Tigers Triumphant On Return Home
Posted: Friday 16th April 2021 - 8:00 PM
Cas were in superb form as they scored 9 tries in 52-16 victory over Leigh Centurions in their Round Three fixture of the Betfred Super League
Daryl Powell’s side ran rampant against the visiting Leythers thanks to a brace of tries from Derrell Olpherts alongside numerous other scores as they made it three from three in the league on their return to Wheldon Road.
A balmy West Yorkshire evening was the fitting backdrop for Cas’ first home game in over six months. The Mend-A-Hose Jungle hadn’t seen competitive action since an early October clash with Hull FC last year.
Cas’ Head Coach named a slightly altered 13 with Greg Eden, Daniel Smith and Jesse Sene-Lefao making their first starts of the season, whilst Lewis Bienek was named to the bench for his first Super League appearance for the Fords.The visitors also opted for some changes from last week’s Challenge Cup fixture and most notable was a first start for young Josh Simm, days after his loan move from St Helens.
Leigh started the brighter of the two sides, seizing the early impetus after forcing a Tigers’ knock on. However just as they looked to threaten the right hand side of the Castleford defence, an errant pass allowed Peter Mata’utia to snuff out the move. Shortly thereafter the Tigers’ number three was involved again with the hosts’ first real attacking threat as his dribbling through kick just eluded the chasing Olpherts.
A knock on for the visitors 40 yards out give Castleford a short field to work with and they were able to make the pressure count when a short pass found Liam Watts at pace and he showed a quick turn of pace to race nearly half the field to register the game’s first score.
This only seemed to spur the visiting Leythers on however, and they began to camp themselves firmly in Cas’ half on the back of strong, dogged carries, Craig Mullen in particular going close only for Cas to shut the door. Greg Eden showed no sign of rust, rising well to gather Leigh’s attacking high balls. Meanwhile on the other wing, in-form Derrell Olpherts was making good yardage on his kick returns and committing several defenders at a time!
It was Derrell Olpherts cutting inside as he hungrily sought extra metres that led to the Tigers’ second try, as a quick-thinking McShane found Daniel Smith just 3 yards out to put both props on the scoresheet for Cas! The rampaging winger had a hand in Cas’ third score shortly thereafter, diving into the right-hand corner to finish a sweeping shift move. Paul McShane taking over the kicking duties but making no mistake to create an 18 point advantage a quarter of the way into the game.
John Duffy’s side remained a constant threat however and ill-discpline from the home side could have led to trouble but a brilliant late strip by Oliver Holmes saved them at the death. On the back of this set, both sides began to look for field position and it was Cas who again made the most of their sets, this time on the left hand side with Michael Shenton finding the returning Eden who toe-tapped along the touchline to open his account for 2021.
Not to be outdone by the Tigers’ try-scoring props, Grant Millington looked to go himself having found a gap in midfield but with supporting options a-plenty, he selflessly fed Niall Evalds who scooted under himself to continue his fine form.
Finally as the hooter beckoned a vintage Classy Cas try rounded out the first half. A wonderful break and chip kick from Mata’utia was gathered by Evalds, and from the recycled ball, the Fords switched the ball all the way across the field to find Shenton in space, and he got the better of his man to touch down.
The second half got underway and the fast-flowing action to finish the first half proved hard to replicate for the first few minutes as both sides had had a chance to recover and adjust ahead of the second forty. An obstruction penalty ruled out an early Tigers’ move, before Leigh’s constant pressure was unfortunate not to be rewarded with early points after a Joe Mellor kick into the in-goal area was just too long.
The game came to life after five minutes however, as Jesse Sene-Lefao picked up a loose ball and surged forward to give the home side some momentum, before the ball was worked down the right edge to Jordan Turner who demonstrated that familiar connection with Niall Evalds as he passed the ball then received an expert offload from the fullback to score.
Having been unfortunate a number of times not to convert their efforts into points, the away side received a reward for their efforts 50 minutes into the game, former Tiger Jordan Thompson barging his way over to give his side a well deserved score.
Jesse Sene-Lefao catching Tyrone McCarthy late which earned the second-rower a ten minute rest and helped get Leigh up into the Fords’ half. Tough team defence from Daryl Powell’s side however was enough to keep the hosts away. A grittier game necessitated full use of the bench and it was fantastic to see Lewis Bienek enter for his Tigers’ debut, with tough tackles and marauding metres made across the park.
The resilient visitors kept coming and it was only Niall Evalds’ superb cover tackle on Liam Hood that stopped them scoring a rapid-fire second. Classy Cas were in full flow now and showed how quickly they can turn defence into attack as a Leigh kick went dead and from the restart, as Greg Eden tapped from the twenty and passed to Olpherts who went over 60 yards outpacing everyone to grab his second of the night.
Olpherts was having a superb evening and was at the centre of things for the next score, scooting and weaving to make metres on the right edge before passing to Turner who sprinted through the middle and found a supporting Jake Trueman who coasted over.
With the game gone, it would be easy for the visitors to have given in but credit Leigh for continuing to look to create chances and eventually Ben Reynolds managed to slide over following a set close to the Fords’ tryline, converting his own score to add to the Centurions’ tally.
Both teams were perhaps a tad wasteful in the final stages as fatigue began to set in, and Cas were made to pay after not reacting to a bad bounce off the ball, allowing Brierley to score late for the visitors but with the result well established, no-one could begrudge the Tigers taking their foot off the gas and rounding out a significant win.
Full Time: Castleford Tigers 52-10 Leigh Centurions
Evalds, Olpherts, Mata’utia, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, O’Brien, Watts, McShane, Smith, Holmes, Sene-Lefao, Massey
Millington, Milner, Turner, Bienek
Tries: Watts, Smith, Olpherts (2), Eden, Evalds, Shenton, Turner, Trueman
Conversions: O’Brien (2/2), McShane (6/7)
Sin Bin: Sene-Lefao
Brierley, Russell, Simm, Mullen, Tierney, Mellor, Reynolds, Thompson, Hood, Hellewell, Sidlow, Peteru, McCarthy
Flower, Bell, Gerrard, Peats
Tries: Thompson, Reynolds, Brierley
Conversions: Reynolds (2/2)
*Match report by Sam Armstrong
**Match photography by OMH Rugby Pics
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