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26th 6:00PM Saints MW
January
20th 3:00PM Rhinos FR

Rhinos 24 - 26 Tigers


Five players got over for the Fords during the afternoon, with James Clare grabbing a brace of tries on the left edge.

Preseason or not, clashes between the Tigers and our big city rivals are always hard-hitting affairs, and the intensity of this one was evident from the opening few sets.

Some big drives from Castleford forced a penalty early on, allowing for the first touch of class from the black and amber. The ball went through the hands, eventually looping over to skipper Michael Shenton who battled his way over for the first try of the afternoon.

The Tigers went close again just moments later, as Jesse Sene-Lefao was held up just over the line, however it was the hosts who were next on the scoresheet. Off the back of two straight penalties, the Rhinos went to the right flank and, rather fittingly in his testimonial game, Kallum Watkins stretched over and planted the ball down.

There was anything but panic from the Tigers though as they quickly set to work regathering their lead. It was James Clare who came up with the score, rising highest to beat his opposing winger to a Jake Trueman kick that could have hardly been any more perfect. Despite nailing the first, new signing Jordan Rankin put his second conversion attempt just wide.

As we entered the second quarter, Castleford began to flex their muscles. Once again it was Trueman the architect as he spread the ball towards an ever-potent left edge. Pete Mata’utia was good in support, as was Shenton who smartly shipped it to Clare, running in for his brace.

As the half came to a close, the Tigers found themselves well on top, and there was time for one more before the break as Junior Moors dropped on a batted-down ball off the back of another excellent Trueman kick. 

However, Leeds also came up with a score before the hooter sounded, with Adam Cuthbertson striking from range.

After the break, it was the Rhinos carrying the momentum and - inside the first five minutes - their dominance reaped its reward as Harry Newman gathered up a loose ball to score wide out. 

Following the second half opener though, the Tigers rode the wave and were eventually able to get down the right end of the field. From there, Rankin showed some great quickness to open up a hole and Alex Foster benefitted with the four-pointer.

But, the hosts remained ever eager to keep in touch with the Tigers, so it came as little surprise when it was Leeds who struck next via Ash Handley.  

With 20 minutes remaining in the derby and just four points separating the two sides, it was all very much to play for at Headingley.

Needless to say, the pendulum kept swinging, meaning it was the Tigers who notched the next points, extending their slender lead to eight. It was Paul McShane this time, who smartly took a chance and went himself down the blind side when Castleford were threatening inside Leeds’ red zone.

The lead was cut down once again five minutes later as Handley went in for his second. A change of kicker also benefitted Leeds, as Cameron Smith nailed one from the sideline to being the Rhinos within two.

With the game hanging in the balance, it was the hosts with the ascendency, but the Tigers resiliently hung on with some solid defensive work. The score line proved to be final, with Castleford running out winners at Headingley.

Full Time: Leeds Rhinos 24-26 Castleford Tigers

 

Castleford Tigers

Mata’utia, Minikin, Foster, Shenton, Clare, Trueman, Rankin, Watts, McShane, Millington, Sene-Lefao, McMeeken, Massey

Interchange

Milner, Moors, Cook, Clark, Aston, Turner, Clarkson

Tries: Shenton, Clare (2), Moors, Foster, McShane

Conversions: Rankin (1/6)

 

Leeds Rhinos

Walker, Newman, Watkins, Hurrell, Handley, Lolohea, Myler, Peteru, Parcell, Singleton, Ferres, Sutcliffe, Merrin

Interchange

Cuthbertson, Ward, Dwyer, Oledzki, Jones-Buchanan, Smith, Donaldson

Tries: Watkins, Cuthbertson, Newman, Handley (2)

Conversions: Lolohea (1/4), Smith (1/1)

Attendance: 6,087

*Match report by Ross Williams

February
1st 7:45PM Dragons SL

Tigers 20 - 4 Dragons


Paul McShane and Greg Eden scored the all-important points for the black and amber in a hard-fought tussle with the French visitors.

In the Baltic conditions of Wheldon Road, the two sides largely spent the first ten minutes of the game feeling one another out. As expected, much of the ball went through the forwards but the first real flashpoint came when Lewis Tierney looked for all the world like he was going to score in the corner off a Brayden Williame pass.

He would have too, if not for an incredible effort from Greg Minikin, dumping the winger into touch.

The defensive play not only saved four points, but also spurred the Tigers into life. Castleford marched down the field in the next set, allowing for Paul McShane to go in for our first try of the 2019 campaign, as he took the ball from dummy half and sliced his way through a hole in the Catalans defence.

The Tigers weren’t able to instantly double their advantage however, as the Dragons reacted with a very solid stint. But, as the snow began to fall on the hallowed turf, Castleford’s defence held firm, negating Catalans’ attacks at every attempt.

Steve McNamara’s side were then made to pay for their lack of clinical edge up the field, as the Tigers added to their lead.

First, McShane added to his individual points tally by slotting an easy penalty close to the Dragons’ line. Then a couple of sets later, Castleford opened up in trademark style as Pete Mata’utia and Michael Shenton combined brilliantly to set Greg Eden free. As ever, there was no stopping the prolific winger when he got into full stride.

Eden’s try proved to be the final meaningful action of the half, seeing the Tigers enter the sheds twelve points to the good.

Upon their return to the paddock, it’s no exaggeration to say the game was all Castleford.

Attacking the Railway End of the ground, the Tigers smothered their opposition for ten minutes solid. Catalans defended valiantly, allowing only a further McShane penalty at first, but it seemed only a matter of time before the black and amber struck what would likely be a decisive blow.

However, to the Dragons’ credit, the hosts weren’t allowed to kill the game off so early on. The French side battled away, and even forged a couple of half-chances of their own.

Heading into the final quarter, it was still very much a contest despite Catalans being scoreless on the board. The Tigers found themselves being penalised to within an inch of their lives, leaving a maiden Dragons try an inevitability.

It came with roughly 15 minutes remaining on the clock, as Tierney utilised the overlap and dived over in the corner. Sam Tomkins was less fortunate with the boot, as he skewed the conversion wide.

This created nerves within the Mend-A-Hose Jungle for the final portion of the game, with the two points still not sealed.

However, these became short-lived, as Eden killed the game off well and truly in the dying moments, diving in superbly for his brace.

Full Time: Castleford Tigers 20-4 Catalans Dragons

 

Castleford Tigers

Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, Rankin, Watts, McShane, Millington, Sene-Lefao, McMeeken, Massey

Interchange

Milner, Moors, Foster, Cook

Tries: McShane, Eden (2)

Conversions: McShane (2/3)

Penalty: McShane (2/2)

 

Catalans Dragons

Tomkins, Mead, Langi, Williame, Tierney, Gigot, Smith, Simon, Da Costa, Moa, Edwards, Garcia, Casty

Interchange

Bousquet, Whitley, Goudemand, Baitieri

Tries: Tierney

Conversions: Tomkins (0/1)

 

Attendance: 7,494

Keltbray Aspire Man of the Match: Paul McShane

Golden Gamble: 12008

*Match report by Ross Williams
*Photography courtesy of SwPix

 

7th 7:45PM Hull FC SL

Hull FC 18 - 26 Tigers


A brace from Michael Shenton, along with tries from James Clare, Jesse Sene-Lefao and Junior Moors did the business for the visitors, on a freezing East Yorkshire evening.

The game began with a trio of fairly lacklustre sets as the two sides attempted to get to grips with one another in the early exchanges. However, it didn’t take long for the Tigers to come up with something special, breaking the deadlock early.

