the left flank. Gale slotted over the touchline conversion with typical ease.
The Red Devils tried to settle into the game in the aftermath of the opener, but the hosts, looking fresh and full of new ideas after a fortnight off the field, simply didn’t allow it.
Some excellent off-the-cuff attacking play followed from the buoyant Tigers, and before long, the second try was scored.
Deep in Salford’s red zone, the ball fell to Paul McShane who, rather than panicking, simply nudged a cute grubber into the in-goal. Jake Bibby couldn’t deal with the loose ball, allowing Clare to dive on it for the first Super League try of his second stint with Castleford.
The Tigers were in full control, heading into the midway stage of the first half. However, things were levelled somewhat when Oliver Holmes was sin-binned for a nasty-looking spear tackle.
The man-advantage didn’t affect Castleford too much though, as they added more points during the ten-minute period, via a Gale penalty from underneath the posts.
Salford hadn’t looked up to much in the opening period, but that shouldn’t take anything away from Castleford’s performance – which absolutely showed shades of the champagne stuff the Tigers were renowned for in 2017.
With a few minutes left to play in the half, the Mend-A-Hose Jungle were treated to another example of this, as Gale collected his own kick after a crazy ricochet and touched down in front of the jubilant Wheldon Road End.
That wrapped up the scoring for the opening 40. The Tigers went into the sheds happy, after a dominant display.
After the two coaches had their say at the break, things were a little more even when the sides re-emerged. Salford knew they had to score next to make anything of the game, so they started throwing everything at the Tigers’ line.
Eventually, the pressure turned into points, as Junior Sa’u capitalised on a gap to go through unchallenged. Robert Lui couldn’t turn the four into six though, as he shanked the conversion wide.
If the visitors had kicked on from that try, the game overall would have been more of a contest. However, the Red Devils failed to grasp much more momentum.
There was drama with 20 minutes to play as both Logan Tomkins and Grant Millington were sent to the sin bin following an altercation. The Tigers’ prop dumped Tomkins on his head, but only after receiving a penalty from the former Wigan man. Gale made short work of the extra two points, putting the hosts ahead 22-4.
Things remained scoreless during the period with 24 players on the field, but Salford perhaps looked the more likely to strike. Nevertheless, the Tigers’ defence stood firm and kept Ian Watson’s side at bay.
With the clock ticking it down, it was more a case of the Tigers just coasting towards the final whistle. In truth, Salford hadn’t offered nearly enough to be warranted a genuine threat.
The Red Devils did manage a late consolation in the corner via Jake Bibby, but the result was already beyond any doubt.
It marks the Tigers’ third victory from four, putting them in good stead for the upcoming visit of Wigan Warriors next Sunday.
Full Time: Castleford Tigers 22-8 Salford Red Devils
Roberts, Minikin, Webster, Shenton, Clare, Ellis, Gale, Massey, McShane, Millington, Holmes, McMeeken, Foster
Milner, Cook, Sene-Lefao, Green
Tries: Shenton, Clare, Gale
Conversions: Gale (3/3)
Penalties: Gale (2/2)
Salford Red Devils
Evalds, Bibby, Welham, Sa’u, Johnson, Lui, Littlejohn, Griffin, Wood, Burgess, Jones, Hauraki, McCarthy
Tomkins, Tasi, Nakubuwai, Flanagan
Tries: Sa’u, Bibby
Conversions: Lui (0/1), Littlejohn (0/1)
Man of the Match: Paul McShane
Golden Gamble: 02103
*Match report by Ross Williams
*Photo courtesy of Craig Milner