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Posted: Sunday 19th June 2022

Tigers Academy terrific against Thunder

A ten-try haul by Castleford Tigers Academy secured a strong win away at Newcastle Thunder on Friday night.

A ten-try haul by Castleford Tigers Academy secured a strong win away at Newcastle Thunder on Friday night.

After close encounters with Wigan, Huddersfield, Wakefield, and Leeds so far in the season and a battle-hardening game against Hull FC last time out, it was a much-deserved second win of the season for Chris Spurr’s side.

The game got off to a poor start though for the Tigers, in their first attacking set a ball was intercepted and then followed up by a penalty for a high shot. Thunder then pushed to the line and a flat pass to Harry Lowery allowed him to get over for the opening points despite being tackled as he went over the line, Ollie Shaw added the conversion.

Castleford struck back immediately back on a back of a penalty of their own, near the line the Fords pulled the play out to the right edge and Calvin Sandhu’s late pass made Jason Qareqare draw in two defenders, neither of whom could stop the star youngster who was playing at centre and scored the first visiting try. Alfie Dean stepped up for the conversions and missed his first kick but would go on to nail the following nine.

Around ten minutes in Cas were looking to grab a firmer hold of the game which began cagey, Callum Beety as he was being tackled managed to get the ball away in an offload and George Hill took it closer to the line for Aaron Willis to get a short pass and force his way over. Dean added the kick for his first two-pointer of the evening.

What followed was a ten-minute period with both sides trading sets, Newcastle came close on two occasions, but the Tigers held firm. A Qareqare break relived the pressure and turned it onto the home side, a great support run kept it going but a tackle was made followed by a quick play of the ball and three passes into a huge gap for Jack Green to score, making it 6-16 following Dean’s second kick.

With half time approaching a scrum for the hosts on the halfway line gave them a good chance to get back into the contest and it’s a chance they took well. A hit-out pass to the right-winger Ben Jardine gave him some space to sprint and he just managed to avoid Calvin Sandhu’s last-ditch effort. The conversion was missed in the last major event of the half meaning it was 10-16 heading into the sheds at the break.

The Tigers came into the second half more focused, and it did not take long to get the first points of the second period with another Qareqare break which was well supported by hooker George Hill to beat the Thunder fullback for a score under the sticks. An almost identical score followed quickly after but this time the cut-through run was provided by Dean and finished off by Will Shaw, dean tacking on the kick to make it 10-28.

Newcastle needed to get to grips with the Fords’ attacking efforts and following the back-to-back score to start the second half they managed to there was a good chance for them to rock the apple cart, but they could only force a goal-line drop-out as their only major chance of the half so far. Shortly after making the hosts retreat towards their own line Cas forced a GLDO of their own, Jaiden Tang got the ball as the first receiver and fired a short pass back into Will Shaw, the hooker-come-loose-forward make a solid run and fired a pass out to Phoenix Tooala for an easy four-pointer, again converted by Dean.

Thunder’s energy had been beginning to wane and it reflected in their attack, they could not get too close to the Tigers’ line, whilst Cas were in a buoyant mood forcing another GLDO. Again this setup the Fords who fiercely ground their way to the line, strong running from Will Charlesworth, Jude Thompson and Aaron Willis came close. A hit-out pass to Alfie Mitchell though was well taken as he burrowed down low to score in the corner. Dean from way out wide added his hardest conversion of the game to bring Castleford’s efforts up to 40 points.

Tigers followed Mitchell’s try immediately with the try of the game, George Hill at the play of the ball picked it up on the 30m line and produced some magic, a little dummy, two fends and then running around the Thunder defence all the way to the try-line for a remarkable converted score. Sensational play from the young hooker.

Castleford kept pushing for more, a setup play on the left edge was hampered by a good tackle on Sandhu but the fullback got a delayed pass off to Tom Marris who spotted gaps in Thunder’s line and made the most of them racing 20m to score next to the posts and make it 50 points on the night, Dean quickly making it 52.

A final piece of flair from the Fords came in the dying embers of the game, Tang and Sandhu passing between one another to carve open the Thunder's left edge. Sandhu received the final Tang pass to get into the in-goal area and under the posts for the final try and become the Tigers’ tenth try scorer in the match.

Dean kicked his ninth conversion of the contest and the game finished 10-56. An outstanding second half from the Tigers saw them record an emphatic win in Tyneside, their second of the season.

After several close encounters this year for the Tigers Academy, this was just the boost the young Fords were after heading into the final four games of the year, three of which will be played at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle.

Newcastle Thunder Academy 10-58 Castleford Tigers Academy

Castleford Tigers: Calvin Sandhu, Will Charlesworth, Tom Marris, Jason Qareqare, Alfie Mitchell, Jaiden Tang, Jack Green, Jude Thompson, George Hill, Callum Beety, Aaron Willis, Alfie Dean, Will Shaw

Interchanges: Will Groves, Toby Mallinson, Michael Sowden, Phoenix Tooala

Tries: Qareqare, Willis, Green, Hill, Shaw, Tooala, Mitchell, Hill, Marris, Sandhu

Goals: Dean 9/10

Newcastle Thunder: Joe Bradley, Sam Murtagh, Zach Ikwue, Tom Siddle, Ben Jardine, Oli Bibby, Ollie Shaw, Harry Lowery, Josh McDermott, Logan Roughter, Ryan Crossley, Jack Thompson, Ollie Simpson

Interchanges: Jack Harvey, Oscar Fisher, Nat Ohimor, Will Lintin

Tries: Lowery, Jardine

Goals: Shaw 1/2