It was Jake Trueman with the little piece of magic as he stepped off his left foot at the line, slipped a tackle and fed his skipper Shenton for the opening try of the evening.

Facing an early deficit, Hull came at the Tigers shortly after and threatened to get on terms. They were greeted with some stiff defence from the visitors though, halting their advances.

Instead, it was Castleford who struck again. This time, Sene-lefao got over after hunting down a loose ball close to the line. The four-pointer was sent upstairs to be tested by the video referee, but Ben Thaler saw nothing wrong with the back-rower’s grounding.

Facing the risk of the game getting away from them early, the Airlie Birds came at the Tigers with some intent following Sene-Lefao’s try, and eventually got over via a man who knows Castleford very well, Joe Westerman.

Then, it was Jake Connor’s turn to grab a try on his return to the Hull side, as he picked Sene-Lefao’s pocket in the middle of the field off the back of a Marc Sneyd kick.

The remainder of the first half was largely neck-and-neck, with both sides boasting half chances but neither managing anything clear cut, until the very final moment of the 40.

Right before the hooter, the Tigers were rewarded for some hard graft as they shipped the ball to the left and Shenton exploited a gap to score his second of the game. This gave Castleford a slender two-point lead as they entered the sheds.

Much like in the Catalans clash six days prior, the Tigers started the second half with some real intensity and they soon reaped the benefits of their effort. This time, it was the right edge that struck as Peter Mata’utia sprung the trap. The ball found its way to Clare, who dived in superbly in the corner.

After the early period of Castleford dominance, it looked as if the hosts were about to tie things up as Connor sliced through a gap and planted the ball down. However, on this occasion the video referee turned the effort down, due to an obstruction in the build-up.

Following the let-off, the Tigers attempted to once again get a firm grip on the contest and they did just that, as Moors picked up a further four points, dropping on a delightful little dummy half kick from Paul McShane.

The clash was far from over though, as a few moments later Jamie Shaul broke through a couple of weak challenges and set Jordan Lane free for a score, narrowing the deficit to six.

Things were getting relatively tense as we entered the final quarter, so a smart decision was taken for Jordan Rankin to boot a penalty when the opportunity arose.

Regardless, we were set for a titanic finish with Connor playing orchestrator for the black and whites and the Tigers’ defence scrambling.

Eight points to the good, the Tigers were somewhat careless inside the last ten minutes when they should have been managing the clock and killing off the contest. However, each time Hull received the ball back, the Castleford defence was up to the task. A sensational tackle from Alex Foster on a rampaging Bureta Faraimo was a highlight, as the back-rower bundled him into touch.

FC simply had no answer, as Castleford made it two wins from two and, at least in the short term, went to the top of the Betfred Super League.

Full Time: Hull FC 18-26 Castleford Tigers

Castleford Tigers

Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, Rankin, Watts, McShane, Millington, Sene-Lefao, Foster, McMeeken

Interchange

Milner, Moors, Roberts, Cook

Tries: Shenton (2), Sene-Lefao, Clare, Moors

Conversions: McShane (2/5)

Penalty: Rankin (1/1)

 

Hull FC

Shaul, Faraimo, Tuimavave, Griffin, Miloudi, Connor, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Matongo, Minichiello, Manu, Westerman

Interchange

Thompson, Lane, Paea, Litten

Tries: Westerman, Connor, Lane

Conversions: Sneyd (3/3)

 

Attendance: 11,244

*Match report by Ross Williams
*Photo courtesy of Melanie Allatt Photography

23rd 5:15PM Broncos SL

Broncos 6 - 40 Tigers


Seven different scorers did the business for the black and amber, securing a result that maintains the Tigers’ 100% record in the 2019 Betfred Super League.

The opening five minutes had an edginess about them, with neither side giving up much to the other. However, it didn’t take long for Castleford to do something about the empty score sheet. As soon as the Tigers began offloading, gaps emerged in the London defence and Pete Mata’utia reaped the benefits, finishing from a smart Paul McShane ball.

On the fast 4G surface though, tries were inevitable, and the next came at the other end of the field as former Tigers Rhys Williams got over after a quick shift to the left.

After a consolidating period for the Tigers, it was their turn to bounce back and their next score came from a set that was all about Jesse Sene-Lefao. In unfamiliar territory for the back-rower, he put in a neat little kick for Greg Eden to pick up 20 yards out. Then, a few moments later, the Samoan flicked out a wondrous offload close to the line, right into the path of a grateful Jake Trueman who strolled over. Paul McShane added his second conversion of the evening.

From there, Castleford opened up a cushion for the first time in the contest. After the flair of Trueman’s try, it was all about brute force for the next as Junior Moors took a short ball inside the five-yard line and plowed through the Broncos defence like it wasn’t there.

With just over ten minutes to play in the first half, it looked as if London had once again pulled one back. However, Matt Fleming’s effort was turned down by the video referee as, on inspection, he’d failed to ground the ball properly.

London were then made to rue their missed opportunity as the Tigers went down the other end of the field and extended their lead before the break. Sene-Lefao himself grabbed the four-pointer this time as Eden found the second-rower on the inside following a clinical break from the black and amber.

When the two sides re-emerged after the interval, it seemed obvious that one more try from the Tigers would probably be enough to secure the two all-important Super League points, and Castleford came out with every intention of wrapping it up early.

After just three minutes of the second period, the score came and – to the delight of his teammates – it was Liam Watts who grabbed it, his first try since joining the club last season.

Further tries seemed like an inevitability from then on, with the pace and intensity of the Tigers taking its toll on the stamina of the hosts.

Castleford’s sixth of the evening was the most straightforward of the bunch, as the visitors smartly shifted the ball along the line, creating a simple overlap for Eden to exploit.

As the game approached the final quarter, the result was firmly in the bag but the Tigers kept grinding away, eager to continue a strong defensive display by keeping London scoreless in the second half.

To their credit, the Broncos remained resilient and threw the kitchen sink at the visitors. However, the class of the Tigers continuously shone through, maintaining the second half clean slate.

To add further polish to the performance, a break from Michael Shenton carved open the Broncos defence in the final ten minutes, and the proceeding offload unleashed Jordan Rankin, who followed Watts’ lead in scoring his first Castleford try.

That wrapped things up for the Tigers, capping a successful evening in the capital.            

 

Full Time: London Broncos 6-40 Castleford Tigers

Castleford Tigers

Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, Rankin, Watts, McShane, Millington, Sene-Lefao, Clarkson, Massey

Interchange

Milner, Moors, Egodo, Cook

Tries: Mata’utia, Trueman, Moors, Sene-Lefao, Watts, Eden, Rankin

Conversions: McShane (5/6), Rankin (1/1)

 

London Broncos

Fleming, Dixon, Morgan, Kear, Williams, Abdull, Cunningham, Adediyi, Fozard, Ioane, Pitts, Lovell, Yates

Interchange

Richards, Battye, Mason, Pelissier

Tries: Williams

Conversions: Dixon (1/1)

 

*Match report by Ross Williams

**Photography by Melanie Allatt

March
1st 7:45PM Hull KR SL

Tigers 32 - 16 Hull KR


In a brutal clash that saw four yellow cards shown, the Tigers proved to be the classier of the two sides, running in six tries to dispatch of the Robins.

There was a frantic pace to the early exchanges as the two sides battled to gain an early foothold in the contest. Completions rates were low across the board though, with handling errors galore inside the opening ten minutes. Pete Mata’utia created the best half-chance early on, scampering 40 yards from inside his own ten-metre, but more sloppiness in the next tackle from the Tigers meant his effort counted for nothing.

