Friendly Win For The Tigers
Posted: Sunday 20th January 2019 - 5:01 PM
Castleford’s 2019 pre-season campaign ended on Sunday in a fierce West Yorkshire derby that saw the Tigers come out 26-24 winners over Leeds Rhinos.
Five players got over for the Fords during the afternoon, with James Clare grabbing a brace of tries on the left edge.
Preseason or not, clashes between the Tigers and our big city rivals are always hard-hitting affairs, and the intensity of this one was evident from the opening few sets.
Some big drives from Castleford forced a penalty early on, allowing for the first touch of class from the black and amber. The ball went through the hands, eventually looping over to skipper Michael Shenton who battled his way over for the first try of the afternoon.
The Tigers went close again just moments later, as Jesse Sene-Lefao was held up just over the line, however it was the hosts who were next on the scoresheet. Off the back of two straight penalties, the Rhinos went to the right flank and, rather fittingly in his testimonial game, Kallum Watkins stretched over and planted the ball down.
There was anything but panic from the Tigers though as they quickly set to work regathering their lead. It was James Clare who came up with the score, rising highest to beat his opposing winger to a Jake Trueman kick that could have hardly been any more perfect. Despite nailing the first, new signing Jordan Rankin put his second conversion attempt just wide.
As we entered the second quarter, Castleford began to flex their muscles. Once again it was Trueman the architect as he spread the ball towards an ever-potent left edge. Pete Mata’utia was good in support, as was Shenton who smartly shipped it to Clare, running in for his brace.
As the half came to a close, the Tigers found themselves well on top, and there was time for one more before the break as Junior Moors dropped on a batted-down ball off the back of another excellent Trueman kick.
However, Leeds also came up with a score before the hooter sounded, with Adam Cuthbertson striking from range.
After the break, it was the Rhinos carrying the momentum and - inside the first five minutes - their dominance reaped its reward as Harry Newman gathered up a loose ball to score wide out.
Following the second half opener though, the Tigers rode the wave and were eventually able to get down the right end of the field. From there, Rankin showed some great quickness to open up a hole and Alex Foster benefitted with the four-pointer.
But, the hosts remained ever eager to keep in touch with the Tigers, so it came as little surprise when it was Leeds who struck next via Ash Handley.
With 20 minutes remaining in the derby and just four points separating the two sides, it was all very much to play for at Headingley.
Needless to say, the pendulum kept swinging, meaning it was the Tigers who notched the next points, extending their slender lead to eight. It was Paul McShane this time, who smartly took a chance and went himself down the blind side when Castleford were threatening inside Leeds’ red zone.
The lead was cut down once again five minutes later as Handley went in for his second. A change of kicker also benefitted Leeds, as Cameron Smith nailed one from the sideline to being the Rhinos within two.
With the game hanging in the balance, it was the hosts with the ascendency, but the Tigers resiliently hung on with some solid defensive work. The score line proved to be final, with Castleford running out winners at Headingley.
Full Time: Leeds Rhinos 24-26 Castleford Tigers
Mata’utia, Minikin, Foster, Shenton, Clare, Trueman, Rankin, Watts, McShane, Millington, Sene-Lefao, McMeeken, Massey
Milner, Moors, Cook, Clark, Aston, Turner, Clarkson
Tries: Shenton, Clare (2), Moors, Foster, McShane
Conversions: Rankin (1/6)
Walker, Newman, Watkins, Hurrell, Handley, Lolohea, Myler, Peteru, Parcell, Singleton, Ferres, Sutcliffe, Merrin
Cuthbertson, Ward, Dwyer, Oledzki, Jones-Buchanan, Smith, Donaldson
Tries: Watkins, Cuthbertson, Newman, Handley (2)
Conversions: Lolohea (1/4), Smith (1/1)
*Match report by Ross Williams
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