Tigers Tame The Wolves
Posted: Friday 8th June 2018 - 10:24 PM
Castleford Tigers defied all the odds on Friday evening, defeating Warrington Wolves 34-30 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, despite being forced to field a side littered with youngsters and debutants.
In a remarkable display of bravery and grit, the black and amber threw everything at the Wolves and came off best, with Calum Turner, Adam Milner and Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e especially impressive.
Fielding such a depleted side, you could argue that the pressure was somewhat off the Tigers in the early going, and Castleford began playing with that in mind. Remarkably, the black and amber came up with the first score of the game, from the unlikeliest of sources.
Mike McMeeken is no stranger to the line, but the back-rower creating the try all by himself with a kick from acting half stunned just about everyone in the ground. The Wolves simply watched as the England international followed up his grubber.
The bookmakers hadn’t given Castleford a chance of scoring the first, so the formbook was well and truly out of the window when the Tigers grabbed the second too. Turner - in his very first start for his hometown club – came up with the points, dropping on the ball after a Jake Trueman kick struck the crossbar and bounced back into danger.
Inevitably, things levelled themselves out somewhat as the first half drew on, as Warrington picked up some momentum.
First, Tyrone Roberts went over in the corner after the Tigers failed to deal with a hanging kick. Then, a few sets later, Stefan Ratchford found his way to the line as the Wire executed a move on their left edge.
The Tigers remained in the lead after these quick-fire scores, as Harvey Livett faltered with the boot. However, Castleford’s advantage only lasted a few more moments as a familiar name came back to haunt them in the shape of Daryl Clark, who burrowed his way over from the shortest possible range.
Far from overwhelmed by the opposition, the black and amber continued to come at Warrington and - even though Sitaleki Akauola grabbed a further try shortly after – they were not deterred.
Just before the break, the Tigers put on their best move of the game so far, putting the ball through the hands, all the way to Jy Hitchcox who went over next to the corner flag. Turner slotted over the extras, before also adding a late penalty to send the Tigers in half time level.
The Tigers’ task in the second half was always going to be tough – and it was made that bit harder a few minutes after the restart as Adam Milner was shown a yellow card for a late hit.
Castleford remained resilient during the stint, but a Warrington try was almost inevitable with the man advantage. Josh Charnley came up with it, somehow getting the ball down in the corner despite the attention of a number of defenders.
The odds were firmly stacked against the visitors, as they had been well before the game had even kicked off. But still, Castleford refused to go away.
With just over quarter of an hour to play, three sides of the Halliwell Jones Stadium were silenced as Jesse Sene-Lefao kept the ball alive and fed it to Laulu-Togaga’e, who slid over in front of the jubilant away end.
All of a sudden, there was a realisation that – incredibly – the win was actually very much on. Castleford had their tails up, the travelling faithful were in full voice and the atmosphere was cranked up a notch.
Therefore, the noise that was released when Oliver Holmes went over just a few moments was nothing short of outstanding.
There was a long time to go though and, with just two points now separating the sides, it really could have gone either way.
With five minutes remaining, the game came up with one of the strangest sights of the season as Milner slotted over a penalty to widen the gap to four.
From there, it was simply a matter of holding on in the final moments, which the Tigers did in tremendous fashion, holding on to one of the finest Castleford wins in recent memory.
Full Time: Castleford Tigers 34-30 Warrington Wolves
Turner, Minikin, Foster, Shenton, Hitchcox, Laulu-Togaga’e, Trueman, Millington, Milner, Cook, Wardle, McMeeken, Sene-Lefao
Holmes, Massey, Clark, Maher
Tries: McMeeken, Turner, Hitchcox, Laulu-Togage’e, Holmes
Conversions: Turner (5/5)
Penalties: Turner (1/1), Milner (1/1)
Ratchford, Lineham, Goodwin, Atkins, Charnley, Brown, Roberts, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Livett, Hughes, Westwood
Murdoch-Masila, Patton, Philbin, Akauola
Tries: Roberts, Ratchford, Clark, Akauola, Charnley (2)
Conversions: Livett (2/5), Goodwin (1/1)
*Match Report by Ross Williams
*Photo Courtesy of Melanie Allatt