With mistakes mounting, it was only a matter of time before Castleford were punished. It was towering prop Mose Masoe who did the honours, rumbling over from short range to open the scoring. Ryan Shaw made short work of the extras.

The Rovers weren’t alone on the scoreboard for long, however. Perking up after their slow start, the Tigers almost immediately hit back as they marched up the field. Rather summing up the first quarter, Castleford’s opener came from a wild ricocheted ball that somehow found its way into the arms of Jordan Rankin. After a juggle, the Aussie half-back managed to reach over the line and grab his first try on home soil.

The try seemed to provide the Tigers with a bit of much-needed rhythm, and the hosts used it to their advantage, going back-to-back in order to take the lead for the first time. This one was as simple as you like. A smart ball out from dummy half and a rampaging Liam Watts on the crash did the business – the second Watts try in as many weeks.

The prop forward has been in sparkling form in the first month of the campaign, and he proved to be a real handful yet again, playing the team he once called his bitter rivals.

With the two sides going hammer-and-tong at each other in defence, points were seeming hard to come by, but the class of the Tigers shone through just before the break as they snagged one more first half try.

It was really slick hands from Castleford as they shifted the ball to the left. The final delivery came from skipper Michael Shenton, who fed Greg Eden for yet another try in black and amber.

Things were always going to be tough for the visitors in the second period, with injuries sustained in the opening 40 leaving Tim Sheens with no choice but to drastically re-align his players.

Plus, the Tigers were in no mood for mercy. Within five minutes of Castleford leaving the sheds, the lead was extended. A smart offload from Mata’utia sprung the overlap and James Clare did fantastically to finish off the four-pointer, planting the ball on the postage stamp of grass available to him.

To their credit though, the Robins weren’t going away. Before the score line could get too far away from them, Hull KR bounced back and it was Masoe once again who did the damage, using his sheer size and strength from a few yards out.

For a few moments, with the two packs really going at each other, the game was there for the taking.

However, the Tigers soon put an end to any resistance.

Eden scored his second of the evening after collecting a pinpoint Jake Trueman kick to the corner. Then, arguably the try of the match was scored by Chris Clarkson. In just his second start for the club, the back-rower put on the afterburners from 30 yards out and just kept on rolling, despite the attention of a host of Rovers defenders.

The result was all but sealed ten minutes before the end, but the drama wasn’t quite over. Referee Gareth Hewer had a busy end to his night, brandishing two yellow cards after Grant Millington and James Greenwood squared off and traded punches like a pair of champion heavyweights in the middle of the park.

Then, he remarkably had to dish out two more in the final moments, as Weller Hauraki and then Danny McGuire were given their marching orders, to the delight of the home faithful that the half-back once terrorised in Leeds colours.

With just ten players on the field, Hull KR somehow managed to score as the clock ticked down, but Chris Atkin’s effort had little effect on the overall result as the Tigers held onto a comfortable victory, remaining top of the Super League pile.

Full Time: Castleford Tigers 32-16 Hull Kingston Rovers

 

Castleford Tigers

Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, Rankin, Watts, McShane, Millington, Sene-Lefao, Clarkson, Massey

Interchange

Moors, Cook, Egodo, O’Neill

Tries: Rankin, Watts, Eden (2), Clare, Clarkson

Conversions: McShane (1/3), Rankin (3/3)

 

Hull Kingston Rovers

Dagger, Shaw, Keinhorst, Vaivai, Hall, McGuire, Drinkwater, Jewitt, Lee, Masoe, Linnett, Addy, Hauraki

Interchange:

Mulhern, Greenwood, Atkin, Lannon

Tries: Masoe (2), Atkin

Conversions: Shaw (2/3)

 

Attendance: 8,770

Man of the Match: Pete Mata’utia

Golden Gamble: 00020

 

*Match report by Ross Williams

**Photography by Melanie Allatt

7th 7:45PM Wolves SL

Wolves 24 - 10 Tigers


Greg Eden and Greg Minikin came up with scores for a Tigers side low on troops, but their efforts weren’t enough to stop last season’s Super League grand finalists.

With two of the top sides in the competition going head-to-head, a cagey start was almost guaranteed. In the opening exchanges, there was very little to split the sides as they traded possessions. However, a Tigers penalty after seven minutes opened the game up for the first real chance of the game.

Castleford booted the ball down field and set to work attacking the Wire line. Paul McShane came up with the decisive play, floating a kick to the left flank. Michael Shenton patted the ball down, and Eden came up with it, prior to waltzing in for the first points of the game.

The Tigers’ second chance came swiftly after, but the opportunity to go ten points up went begging as McShane uncharacteristically lost the ball after a smart run-around play with Liam Watts.

The black and amber were undoubtedly on top though, with Warrington barely threatening the Tigers’ 20-metre during the first quarter of the contest.

With a side of the Wolves’ quality however, it was never going to be too long before Steve Price’s team got themselves on the board. It was simple enough for Warrington when they got down the right end of the field. After Minikin shot the line hunting for a break-up tackle, James Clare was left in no-man’s-land to deal with a floated ball over to Jake Mamo. The former Huddersfield man finished well in the corner.

A few moments later, it was a similar story as Warrington hit the lead. This one was all about the put-down, with Mamo doing brilliantly to bring up his brace.

Castleford clawed back some territory after these two quick-fire scores, but the Wolves pack was making a real impact up the middle with every set they had.

Three minutes before the break, Warrington added to their lead, once again attacking the Tigers’ right side. This time, Jack Hughes came up with the points after averted the attention of the Castleford defence.

Half time followed, and it came at just the right time for the weary-looking Tigers. A breather and a re-group was required before a massive second period of 40 minutes.

When the sides re-emerged, Warrington remained in control, booting a penalty in the early going to extend the deficit to three scores.

The Tigers attempted to get things rolling, but Castleford’s depleted pack was struggling against the power of Warrington up the middle, and it wasn’t long before Wire struck again.

The towering Ben Murdoch-Masila came up with it, surging over the line with a strong run from 20 yards out.

There was a feeling around the ground that the floodgates could open at that point. However, the Tigers showed they had some steel about them in the aftermath of Murdoch-Masila’s try.

Enjoying a rare spell of pressure, Castleford worked the ball to the right flank and Minikin finished off the move superbly.

There was some energy about the Tigers now, but with the result just about in the bag for the hosts, it was mainly pride Castleford were playing for as we entered the final quarter of the game.

The visitors’ defence held up well, but Wire were allowing the Tigers little in attack as the clock ticked down.

The Wolves eased to the victory, leaving Daryl Powell and the Tigers plenty to dwell on ahead of next week’s clash with Salford Red Devils.

Full Time: Castleford Tigers 10-24 Warrington Wolves

 

Castleford Tigers

Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, Rankin, Watts, McShane, Moors, Sene-Lefao, Clarkson, Massey

Interchange

Foster, Cook, Egodo, O’Neill

Tries: Eden, Minikin

Conversions: Rankin (1/2)

 

Warrington Wolves

Ratchford, Mamo, Goodwin, King, Charnley, Austin, Patton, Hill, D. Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Tasi

Interchange

Murdoch-Masila, J. Clark, Philbin, Westwood

Tries: Mamo (2), Hughes, Murdoch-Masila

Conversions: Ratchford (3/4)

Penalty: Ratchford (1/1)

 

Attendance: 9,321

*Match report by Ross Williams

**Photography by Melanie Allatt

17th 3:30PM Red Devils SL

Tigers 24 - 20 Red Devils


A first try of the season for Nathan Massey - plus scores from Jordan Rankin, Greg Eden and Jesse Sene-Lefao secured the two Super League points, in what was a fiery encounter between the two in-form sides.

