2020 so far...
Posted: Saturday 1st August 2020 - 4:00 PM
Ahead of Betfred Super League restarting, here is a quick summary of Castleford’s 2020 season to date.
Daryl Powell's side began 2020 well with five victories out of the opening seven rounds and headed into the suspension sat in 2nd place in the table, just off top position by points difference. It all began back in February with a visit to Emerald Headingley Stadium for a Canadian club’s first fixture in the top flight.
Round 1: Toronto Wolfpack (A)
The 2020 campaign got off to a great start with a solid 28-10 victory over Brian McDermott’s men, which also allowed the Tigers to spoil the Super League welcoming party for Sonny Bill Williams. Highlights of the game include Greg Eden capitalising on a Toronto dropped ball to race the length of the field, Adam Milner going over for a try after returning to field only a minute earlier from a head knock, and Michael Shenton grabbing his 150th score for the club, or was it Eden Hazard?
Round 2: Wigan Warriors (H)
Danny Richardson’s boot made the difference in our first home game of the season as a depleted Castleford side beat Wigan 16-12 at The Jungle. With Milner, Griffin, Hepi and Eden added to an extensive injury list, Daryl Powell turned to his young forwards Jacques O’Neill, Lewis Peachey and debutant Sam Hall to bolster the pack, and nine months on from breaking his hip Junior Moors returned to action too. Derrell Olpherts grabbed his first try in Cas colours on the 18th minute, Cheyse Blair powered his way over on the right edge for his first of the year and Richardson kicked two important second half penalties to claim a big win.
Round 3: Catalans Dragons (A)
Castleford’s first loss of the season came at the hands of the French club, 36-18, in Perpignan. The sports media world all had their eyes on this match with Israel Folau making his debut for the Dragons, but it was Sam Tomkins who proved to be costly for Cas scoring a hat-trick. Cheyse Blair got a second try in as many weeks but Derrell Olpherts got the highlight play of this match. After some quick thinking from Richardson to defuse a kick he quickly tapped it for a 20m restart and produced a wonderful pass into Olpherts hands who raced over 70m for a memorable four-pointer.
Round 4: Wakefield Trinity (H)
A dominant second half performance over the local neighbours kept the Adam Watene Trophy in Castleford’s hands for another year. The Tigers right-edge had shown early signs of success in the opening matches but with Peter Mata’utia returning to action from suspension, that side of the attack began to shine. Cheyse Blair made it three from three leaping onto a trademark Paul McShane kick near the line and Olpherts received a wonderful over the top pass from Richardson to dive in at the corner. Following on from a Clare try on the left, a Wakefield penalty and drop goal the Tigers trailed at half time 14-15. Clare grabbed his second of the game early on, Oliver Holmes on his 200th Cas game caught a bobbling Trueman grubber and Olpherts got his brace after a stunning pass from Mata’utia, the Fords hold onto the local bragging rights with a 32-15 win.
Round 5: Hull KR (A)
Early as it may have been, Castleford went top of the Super League table following their away win over the Robins, 8-28, whilst not at their best for long periods of the game. A lacklustre opening half saw the Tigers struggle to get a foothold in the game after Ben Crooks opened the scoring to give the Robins the lead. Paul McShane claims that he has re-found his running game in 2020 and it was showcased perfectly when he made a huge breakthrough the middle of the field, passed it to Richardson who kept defenders second guessing where he would pass it before giving it to Michael Shenton to score in the left corner. A much better second half saw Richardson get his first meat-pie for Cas off a deft Daniel Smith offload, quick hands from Milner, Millington and a looping pin-point pass from Trueman led to James Clare diving over in the corner. McMeeken closed matters by getting a well-earned try after spotting a gap in the Rovers defence.
Round 6: Warrington Wolves (A)
One for the purists as a low scoring affair was settled by a dramatic last-minute drop-goal, 9-8. Resilient defence was on display by both teams, Jake Trueman’s try-saving tackle on young Wolves player Keanan Brand was a perfect example. Danny Richardson registered the first points of the game with a penalty but Tom Lineham gave Wire the lead heading into the break 4-2. Ratchford opened the second half with a penalty after three consecutive sets in the Cas half. A penalty try was given after Shenton gave Calum Turner a chance next to the wing. The youngster could not quite get the ball down as he went for the line but a high tackle in the act of scoring gave the Tigers a conversion in front of the posts. Stefan Ratchford levelled the game with another penalty which led to all four half-backs on the field in the dying minutes attempting to score a decisive drop-goal, but all four pulled wide. The final opportunity fell to Austin which he converted from 20m to give Warrington the two league points.
Round 7: St Helens (H)
Classy Cas on full show in the final Super League match before the season got suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a strong win over 2019’s champions St Helens 28-14. Dominant Tigers line speed laid the foundation for an impressive win, with the right-edge shining once again. Peter Mata’utia crashed over off a short Richardson ball, Olpherts scored his first on the end of lovely hands through Richardson, Mata’utia and Rankin. Derrell got his double after a Shenton break, followed up by Trueman with the ball then shipped out to the right winger. The video referee was called upon to confirm his acrobatic finish and somehow Olpherts kept both his feet up in the air whilst being shoved off the pitch. Makinson scored for Saints to end the first 40 but Castleford’s second half kept them firmly in charge, Blair continuing his hot form powering to the line, Richardson against his former club knocked over two quickfire penalties. Welsby and Thompson pulled back late consolations but Trueman sealed the spoils in front of a jubilant Wheldon Road End responding well to a loose ball to score his first try of 2020.
Right, so we’re all caught up! Now we look ahead to the rest of the 2020 Super League season and it resumes for Daryl Powell’s men against Catalans Dragons on Saturday, 8th August, kick-off at 4.15pm. Bring it on because the Tigers are #ReadyToRoar!
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