Tigers go top of Super League
Posted: Thursday 27th February 2020 - 9:36 PM
Castleford went top of the Betfred Super League with a 28-8 win over Hull KR.
The Tigers were far from their best for long periods of the clash at the Hull College Craven Park but a decisive third quarter was enough to give Daryl Powell the 300th win of his professional coaching career and see the Tigers retain the Roger Millward Trophy.
Cas travelled east along the M62 in confident mood following three wins from their opening four matches and they welcomed back Adam Milner to the side after a two-week lay-off through injury, whilst Mike McMeeken came into the starting line-up as Cheyse Blair switched to the bench.
However, it was a lacklustre opening 40 minutes from the Tigers as they struggled to get a foothold in the game. Ben Crooks got the first try of the evening for the hosts in the sixth minute as he climbed highest to gather a kick to the corner, Ryan Brierley converting, and Rovers continued to have all the field position early on with Cas doing well to withstand multiple repeat sets.
At the other end, the Fords struggled to sustain any real pressure in attacking positions despite churning out the metres with ball in hand. McMeeken had the best opportunities for his side but knocked on whilst reaching for the line as he attempted to finish a great break from Michael Shenton in the 25th minute before then being held up following another charge shortly afterwards.
The Tigers’ best passages of play came when targeting the ruck area with Jordan Rankin and Jake Trueman both making searing breaks through the middle of the pitch when they kept things direct. Paul McShane then did the same for the Tigers’ first try of the night, finding space behind the play-the-ball before linking up with Danny Richardson and the half back kept his cool to step around the full back and send Shenton over in the left corner.
Richardson converted from out wide to level the scores and Cas should have taken the lead on the stroke of half-time as Peter Mata’utia again broke through in midfield only to see Rankin knock on from his pass. It summed up the first 40 for the Tigers and to compound matters, KR countered quickly to set up the field position for Brierley to knock over a penalty with the final action of the half to give Rovers a 8-6 lead at the break.
With the words of head coach Powell ringing in their ears, the Fords made a much better start after the interval, some neat hands down the left giving James Clare the chance to take the attack into the KR 20-metre zone. Trueman then kicked low on the last and a block on Grant Millington gave Cas a penalty which Richardson slotted over to tie things up once again.
It proved to be a key passage in the game as Brierley was sin binned for the professional foul on Millington and the Tigers took full advantage of their extra man for the next 10 minutes. Derrell Olpherts started a good spell for the Fords with a fast break up the right wing and from there his side maintained the field position for Richardson to take Daniel Smith’s offload and skip over next to the posts.
The scrum half converted his own try to give his side the lead for the first time at 14-8 and he was on target again twice in quick succession to open up a three-score lead. The next points came via a flying finish from James Clare in the corner following lovely quick hands from Grant Millington and Milner and a pin-point final pass from Trueman, Richardson adding the extras from the sideline, before an easy penalty in front of the posts put daylight between the teams at 22-8 heading into the final quarter.
Rovers rallied and try to muster a response but Cas were in full control by this stage and McMeeken finally got his try to round off the scoring seven minutes from time as Trueman sent him through a gap in the defence with a well-timed short pass.
Full Time: Hull KR 8-28 Castleford Tigers
Hull Kingston Rovers
Dagger, Minikin, Kenny-Dowall, Linnett, Crooks, Keyes, Brierley, Murray, Litten, Maher, Gee, Storton, Hadley
Harrison, Garbutt, Trout, Minchella
Conversions: Brierley (1/1)
Penalties: Brierley (1/1)
Sin Bin: Brierley
Rankin, Olpherts, Mata’utia, Shenton, Clare, Trueman, Richardson, Watts, McShane, Griffin, Holmes, McMeeken, Massey
Millington, Milner, Blair, Smith
Tries: Shenton, Richardson, Clare, McMeeken
Conversions: Richardson (4/4)
Penalties: Richardson (2/2)
*Match report by Matt Holden
**Photography by News Images
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