In the winter sunshine, it was the Tigers who started with the spring in their step and it took just seven minutes for the deadlock to be broken. With Salford on the back foot thanks to a repeat set, Jake Trueman split the visitors apart with a beautifully-weighted kick and – in a surprise to even him – Massey, fresh off signing a new two-year deal, latched onto the loose ball for a walk-in try.

Rankin converted with ease, but the points didn’t flow quite so easily after the opener.

Salford responded well, and much of the next fifteen minutes was played in the middle of the park, with neither side making much headway in their opposition’s red zone.

It took an error to spawn the next points of the game, and Kris Welham came up with it. The veteran centre spilled the ball close to his own line, handing Rankin an absolute gift. The half-back gratefully took the four points, and added two more with his boot a few moments later.

Twelve points to the good, the Tigers appeared comfortable as we entered the second quarter of the match. However, Salford soon burst into action. In a rare foray into Tigers territory, the Red Devils spread the ball right over to their left edge, allowing Jake Bibby to slide over and prolong his good form for the visitors.

Things then got even better for Salford as, just seconds after entering the fray, prop Adam Walker did (or said) something to get under Paul McShane’s skin. The Tigers’ hooker took exception, and was swiftly sent to cool off for ten minutes by referee Robert Hicks.

With an advantage in the numbers game for the final ten minutes of the half, Salford banged on the door but, with the Wheldon Road End at their backs, the black and amber held firm, quelling the Red Devils’ threat.

With McShane back in action at the start of the second period, the hooker began to pull the strings in his trademark style. Now attacking the home end of the ground, the Tigers found their mojo and, before long, the lead was extended as they shifted the ball to the left and Eden did what he does best in the corner.

However, the tide began to turn following this Castleford score.

After finding some momentum from somewhere, the Red Devils hit a purple patch, scoring back-to-back tries via Jansin Turgut and Joey Lussick. The latter converted both, putting Salford just two points adrift of the hosts.

As we approached the hour-mark, Eden looked to have pushed the Tigers further ahead, but Hicks pulled the try back for an obstruction in the build-up.

Castleford had seemingly regained the initiative though, and a moment of brilliance from McShane set Sene-Lefao up for what turned out to be a winning Castleford try.

A Rankin penalty nudged the Tigers further ahead as the clock ticked down, making Salford’s task just too difficult.

Bibby managed to get over for his brace with five minutes remaining, but there was no time for a comeback and the Tigers held on, maintaining their unbeaten home record before the visit of St Helens next week.

Full Time: Castleford Tigers 24-20 Salford Red Devils

 

Castleford Tigers

Mata’utia, Minikin, Foster, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, Rankin, Watts, McShane, Moors, Sene-Lefao, Holmes, Massey

Interchange

Milner, Cook, Egodo, Clarkson

Tries: Massey, Rankin, Eden, Sene-Lefao

Conversions: Rankin (3/4)

Penalty: Rankin (1/1)

 

Salford Red Devils

Evalds, Olpherts, Welham, Bibby, Sio, Lui, Hastings, Murray, Lussick, Dudson, Jones, Turgut, Flanagan

Interchange

Walker, Nakubuwai, Tomkins, Griffin

Tries: Bibby (2), Turgut, Lussick

Conversions: Sio (0/1), Lussick (2/3)

 

Attendance: 7,750

Rogerthorpe Manor Hotel Man of the Match: Pete Mata’utia

Golden Gamble: 01701

 

*Match report by Ross Williams

**Photography by Melanie Allatt

 

22nd 7:45PM Saints SL

Tigers 12 - 42 Saints


Justin Holbrook’s team were fantastic on the night, making things very difficult for a Castleford side that came out of the clash with only a Michael Shenton try to show for their efforts.

It took a matter of minutes for St Helens to show their table-topping credentials, as Lachlan Coote powered over from close range after receiving a short ball from Man of Steel contender James Roby.

Early doors, the game was played at an astounding pace, with both sides eager to throw the ball around in the hunt for space.

When Saints earned a penalty close to the Tigers’ line, it came as little surprise that Coote opted for the two points. Both sides – and their fans – needed a breather after an excellent, action-packed opening quarter of an hour.

Castleford heard the referee’s whistle far too much though as the half drew on, and a few errors also began to creep into their game. Naturally, Justin Holbrook’s side didn’t let these go unpunished, striking via Regan Grace directly from the scrum base following an Eden knock-on.

The Tigers could have really done with scoring next, to decrease the deficit. However, a crazy ball from Eden went to no one when the Tigers finally got themselves some possession – inviting Saints back in.

Dominique Peyroux obliged, soon waltzing his way over to put Saints 18 points up.

The Tigers attempted to hit back before the break, but the time wasn’t there for them, so they headed into the sheds without a point on the board.

Soon after the interval, Zeb Taia added to the Tigers’ misery, going in practically untouched as the visitors shifted the ball to the left.

Then, it was Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook’s turn to get over, running an almost identical line to his back-row counterpart.

It was champagne stuff from St Helens, and there didn’t appear to be anything the Tigers could do to stop the rout. With the current league leaders in full swing and Castleford right up against it, the visitors were practically scoring at will. Mark Percival was next, stretching his way over the line.

It looked as if Saints were in again as we hit the hour mark, as Theo Fages made a break from deep. However, the Tigers scrambled well and finally came up with some points. Skipper Michael Shenton reacted quickest to a wild ball, intercepting and turning Grace inside out on his way to picking up the four points.

With less than twenty minutes to play though, it was a matter of riding the rest of this one out for the Tigers.

Despite Castleford getting on the board, Saints still had their tails up and it wasn’t long before Peyroux grabbed his brace by rumbling over from dummy half.

Jonny Lomax polished things off for St Helens, finishing off another long-distance move under the posts.

The Tigers did have the final say, as Jake Trueman scored at the death, but it ultimately made little impact on a humbling defeat for Castleford.

Full Time: Castleford Tigers 12-42 St Helens

 

Castleford Tigers

Mata’utia, Minikin, Foster, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, Rankin, Watts, McShane, Millington, Holmes, Moors, Massey

Interchange

Clare, Milner, Sene-Lefao, Cook

Tries: Shenton, Trueman

Conversion: Rankin (2/2)

 

St Helens

Coote, Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace, Lomax, Fages, Walmsley, Roby, Thompson, Taia, Peyroux, Knowles

Interchange

Paulo, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Lees, Ashworth

Tries: Coote, Grace, Peyroux (2), Taia, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Percival, Lomax

Conversions: Coote (4/8)

Penalty: Coote (1/1)

 

Attendance: 8,042

R Collins & Co Insurance Brokers Man of the Match: Pete Mata’utia

Golden Gamble: 02898

 

*Match report by Ross Williams

**Photography by Melanie Allatt

28th 7:45PM Rhinos SL

Rhinos 21 - 20 Tigers


The Tigers came back from 16 points down to give themselves a chance of bringing home the two points, but Dwyer dealt the sickening blow inside the first minute of the additional ten.

The Rhinos came into the contest in desperation mode, after a torrid run of form which has seen them languish at the wrong end of the table.

With the home crowd behind them at a revamped Headingley Stadium, Leeds made their intentions known early on, scoring after just two minutes via a rampaging Konrad Hurrell.

