Tired Tigers exit Challenge Cup
Posted: Sunday 13th September 2020 - 5:01 PM
A weary Castleford exited the Coral Challenge Cup with a 29-16 defeat to Hull FC in the sixth round.
The Tigers trailed by three scores at one stage of a gripping contest at the Totally Wicked Stadium before launching a spirited fightback, but they eventually ran out of steam chasing the game late on as the Black and Whites held on to book their place in the quarter finals.
The cup clash was the second fixture in four days for both sides and Hull certainly looked the fresher in the first half after bringing several rested senior players back into their side and two of them played big parts in the game’s opening try as Jamie Shaul made the initial break through midfield and Carlos Tuimavave finished off the move under the posts for a 6-0 lead somewhat against the run of play early on.
With Gareth O’Brien cup-tied for the Tigers, James Clare returned to the side in the full back position whilst off season signing Sosaia Feki made his competitive debut for the club before being forced off the field early on as his horrendous luck with injuries continued. Cheyse Blair also returned to the centre position and Calum Turner and Tyla Hepi added plenty of enthusiasm on the bench for a Cas side that was kept largely intact from Thursday’s Betfred Super League defeat to Warrington.
The better of the territory went Cas’ way in the opening quarter before that Hull try but the Fords did respond to level the scores as Danny Richardson’s high kick forced an error from Shaul and on the following set George Griffin took Paul McShane’s short pass from dummy half to crash over after the Fords had worked over the ruck.
However, despite plenty of effort, the Tigers were missing a spark in attack. Clare had the best opportunity for his side after a switch to the wing, but the video referee chalked off his score for a knock-on after Mike McMeeken and Peter Mata’utia had created the platform with some good work.
At the other end, Hull looked much more of a threat with ball in hand and more interplay between Tuimavave and Shaul was finished off this time by Albert Kelly before Tuimavave – the stand-out player of the opening 40 minutes – dealt a hammer blow to Cas’ hopes on the stroke of half-time as he intercepted Mata’utia’s pass with seconds left on the clock to race away under the posts and give Jake Connor his third easy conversion of the game to make it 18-6 at the break.
The Tigers needed a strong start to the second half and got the opposite as Ratu Naulago raced the length of the field from a 20-metre tap after two minutes. Cas did show some fight as a short kick-off was regathered and Oliver Holmes ran a nice line onto Mata’utia’s short pass to respond immediately, Richardson adding his second conversion of the game to make it a 12-point deficit once again but they needed another quick score to put some pressure on the Black and Whites.
Some sloppy errors from both sides didn’t help with keeping the speed in the game as legs and minds started to tire, but two key players stepped up for the Tigers to give them hope going into the final 15 minutes as McShane produced a great run from dummy half with his team under pressure coming away from their own line. With space from the hooker’s play-the-ball, Richardson drilled a 40/20 to get his side into a good position and on the resulting set McShane’s run-around created space for Mata’utia to stroll over.
Richardson couldn’t add the extras this time to leave his side trailing by eight points as the clock ticked down and it proved too much to claw back as two late penalties and a drop goal from Connor ended Cas’ cup aspirations.
Full Time: Castleford Tigers 29-16 Hull FC
Clare, Olpherts, Blair, Shenton, Feki, Mata’utia, Richardson, Watts, McShane, Griffin, Holmes, McMeeken, O’Neill
Millington, Milner, Hepi, Turner
Tries: Griffin, Holmes, Mata’utia
Conversions: Richardson (2/3)
Shaul, Naulago, Tuimavave, Griffin, Faraimo, Kelly, Connor, Ellis, Johnstone, Fash, Lane, Ma’u, Cator
Houghton, Satae, Sao, Fonua
Tries: Tuimavave (2), Kelly, Naulago
Conversions: Connor (4/4)
Penalty: Connor (2/2)
Drop Goal: Connor
*Match report by Matt Holden
**Photography by SWPix
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