Academy Tigers back with a bang!

Posted: Saturday 15th May 2021 - 4:50 PM

It had been over 400 days since our Academy team had been in match action, so just seeing our young stars playing was a small win in itself.

The Tigers had youngsters with First Team squad numbers in their line-up such as Cain Robb, Sam Hall, and Brad Graham, with the latter securing the first points of the game. A shift play to the right edge gave him the ball and Graham held off the Giants defenders to score the Tigers Academy team’s first points in 2021.

As was to be expected there was an element of rustiness from both sides, 14+ months without fixtures will do that to a team, a Cas error gave Huddersfield good field position and they replied with a try of their own through Joe Howe and Will Pryce converting it.

Danny Evans’ Tigers made chances for themselves but struggled to finish them in the first half, with sets on the Giants' line proving difficult to cut through, or a final pass just not landing. Around 20 minutes in, the rain heavily came down and affected the fluency of play for both. Another Cas error gifted Huddersfield the ball 20m out, a short side move for Joe Howe to get his second, but the conversion was missed. Closing out the half Cas were on the hunt to strike back but that finishing touch continued to just miss. Rusling tried to work some magic but no luck and the team headed into the sheds trailing 10-4.

The wet weather resulted in early errors during the second half and the Giants threatened in the first instance, but Jack Sadler, who switched from halfback to hooker during the game, showed composure to collect a dangerous ball into the try area and get out.

Increasing in confidence, Cas got a penalty and were grinding their way forward, on the last a setup play saw Charlie Harris, who came off the bench into the halves, throw a tidy pass to fullback Josh Milthorpe on the left edge to score. Adam Rusling converted the kick to bring the Tigers level.

The game got a bit heated following the Fords’ second score, both sharing penalties to offer their opposition chances, Cas could not make it pay but the Giants did with Sean Slater finding a big gap on the line and Pryce converting. There was a double blow after their try with Nathan Carter unfortunately having to come off due to a suspected shoulder dislocation, we do hope Nathan is on the mend quickly. The Fords demonstrated strong defence on their own line to keep Giants from increasing their lead, wrapping the big men up and scrambling to stop their halfback.

With just over ten minutes to go Cas needed a spark to get back into it and up stepped Ethan Sutcliffe, a big run from the 17-year-old set the tone and an attack to the left edge paid off for Nathan Magee who spotted a gap and ran closer to the sticks for Rusling’s conversion.

Sam Hall made a few breaks through the Giants line during the game, but a final pass did not land on a couple of occasions, but the third time was the charm though as he raced through and found a pass to keep the pressure on. Cas took their time and then an over-the-top pass to Magee saw him crash over for a brace on the left again. Rusling could not add the conversion but would prove pivotal in the next major play.

With five minutes left on the clock the Tigers kept pushing Giants back, Adam Rusling got the ball and spotted a gap in the right corner, placing a delicate chip kick for Mackenzie Scurr to catch and score.

Rusling’s conversion attempt missed but with time running out Cas maybe knew a win was already in the bag, this led to a bit of lazy defending and the Giants scored an unconverted try on the right edge before the referee brought an end to the game.

A better second-half performance from Cas secured them the win in a tight, scrappy game, but after so long without match action rustiness can be forgiven. Add into that the horrible weather, it was a well-worked victory and should fill Castleford’s youngsters with confidence for their games which lie ahead.

Full Time: Huddersfield Giants U19’s 20-24 Castleford Tigers U19’s

Josh Milthorpe, Mackenzie Scurr, Brad Graham, Tom Hazelgrave, Callum Hutchinson, Adam Rusling, Jack Sadler, Liam Buffett, Cain Robb, Sam Hall, Nathan Carter, Nathan Magee, Louis Collinson

Charlie Harris, Will Shaw, Ethan Sutcliffe, Ninian Donnelly, Jacob Harte, Danny Attley.

Tries: Graham, Milthorpe, Magee (2), Scurr

Conversions: Rusling (2)

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