The Tongan international benefitted from a stroke of luck, as Greg Minikin slipped in the line, but the finish was all class from the big man.

After the opener, the home side enjoyed the lion’s share of territory and looked to be the team on top in the first 20 minutes of the game. However, the Rhinos were unable to add to their lead thanks to some sturdy defence from the black and amber.

Having weathered the early storm, the Tigers found themselves a foothold in the game due to some strong stuff from the forward pack and Jake Trueman’s smart kicking game.

Before long, an opportunity emerged, and it fell to Liam Watts to do the honours. The prop – fresh off an England call-up midweek – channelled his inner halfback, running out wide and dummying his way over the whitewash. Peter Mata’utia hit the wood work with his conversion attempt.

When the scores were levelled though, it was all Leeds. The Tigers made a hash of the restart, and from there the hosts were dominant for a spell. Both Hurrell and Tom Briscoe looked to have added points to the board, but on both occasions the video referee turned the efforts down.

It was a case of third time lucky for the Rhinos though, when Hurrell found Ash Handley with a neat offload near to the line. The winger touched down, and there was no question about that one.

The Tigers otherwise survived the half in terms of tries, but Leeds did manage to notch two more points in the final minute after earning a penalty.

The Tigers could have done with a fast start to the second half, as they looked to get back on terms. However, the visitors struggled to work anything clinical early on, after a reshuffle that saw Calum Turner come on at full back in his first 2019 appearance.

Castleford were unfortunate five minutes into the half when a Trueman kick ricocheted off Kallum Watkins legs, giving the Leeds skipper the opportunity to pick up and race down the field. After some tracking by Turner, Liam Sutcliffe finished off the move, scoring off a Jack Walker offload.

Then a few moments later, the Rhinos were in again. This time, former test star Trent Merrin came up with the goods, crashing over from short range.

The signs looked ominous for the Tigers as we approached the final quarter. However, it soon became obvious that Castleford had not read the script.

On the hour-mark, Greg Minikin dived over on the right flank, instilling a belief that maybe – just maybe – a remarkable Castleford comeback was on.

Then, three minutes later, the western terrace was in full voice as Chris Clarkson got over on the last tackle, following an incredible set that included a sensational 70-yard break from Matt Cook – the unlikeliest of sources!

From absolutely nowhere, the Tigers were all of a sudden just four points shy of their bitter rivals, with time still on the clock.

The tension was palpable as the Castleford offence continued, so the away end simply ignited when Alex Foster grabbed the Tigers’ fourth try of the night, diving over to touch down Mata’utia’s grubber.

Turner failed to add the extras, so from there it was anyone’s game. Trueman tried twice to knock over a drop goal in the final moments – and the first even split the uprights, but it was called back for an obstruction.

Neither time could add a drop-goal, so we headed to golden point for the first time this season. From there, Dwyer did the business, giving the Rhinos the victory.

Full Time: Castleford Tigers 20-21 Leeds Rhinos

 

Castleford Tigers

Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, McShane, Watts, Milner, Millington, Sene-Lefao, Foster, Holmes

Interchange

Moors, Cook, Clarkson, Turner

Tries: Watts, Minikin, Clarkson

Conversion: Mata’utia (0/1), Turner (2/3)

 

Leeds Rhinos

Walker, Briscoe, Watkins, Hurrell, Handley, Sutcliffe, Myler, Peteru, Dwyer, Oledzki, Jones-Buchanan, Smith, Merrin

Interchange

Donaldson, Parcell, Singleton, Holroyd

Tries: Hurrell, Handley, Sutcliffe, Merrin

Conversions: Sutcliffe (0/2), Smith (1/2)

Penalty: Sutcliffe (1/1)

Drop goal: Dwyer

 

*Match report by Ross Williams

**Photography by Melanie Allatt

April
5th 7:45PM Warriors SL

Tigers 38 - 28 Warriors


The Tigers were as much as 20 points down in the first half, and looked dead and buried for large parts. However, Castleford refused to die and put in an unbelievable second half display – putting on 30 points of their own to down the cherry and whites.

In the early going, tensions were high with the two sets of rivals going toe-to-toe for the first time this season. Castleford seemed to be the team feeding off the energy though, as they had the best of the territory in the opening exchanges.

However, it was the visitors who found their way onto the board first. Joe Greenwood came up with the try, crashing over from short range. Then shortly after, Wigan’s lead was doubled as Oliver Gildart glided past the Tigers’ right edge on his way to the try line.

The Warriors had their tails firmly up in the middle part of the first half, and they could have hardly hoped for more joy down their left flank. With the Tigers unable to stem the flow, Wigan raced into a 20-0 lead, following further tries from George Williams and Joe Burgess.

It was a car crash of a start for the Tigers, but the first signs of a recovery came in the 27th minute as, in a rare venture into Wigan’s 20, Oliver Holmes did tremendously well to carry a host of defenders over the line and plant the ball down. Calum Turner failed to add the extras, but at least there was some life to the black and amber.

The final ten minutes of the first period was fairly even, though it was Wigan who struck next. Gildart was the scorer after chancing his arm from dummy half - the grounding looked suspect when the decision was sent upstairs, but the try was given by the video referee.

On the stroke of the half though, Castleford kept themselves just about in the contest. Smart stuff from Pete Mata’utia saw the Tigers’ number one go through a gap before laying on a beautifully delayed pass to an on-running Calum Turner. The youngster touched down, giving the Tigers the last laugh of the first half, albeit a stifled one.

When the two sides re-emerged, it was fairly clear that Wigan scoring first would all but seal the two points for the Warriors. However, the Tigers – buoyed by a Daryl Powell team talk – came out of the sheds with no intention of letting that happen.

Castleford’s defence firmed up, laying the platform for some early Tigers offence. It worked too, as after five minutes of the second half, Mitch Clark barged over for his first try of the campaign.

Mata’utia converted, and suddenly there was some newfound belief around the Mend-A-Hose Jungle. The noise levels lifted, and the boys obliged.

Within moments, the Tigers were in again. This time, it was a storming run up the gut from Matt Cook that did the business, bringing Castleford within four points of the visitors.

The turnaround was quite remarkable. From the dismal first half, this side in black and amber were unrecognisable.

Incredibly, after being as much as 20 points down during the early stages of the contest, the Tigers took the lead on the 50-minute mark. The trend of strong running up the middle continued, as Adam Milner picked up the ball and simply willed his way over the whitewash.

The impact of Clark and Cook was massive for the Tigers, and each deserved their warm ovation as they were giving a breather with 20 minutes left on the clock. The latter, in particular, put himself about like a man possessed.

The Warriors weren’t out of the equation though, not at all. With a quarter of an hour on the clock, Burgess grabbed his second, pushing Wigan back out to a two-point lead.

The deficit was almost increased a few moments later too, as Chris Kendall went upstairs to check a potential Wigan try. However, Dan Sarginson was adjudged to have knocked on in the build-up.

As we entered the final ten minutes, much like last week, the tension was unbearable.

After the first half performance, many could have argued the Tigers had no right to win this game but, still there was a chance.

With five minutes left, the Wheldon Road End nearly lost its roof as Tuoyo Egodo smartly went himself from dummy half and got over the whitewash.

Mata’utia came up with the clutch kick from the sideline, and suddenly the Tigers had a four-point lead at the death.

Wigan threw everything at the Tigers at the end, but there was nothing for the visitors. A last-ditch play only provided Castleford with the dagger, as Mata’utia swooped on the ball and scored to secure a memorable Tigers victory.

