Posted: Tuesday 7th August 2018 - 3:22 PM
Castleford Tigers U19s held off a gritty Newcastle Thunder side on Sunday afternoon, recording a 38-24 victory at a sun-kissed Kingston Park.
In what proved to be a tricky assignment in the North East, the Tigers took the spoils but they were made to really fight for the two points.
Even in the very early stages of the contest, Castleford were made aware of the threat that the hosts poised. Inside the opening fifteen minutes, Newcastle struck twice via Kieran Hudson and Mark McCallan, opening up a lead for the Tigers to chase.
An inability to complete sets had been the visitors’ initial problem, but the early deficit seemed to give the Tigers a kick-start and it wasn’t long before they got a score of their own on the board. Winger Alfie Goddard came up with it, benefitting from an intelligent, looping pass from Jake Sweeting.
Goddard then doubled up as the Tigers attacked from deep. Interplay between Reiss Butterworth and Tom Crosland carved up the Thunder defence, setting up their wide-man for a simple finish.
Newcastle bounced back with an Anthony Dyne try but the Tigers looked progressively more dangerous with the ball-in-hand as the break approached. The scores followed, with Lewis Carr and Jack Ray each snagging four points before the half-time hooter.
When the sides re-emerged, the momentum stayed with Castleford and bucket-load of tries looked to be on the cards. However, a couple of forward passes saw scoring chances chalked off and the Tigers had to make do with a solitary effort in the third quarter of the contest. Kian Morgan – in his first start at fullback for the Tigers – came up with it after bursting through a gap.
In the meantime, Thunder came into their own, sensing an opportunity. A pair of tries from Alex Clegg and Dan White put the Tigers in genuine danger with fifteen minutes remaining on the clock.
With just four points separating the sides, Castleford needed to muster a response and the catalyst seemed to be a colossal hit from James Beckett and Jacques O’Neill that left a Newcastle attacker in a heap.
From there, the Tigers re-gathered their confidence and marched into the final ten minutes with a spring in their step. O’Neill himself came up with a score moments later before Joe Summers planted the dagger after racing fifteen yards to the whitewash.
Full Time: Castleford Tigers U19 38-24 Newcastle Thunder U19
Castleford Tigers: Morgan, Goddard, Crosland, Render, Carr, Sweeting, Williams, Beckett, Jinks, Ray, Peachey, Hall, Dobson
Interchange: Summers, O’Neill, Fella, Butterworth
Tries: Goddard (2), Carr, Ray, Morgan, O’Neill, Summers
Conversions: Williams (5/7)
Newcastle Thunder:Clegg, Piert, White, Dyne, McCallan, Wilcox, Quinn, Nettleton, Gowing, Kitching, Hudson, Bielby, Charlton
Interchange: Jones, Walton, Burr, Robinson
Tries: Hudson, McCallan, Dyne, Clegg, White
Conversions: Quinn (2/5)
* Match Report by Ross Williams
** Photo courtesy of Melanie Allatt