Tigers Down Robins in Milner's Testimonial
Posted: Sunday 14th March 2021 - 5:00 PM
Cas were able to sign off their pre-season with a hard-fought 20-30 win over Hull KR in Adam Milner’s testimonial match.
The Fords’ travelled to Hull College Craven Park to face Hull KR to help celebrate the service of their #ONECLUB man, but also to prepare for the coming season in what was the Tigers’ sole pre-season game before the Betfred Super League season kicks off in two weeks’ time.
Daryl Powell named a strong starting 13 featuring new acquisitions Niall Evalds and Jordan Turner, and whilst the hosts’ side was equally flush with 2021 recruits as Ryan Hall started his first game in England since returning from Australia, whilst Brad Takairangi brought his considerable NRL experience to Humberside.
Windy conditions and new combinations meant a cagey start for both sides, with Evalds demonstrating his security under the high ball in the opening minutes before showcasing his pace and flair for improvisation when he collected a loose kick and raced to halfway to put Cas on the front foot.
Improvisation was perhaps the theme for Cas’ opening score, after a pass rebounded off Dean Hadley as he retreated, Jake Trueman pounced to gather the loose ball and he was able to race 60 yards and dot down, with O’Brien converting to give the visitors an early 0-6 lead.
Trueman made another break as the Tigers went looking for another score but was unable to find the supporting Evalds as a resilient KR defence kept it a one score game. As KR began to gather momentum of their own halfway through the first half, Evalds showed again why his signing has generated such excitement amongst Fords’ fans, coming across to bundle the much bigger Ryan Hall into touch just as he threatened to cross in the corner. Shortly after, Cas were able to double their advantage, with Trueman bouncing away from two tackles before sneaking over. O’Brien again able to add the extras.
Fans were speculating where new signing Jordan Turner would fit into the team and injuries to James Clare and Sosaia Feki, saw him start out on the wing where he forced a turnover after wrapping up a Greg Minikin, whilst also making metres with a series of marauding carries. Between him and Derrell Olpherts, no one can accuse the wingers of not doing the hard yards in Cas’ side!
Just when the Robins had looked to have secured a try of their own through Greg Minkin, the referee adjudged a knock-on in-goal and Cas were able to take the resulting 20m restart straight down the field for their third score, a lovely move on the right edge saw Mata’utia feed Evalds on the inside for his first try as a Tiger.
There was a fiery start to the second half as Hadley looked to have put a late shot on Gareth O’Brien which Daniel Smith took exception to, before being penalised. From the resulting set, the hosts manged to camp on the Tigers’ line and get themselves on the scoreboard with Jez Litten scooting over from dummy half.
Castleford were able to reply promptly, a knock-on at midfield gave them possession and a sweeping move saw Evalds pass to Shenton back on the inside, with the skipper being able to cross the try line and score courtesy of some “fortuitous” obstruction which went unnoticed, to the Ford’s favour.
Their early try in the second half had seemed to spur on Hull KR, and they were in again just 10 minutes after their first: Adam Quinlan keen to show there are two mercurial fullbacks on the field as he broke a tackle and managed to execute a perfect kick for newly appointed KR Captain Shaun Kenny-Dowall to touch down. Moments later, the fullback was in with a score of his own, Ryan Hall’s offload bouncing to him at the right moment to cut the Ford’s lead to just ten.
The Robins really had the bit between their teeth now and with sustained pressure close to the Cas line, Jake Trueman was sinbinned for being offside in the tackle, George Lawler making the man advantage tell almost immediately as he crossed under the sticks to leave the hosts just four points behind heading into the final 15 minutes.
The threat of an impending comeback gave the away side chance to throw some of their younger players into a pressure situation, with 18-year old Cain Robb coming on at hooker and his energy and quick movement with the ball were key in giving Cas more breathing room – the youngster being able to find O’Brien, who linked up Evalds, already looking at home in the #1 jersey, to put Shenton across for his second try of the afternoon. O’Brien nailed his kick to continue his perfect outing with the boot.
A determined KR side kept fighting and were unfortunate not to score more towards the end, going close through Keinhorst in the dying moments of the game, but Cas were able to hold on and secure the victory giving them plenty to look at ahead of the season opener as well as a chance to celebrate their #13.
Full Time: Hull KR 20-30 Castleford Tigers
Quinlan, Crooks, Minikin, Kenny-Dowall, Hall, Takairangi, Abdull, Sims, Parcell, Lawler, Linnett, Hadley, Minchella
Dagger, Johnson, Keyes, Keinhorst, King, Lewis, Litten, Maher, Ryan, Storton, Vete
Tries: Litten, Kenny-Dowall, Quinlan, Lawler
Conversions: Abdull (2/4)
Evalds, Olpherts, Mata’utia, Shenton, Turner, Trueman, O’Brien, Millington, McShane, Massey, Holmes, Foster, Milner
Bienek, Blair, Graham, Hepi, O’Neill, Peachey, Robb, Sene-Lefao, Smith
Tries: Trueman (2), Evalds, Shenton (2)
Conversions: O’Brien (5/5)
Sin Bin: Trueman
*Match report by Sam Armstrong
** Photography by Melanie Allatt Photography
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