Full Time: Castleford Tigers 38-28 Wigan Warriors

 

Castleford Tigers

Turner, Clare, Egodo, Shenton, Eden, Mata’utia, Trueman, Watts, Milner, Millington, Holmes, Sene-Lefao, Massey

Interchange

Cook, Clark, Maher, O’Neill

Tries: Holmes, Turner, Clark, Cook, Milner, Egodo, Mata’utia

Conversion: Turner (0/2), Mata’utia (5/5)

 

Wigan Warriors

Hardaker, Manfredi, Sarginson, Gildart, Burgess, Williams, Sammut, Bullock, Leuluai, Navarette, Isa, Greenwood, Partington

Interchange

Byrne, Shorrocks, Smithies, Tautai

Tries: Greenwood, Gildart (2), Williams, Burgess (2)

Conversions: Hardaker (2/6)

 

Attendance: 6,839

Sponsors’ Man of the Match: Matt Cook

Golden Gamble: 02581

 

*Match report by Ross Williams

**Photography by Melanie Allatt

 

11th 7:45PM Giants SL

Giants 20 - 18 Tigers


Tries from Greg Eden and Matt Cook weren’t enough for the black and amber, as an Alex Mellor hat-trick led the Giants to victory.

After all the problems the Tigers have had with slow starts in recent weeks, Castleford seemed to have flipped the script in this one, taking the lead after just three minutes as Greg Eden intercepted a Kruise Leeming pass and raced away untouched.

However, familiar service resumed in the following ten minutes, culminating in the Giants bringing themselves on terms via Alex Mellor.

It was almost double trouble for the Tigers a few moments later, as Lee Gaskell crashed over. The officials were having none of it though, pulling the try back for an obstruction in the build-up.

After an even spell, the next points on the board came off Mata’utia’s boot, as the Tigers opted for the sticks when earning a penalty deep in Huddersfield’s half.

Daryl Powell’s decision to not roll on was testament to how close the game was at that stage.

With around fifteen minutes to play, it appeared that Jake Trueman had stretched his way over the line to score. However, Ben Thaler bizarrely opted to not ask a second opinion, and instantly waved off the try appeals, to the fury of the away end.

The two sides went at each other for the remainder of the first half, and both went close. Mike McMeeken for the Tigers, on his reappearance, reached his long frame towards the whitewash and very nearly got the ball down. Then, as time expired, Jermaine McGillvary looked to have touched down in the corner, but the video referee turned the England international’s effort down.

Therefore, just two points separated the sides at the break.

When the 26 men re-emerged, it was those wearing claret and gold that seemed the most energised in the early going. After just two minutes of the second period, Mellor was over for his second of the evening.

Thankfully, it didn’t take long for the Tigers to respond. The black and amber soon gained some momentum, costing Huddersfield three straight penalties and a team warning.

Seconds later, try-machine Matt Cook powered over for his second try in as many weeks, restoring the Tigers’ lead.

It was anything but plain sailing for Castleford from then on though. The Giants continuously threatened the Tigers’ line, though they rather curiously went for the sticks on a frequent basis when they earned penalties in Castleford’s half.

Two efforts from Darnell McIntosh put the Giants into the lead, but there was a feeling that the hosts could have acted more ruthlessly with the Tigers on the back foot.

Regardless, Huddersfield took the points, and it soon became apparent that there was something in the Kirklees water, as the Tigers then nailed two penalties of their own – restoring a slender two-point advantage.

As the minutes began to tick down at a rapid pace, there was precious little in the contest, giving the hosts every confidence they could snatch the two points. With just over ten minutes remaining, they acted on it, as Mellor slid over for his hat-trick.

For the third game on the spin, the Tigers had been dragged into a dramatic finish.

Two points down, with only a few minutes still on the clock, the Tigers started camping on Huddersfield’s line, forcing a number of repeat sets. Adam Milner went close, but gave away a penalty right on the whitewash after being held up by Adam O’Brien, leading to him heading to the sin bin.

This proved to be the Tigers’ last chance, securing the result for Huddersfield.

Full Time: Castleford Tigers 18-20 Huddersfield Giants

 

Castleford Tigers

Turner, Clare, Minikin, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, Mata’utia, Watts, Milner, Millington, Sene-Lefao, McMeeken, Moors

Interchange

Cook, Clark, O’Neill, Smith

Tries: Eden, Cook

Conversion: Mata’utia (2/2)

Penalty: Mata’utia (3)

 

Huddersfield Giants

McIntosh, McGillvary, Turner, Jake Wardle, Uate, Gaskell, Frawley, Ta’ai, Leeming, Matagi, Joe Wardle, Mellor, Murphy

Interchange

O’Brien, Roberts, Ikahihifo, Hewitt

Tries: Mellor (3)

Conversions: McIntosh (2/3)

Penalty: McIntosh (2)

 

Attendance: 4,684

*Match report by Ross Williams

**Photography by Melanie Allatt

18th 7:45PM Trinity SL

Tigers 28 - 26 Trinity


A first-half blitz from the Tigers looked to have wrapped the points up early for Castleford, but the visitors hit their straps in the second 40 and pushed the Tigers all the way.

The black and amber instantly put themselves on the back foot in the contest, booting the opening kick-off out on the full. However, the hosts quickly re-grouped, providing Wakefield little scope with which to attack their line.

The opening ten minutes of the contest were physically gruelling, as both sides attempted to batter the other up the middle. The league’s two in-form props, David Fifita and Liam Watts, took centre stage here, trading punishing runs by the set.

It was only a matter of time before the Tigers tested their opponents out wide though. It was a lofted kick that heralded the first points of the game; Mason Caton-Brown failed to deal with it and James Clare couldn’t have been more grateful, as he pounced on the ball and raced away to score.

This initial try seemed to stun Trinity, and Castleford showed no mercy as they began to smell blood in the water. A few moments later, following an exceptional defensive set from the Tigers, Jesse Sene-Lefao barged his way over to double the lead. The big Samoan suffered for his efforts though, picking up a shoulder injury as he planted the ball down.

With their tails firmly up now, the Tigers were relentless. Before long, Clare had his second of the evening after a fantastic offload from Mike McMeeken. Then, around 25 minutes into the contest, Castleford went 22 points up.

With Watts pulling the strings in typical fashion, Daniel Smith was sent through a gap before finding Cory Aston in support. The half-back proceeded to finish under the posts for a memorable debut try.

Wakefield showed some fight towards the back end of the half, and finally found their way onto the scoreboard via Caton-Brown with a few minutes to spare. However, it was the Tigers who ended the half on top. In the final moments, Castleford earned two penalties within Trinity’s half, but Pete Mata’utia pushed them both wide - the latter as time expired.

After the break, the Tigers were bang on it, leaving Wakefield struggling to cope with the pressure. After seven minutes, Castleford extended their lead, with Greg Minikin wrestling his way over from short range.

The visitors weren’t ready to roll over just yet though, this was a derby after all. Following Minikin’s try, Wakefield began to put something together, picking up yardage they had struggled to find up to that point. Before long, Caton-Brown had his brace, leaping over Clare to grab a Ryan Hampshire kick.

Wakefield’s task was always going to be difficult though, especially with the mood the Tigers had been in for most of the evening.

With just over twenty minutes to play, Mata’utia booted the Tigers 20 points ahead, giving the hosts a clear four-score lead. However, Trinity replied instantly via Joe Arundel, with Hampshire converting.

