Tigers Tame Giants
Posted: Sunday 8th April 2018 - 4:59 PM
Castleford Tigers bounced back from their Easter Monday defeat to record a 40-28 victory over Huddersfield Giants on Sunday afternoon.
The Tigers blew the hosts away in the first half, scoring five tries, and – although Huddersfield had a resurgence in the second period – it proved to be enough to get the black and amber over the line.
It took just four minutes for the Tigers to hit the front at the John Smith’s Stadium. Huddersfield’s depleted squad looked outmatched physically and the visitors used that to their advantage from the get-go, picking up a couple of repeat sets. A Ben Roberts kick eventually split the Giants’ defence and Paul McShane was first to react, pouncing on the ball to record the first points of the contest.
In the absence of Luke Gale, Jamie Ellis took on the kicking duties and made short work of his first assignment.
The hosts responded with some pressure of their own shortly after, but the Tigers remained resilient in defence and quickly turned things around. On a dry track, Castleford looked strong offensively and youngster Jake Trueman showed his class just after the ten-minute mark, delivering a picture-perfect pass to the oncoming Greg Minikin, who strolled in.
As the first half drew on, indiscipline got the better of the Giants, and lead to them receiving a team warning from referee Ben Thaler.
The mass of penalties meant the Tigers got a stride on, giving them the opportunity to pick up their third try of the game. Alex Foster came up with it, touching down a smart McShane grubber from close range.
Huddersfield were reduced to twelve men for ten minutes as Jordan Turner saw yellow, providing even more opportunity for the Tigers to make the hosts pay. This time, it was Jake Webster who got in on the act, crashing over after Roberts laid the try on a plate for him.
Despite their best efforts, Castleford couldn’t keep the hosts scoreless in the first half, as Ukuma Ta’ai wrestled his way over with three minutes to play. However, the Tigers had the last laugh in the opening period as the returning Greg Eden got his name back on the score sheet. The winger simply glided past Jared Simpson, making it all look very simple indeed.
The visitors had to shift around some parts at the break, as Eden didn’t return to the field, and that perhaps put the Tigers out of rhythm in the early stages. Huddersfield capitalised and scored the first points of the half via Castleford-born prop Daniel Smith.
With both sides coming off the back of a busy Easter schedule, fatigue seemed to set in as the second period ticked along, but Huddersfield did appear to be slightly fresher. Hence, the first spark of a comeback burst into life with just over 20 minutes to go, as youngster Innes Senior dived in at the corner.
It seemed the Giants’ hopes were going to be short-lived, as errors cost them time and time again. Ellis knocked over a penalty to put the Tigers three scores ahead and that deficit was always going to be tough for Huddersfield to scrape back.
However, Thaler handed the home side a life-line with fifteen minutes to play, sending Adam Milner to the bin for apparent foul play. In the following moments, Senior used the overlap to go in for his second of the afternoon.
With just eight points now separating the two sides, things turned tense as we entered the final ten minutes.
It seemed like the nerves wouldn’t last too long as Foster chased down a kick and secured his brace, seemingly sealing the result for the Tigers.
The Giants didn’t want to go away through, and bounced back through Shannon Wakeman, instantly from the restart.
It took a sensational, last-ditch hit from Grant Millington to finally resign Huddersfield to defeat, before skipper Michael Shenton raced away to deliver the final blow, securing the all-important two points for the Tigers.
Full Time: Huddersfield Giants 28-40 Castleford Tigers
Trueman, Minikin, Webster, Shenton, Eden, Roberts, Ellis, Watts, McShane, Millington, Holmes, Wardle, Foster
Moors, McMeeken, Milner, Springer
Tries: McShane, Minikin, Foster (2), Webster, Eden, Shenton
Conversions: Ellis (5/7)
Penalty: Ellis (1/1)
Simpson, L. Senior, Turner, Murphy, I. Senior, Gaskell, Rankin, Ikahihifo, O’Brien, Ta’ai, Ferguson, Lawrence, Smith
Clough, Wakeman, Roberts, English
Tries: Ta’ai, Smith, I. Senior (2), Wakeman
Conversions: Rankin (4/5)
*Match Report by Ross Williams