Tigers Down The Robins
Posted: Friday 1st March 2019 - 9:44 PM
Castleford Tigers maintained their position atop the Betfred Super League and claimed the Roger Millward Trophy on Friday night, defeating Hull Kingston Rovers 32-16 in a fierce contest at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
In a brutal clash that saw four yellow cards shown, the Tigers proved to be the classier of the two sides, running in six tries to dispatch of the Robins.
There was a frantic pace to the early exchanges as the two sides battled to gain an early foothold in the contest. Completions rates were low across the board though, with handling errors galore inside the opening ten minutes. Pete Mata’utia created the best half-chance early on, scampering 40 yards from inside his own ten-metre, but more sloppiness in the next tackle from the Tigers meant his effort counted for nothing.
With mistakes mounting, it was only a matter of time before Castleford were punished. It was towering prop Mose Masoe who did the honours, rumbling over from short range to open the scoring. Ryan Shaw made short work of the extras.
The Rovers weren’t alone on the scoreboard for long, however. Perking up after their slow start, the Tigers almost immediately hit back as they marched up the field. Rather summing up the first quarter, Castleford’s opener came from a wild ricocheted ball that somehow found its way into the arms of Jordan Rankin. After a juggle, the Aussie half-back managed to reach over the line and grab his first try on home soil.
The try seemed to provide the Tigers with a bit of much-needed rhythm, and the hosts used it to their advantage, going back-to-back in order to take the lead for the first time. This one was as simple as you like. A smart ball out from dummy half and a rampaging Liam Watts on the crash did the business – the second Watts try in as many weeks.
The prop forward has been in sparkling form in the first month of the campaign, and he proved to be a real handful yet again, playing the team he once called his bitter rivals.
With the two sides going hammer-and-tong at each other in defence, points were seeming hard to come by, but the class of the Tigers shone through just before the break as they snagged one more first half try.
It was really slick hands from Castleford as they shifted the ball to the left. The final delivery came from skipper Michael Shenton, who fed Greg Eden for yet another try in black and amber.
Things were always going to be tough for the visitors in the second period, with injuries sustained in the opening 40 leaving Tim Sheens with no choice but to drastically re-align his players.
Plus, the Tigers were in no mood for mercy. Within five minutes of Castleford leaving the sheds, the lead was extended. A smart offload from Mata’utia sprung the overlap and James Clare did fantastically to finish off the four-pointer, planting the ball on the postage stamp of grass available to him.
To their credit though, the Robins weren’t going away. Before the score line could get too far away from them, Hull KR bounced back and it was Masoe once again who did the damage, using his sheer size and strength from a few yards out.
For a few moments, with the two packs really going at each other, the game was there for the taking.
However, the Tigers soon put an end to any resistance.
Eden scored his second of the evening after collecting a pinpoint Jake Trueman kick to the corner. Then, arguably the try of the match was scored by Chris Clarkson. In just his second start for the club, the back-rower put on the afterburners from 30 yards out and just kept on rolling, despite the attention of a host of Rovers defenders.
The result was all but sealed ten minutes before the end, but the drama wasn’t quite over. Referee Gareth Hewer had a busy end to his night, brandishing two yellow cards after Grant Millington and James Greenwood squared off and traded punches like a pair of champion heavyweights in the middle of the park.
Then, he remarkably had to dish out two more in the final moments, as Weller Hauraki and then Danny McGuire were given their marching orders, to the delight of the home faithful that the half-back once terrorised in Leeds colours.
With just ten players on the field, Hull KR somehow managed to score as the clock ticked down, but Chris Atkin’s effort had little effect on the overall result as the Tigers held onto a comfortable victory, remaining top of the Super League pile.
Full Time: Castleford Tigers 32-16 Hull Kingston Rovers
Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, Rankin, Watts, McShane, Millington, Sene-Lefao, Clarkson, Massey
Moors, Cook, Egodo, O’Neill
Tries: Rankin, Watts, Eden (2), Clare, Clarkson
Conversions: McShane (1/3), Rankin (3/3)
Hull Kingston Rovers
Dagger, Shaw, Keinhorst, Vaivai, Hall, McGuire, Drinkwater, Jewitt, Lee, Masoe, Linnett, Addy, Hauraki
Mulhern, Greenwood, Atkin, Lannon
Tries: Masoe (2), Atkin
Conversions: Shaw (2/3)
Man of the Match: Pete Mata’utia
Golden Gamble: 00020
*Match report by Ross Williams
**Photography by Melanie Allatt