A game that had seemed sorted at the break now had an edge to it, and even more so when Ben Reynolds – a former Tigers academy product – crossed with twelve minutes still on the clock.

Then, it was Tinirau Arona’s turn to try and spoil the party, as he reacted quickest to a loose ball and touched down in the corner. Hampshire nailed the conversion, bring the visitors within just two.

The atmosphere within the ground reacted accordingly, hitting a fever pitch as we hit the final few moments, with the game hanging on a knife edge.

Trinity had their chances to steal the result, but ultimately Castleford’s resolve stood firm as they held on to claim the Adam Watene Trophy and the all-important two Super League points.

Full Time: Castleford Tigers 28-26 Wakefield Trinity

 

Castleford Tigers

Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, Aston, Watts, Milner, Sene-Lefao, Holmes, McMeeken, Massey

Interchange

Moors, Clark, O’Neill, Smith

Tries: Clare (2), Sene-Lefao, Aston, Minikin

Conversion: Mata’utia (3/5)

Penalties: Mata’utia (1/3)

 

Wakefield Trinity

Jowitt, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Arundel, Caton-Brown, Reynolds, Hampshire, Fifita, Wood, Arona, Ashurst, Kirmond, Crowther

Interchange

Pauli, Kopczak, King, Hirst

Tries: Caton-Brown (2), Arundel, Reynolds, Arona

Conversions: Hampshire (3/5)

 

Attendance: 9316

Sponsors’ Man of the Match: Liam Watts

Golden Gamble: 03413

 

*Match report by Ross Williams

**Photography by Melanie Allatt

 

22nd 6:00PM Dragons SL

Dragons 37 - 16 Tigers


Two tries from Greg Eden and a spirited fightback in the second half saw the Tigers claw back to 25-16 but the Dragons kicked on in the closing stages to claim the two points.

Catalans opened the scoring in the South of France as Julien Bousquet powered his way over the line for a typical front rower’s try.

Tony Gigot crossed next for the Dragons after a passage of play which saw Matt Whitley show why he is becoming a fans favourite in Catalans. The second rower earned a penalty that put his side in an attacking position and then managed to wriggle his arm free to allow his fullback to cross.

With half time approaching, Castleford managed to work up some pressure on the Dragons try line with multiple back to back sets. A well worked run around between Moors and McShane allowed the hooker to slide a grubber kick through for Greg Eden to dot down for the Tigers only points of the half.

Castleford started the brighter of the two side in the second half as Michael Shenton looked to be over the try line but David Mead pulled of a pivotal tackle to haul down the Tigers skipper and prevent the try.

The tackle from Mead proved even more beneficial for the home side as the winger was involved in the game again as the Dragons extended their lead. Mead, with ball in hand, kicked back on the inside. The ball landed in the hands of James Clare but Greg Bird ripped it from the Castleford winger and dived over.

Castleford’s bad luck continued as just before the hour mark, Shenton had to be helped from the field with an ankle injury. One positive however for the Tigers was the debut of promising youngster Lewis Peachey.

After seeing his side go down by one point the last time they played on home turf, Gigot knocked over a drop goal to push the score to 19-4 in favour of the Dragons.

Bousquet crossed for his second try after a slick pass from fellow prop Sam Kasiano. Tomkins continued his form with the boot kicking his fourth conversion.

Immediately from the restart, Castleford bagged their second try of the game as Tomkins tried to bat the ball backwards towards his own try line but the player that reacted fastest was Eden, who scooped the ball up and raced over for the score.

It was a quick fire double for the Tigers as they worked a repeat set and a short break from greg Minkin allowed the centre to put Cory Aston over for his second try in two games.

Any chance of a comeback from the Tigers was extinguished as Tomkins wriggled his arm free and offloaded to Whitley who dotted down.

With just a minute remaining in the game, there was still time for Sam Tomkins to slide over after another offload from the Dragons team.


Castleford Tigers: Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, Aston, Watts, McShane, Smith, Moors, McMeeken, Milner
Castleford Tigers Subs: Clark, Maher, Peachey, Clarkson

Castleford Tries – Eden (2), Aston
Castleford Conversions -  Mata’utia (2/3)

Catalans Dragons: Gigot, Mean, Langi, Williame, Tierney, Bird, Tomkins, Bousquet, Da Costa, Moa, Goudemand, Whitley, Casty
Catalans Dragons Subs: Simon, Baitieri, Kasiano, Edwards

Catalans Tries – Bousquet (2), Gigot, Bird, Whitley, Tomkins
Catalans Conversions – Tomkins (6/6)
Catalans Drop Goal – Gigot

*Photo Courtesy of Melanie Allatt Photography

27th 5:00PM Warriors SL

Warriors 6 - 4 Tigers


A pair of penalties from Peter Mata’utia were all the Tigers had to show from the game in terms of points, although the performance was markedly better than that fact suggests, against a resilient Wigan outfit.

The opening portion of the game offered little in terms of flash-points, with both sides trying to deal with the difficult Lancastrian conditions. However, the Tigers were notably on top of proceedings, commanding much of the territory in the opening fifteen minutes.

Pressure didn’t equal points though, as the Tigers’ handling let them down early on. Despite being the team on the back foot, it was Wigan who went closest to striking first. It looked as if Zak Hardaker had scored against his former team after a ricochet, but referee Chris Kendall sent the decision upstairs and the four points were chalked off for a knock-on.

Clearly, points were going to be at a premium this afternoon, with very little in the way of open space.

After the initial scare, the Tigers responded well via their middles, dominating the forward battle. The clinical edge in the final third was still missing though, so it made sense when Peter Mata’utia opted for the posts when Castleford were awarded a penalty after 25 minutes.

The full-back split the uprights, giving the Tigers a slender 2-0 lead.

As the half drew to a close, the visitors continued to be the team with the initiative, regularly threatening the Wigan line.

The Warriors’ defence was sturdy though, so Castleford came out of the period with just another penalty to show from their efforts.

It had been a low-scoring half, but one that the Tigers certainly had the better of.

With just four points separating the sides entering the second half, a tight 40 minutes was all but assured.

In the first ten, the Tigers picked up where they’d left things, hitting Wigan with waves of attack. However, on a rare occasion where they got on a roll following a Tuoyo Egodo error, Wigan managed to hit the front via Sam Powell.

Hardaker added the extras, giving the hosts a two-point lead with 25 minutes left on the clock.

From there, the contest was truly on a knife-edge, with both sides struggling to get through due to top defence all round.

It was clearly a case of next-try-winner, meaning the tension within the DW Stadium was palpable as the clock ticked down. Both sides had their chances, but the best fell to the Tigers with four minutes to play, following a Wigan knock-on in their own half.

However, Wigan held firm, securing the two competition points for the hosts.

Full Time: Castleford Tigers 4-6 Wigan Warriors

 

Castleford Tigers

Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, Egodo, Eden, Trueman, Aston, Watts, McShane, Maher, McMeeken, Clarkson, Massey

Interchange

Milner, Clark, Peachey, Smith

Tries:

Conversions:

Penalties: Mata’utia (2/2)

 

Wigan Warriors

Hardaker, Marshall, Hankinson, Gildart, Burgess, Williams, Shorrocks, Flower, Leuluai, Bullock, Isa, Greenwood, Partington

Interchange

O’Loughlin, Powell, Tautai, Smithies

Tries: Powell

Conversions: Hardaker (1/1)

 

Attendance: 10,058

 

*Match report by Ross Williams

**Photography by Melanie Allatt

May
3rd 7:45PM Wolves SL

Tigers 14 - 26 Wolves


A late comeback of sorts, fuelled by tries from Tuoyo Egodo and Greg Minikin, gave the Tigers hope late on, but the damage Warrington did shortly after the break proved to be too much.

The early goings were steady for both sides, but Castleford certainly didn’t come out of the blocks looking like a side coming off a two-game slide. A Jake Trueman 40/20 after five minutes set the tone for the Tigers and a few moments later, the Castleford were on the board.

A wayward kick from Blake Austin was allowed to bounce by the hosts, before Mike McMeeken pounced on the loose ball and sped through a gaping hole in the Wolves’ defence. The in-form back-rower did exceptionally well, drawing Stefan Ratchford before sending a supporting Cory Aston under the posts. Peter Mata’utia added the extras.

The Wolves hit straight back though, levelling things up shortly after via a rampaging run from Mike Cooper.

Pre-game, this one had been tough to predict and the first half fit that script. Chances at the try line were few and far between, with the action in the middle of the park taking centre stage.

The Tigers were rocked as they lost Paul McShane to a knock early on, but Adam Milner came in and did a great job in his old hooker role.

There were fireworks aplenty too, with Warrington’s Austin playing the role of pantomime villain. The Tigers stuck to their task though, and they were granted a fair bit of respect from the Wolves when Stefan Ratchford opted for the two when they were given a penalty deep in Tigers’ territory.

With half an hour played, it looked as if the Tigers had hit the front, but Tuoyo Egodo couldn’t quite get the ball over the whitewash. Instead, after the video referee turned down Castleford’s effort, the Wolves extended their lead via Toby King – who was gifted the four points after Greg Eden failed to deal with an Austin kick to the corner.

No more tries came during the first half, but Warrington were allowed to push themselves two points further ahead, with a penalty as time expired.

Straight after the interval, it was the Wolves who grabbed the initiative, scoring almost instantly as Toby King grabbed his brace. Then, just a few minutes later, the primrose and blue struck again – this time through Ben Currie.

It looked like the floodgates had opened when Ryan Atkins chased down an attacking kick and seemingly touched down, but Robert Hicks in the video booth came to the Tigers’ rescue, judging that the veteran centre hadn’t grounded the ball properly.

It was a similar story a little later on, with Jack Hughes grounding the ball this time. Still though, no points added after a look upstairs.

Despite absorbing a mass of Warrington pressure, it was in fact the Tigers that scored next. Some smart hands up the right side set Egodo free and the winger made no mistake in the corner.

All of a sudden, there was a bit of a spring in the Castleford step, and the fans responded. The noise levels lifted, and now the Tigers were on the front foot.

Once again, with fifteen minutes on the clock, the hosts opted to go to the right flank, providing Greg Minikin with the opportunity of four points.

Out of nowhere, we had a twelve-point ballgame, and everything to play for.

The Tigers threw everything at the Wolves in the time left, but Warrington’s defence held firm to their credit. Mike McMeeken very nearly got over with a couple of minutes remaining, but time was always going to be against Castleford regardless.

The Wolves held on, taking home the two points.

 

Full Time: Castleford Tigers 14-26 Warrington Wolves

 

Castleford Tigers

Mata’utia, Egodo, Minikin, Blair, Eden, Trueman, Aston, Watts, McShane, Maher, Clarkson, McMeeken, Massey

Interchange

Milner, Clark, Turner, Smith

Tries: Aston, Egodo, Minikin

Conversion: Mata’utia (1/1), Turner (0/2)

 

Warrington Wolves

Ratchford, Johnson, King, Atkins, Charnley, Austin, Patton, Hill, D. Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Davis

Interchange

Philbin, Akauola, Clark, Livett

Tries: Cooper, King (2), Currie

Conversions: Ratchford (2/4)

Penalty: Ratchford (2/2)

 

Attendance: 5,323

Tip Tankers Services Man of the Match: Tuoyo Egodo

Golden Gamble: 06267

 

*Match report by Ross Williams

**Match photography by Melanie Allatt

16th 7:45PM Rhinos SL

Rhinos 8 - 30 Tigers


The second meeting of the two teams in the Betfred Super League at the ground this season was headed by the opening of the Rhinos’ new North Stand facility, with fireworks and much fanfare pre-empting the start of a match that the Tigers controlled well in the opening exchanges despite a penalty goal for the home side in the 10th minute somewhat against the run of play.

However, the remainder of the half belonged to Cas, who posted the game’s first try after turning down a kickable penalty of their own shortly afterwards. The field position led to Jesse Sene-Lefao going over from Paul McShane’s short pass out of dummy half.

It prompted a bright spell from Daryl Powell’s side as Greg Minikin and Sene-Lefao both went close to extending their side’s lead before a sin binning to Leeds captain Kallum Watkins for a dangerous tackle on Greg Eden further extended Cas’ advantage in the match. The Tigers winger himself capitalised on the additional space shortly afterwards as he collected a wonderful cut-out pass from Jake Trueman to go over in the left corner, Peter Mata’utia adding his second conversion of the game to open up a 12-2 gap at half-time.

The lead could and arguably should have been cut on the stroke of the hooter as Watkins broke through on his return to the field, but Matt Parcell couldn’t take in his pass with the line gaping and the Tigers scrambled to safety, as they had done throughout the opening 40 during Leeds’ limited chances to attack the away end.

Cas started the second half much as they had done the first, happy to play out their sets and trade blows with the Rhinos until an opportunistic bit of play from Mike McMeeken set his team on the offensive, his ball steal taking the Tigers deep into opposition territory. From there, Matt Cook laid the platform with a strong carry to centre field from which McShane and Trueman combined to swing it left, Sene-Lefao then taking the latter’s short pass through a gap in the defence for his second try of the match five minutes after the restart.

Mata’utia nailed the conversion from out wide once again only for the Rhinos to strike back with their opening score of the game after McMeeken was harshly penalised whilst in possession for stepping of the mark. Parcell was the player to benefit as he crossed under the posts to start a spell of Leeds momentum that was abruptly ended by the Tigers crossing for their fourth try of the match, James Clare dotting down a loose ball in the in-goal area after Jordan Rankin’s lofted kick was spilled under pressure.

It was now Powell’s men who had their tails up and they struck again with the try of the game with 15 minutes remaining. Another good defensive set restricted the Rhinos inside their own half and Mata’utia gathered the clearing kick with pace, skipping on the outside of the chasers to send Eden racing into the backfield and he calmly passed inside to put the supporting Trueman over in front of the jubilant travelling Cas fans.

From there, and with the game wrapped up, the Tigers were content to see out the contest ahead of a trip to Liverpool for the Dacia Magic Weekend next Sunday.

 

Full Time: Castleford Tigers 30-8 Leeds Rhinos

 

Castleford Tigers

Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, Blair, Eden, Trueman, Aston, Watts, McShane, Millington, Sene-Lefao, McMeeken, Massey

Interchange

Milner, Cook, Clark, Rankin

Tries: Sene-Lefao (2), Eden, Clare, Trueman

Conversion: Mata’utia (5/5)

 

Leeds Rhinos

Lolohea, Briscoe, Newman, Watkins, Handley, McLelland, Myler, Peteru, Dwyer, Singleton, Smith, Sutcliffe, Merrin

Interchange

Oldezki, Parcell, Donaldson, Seumanufagai

Tries: Parcell

Conversions: Sutcliffe (1/1),

Penalty: Sutcliffe (1/1)

Sin Bin: Watkins

 

*Match report by Matt Holden

**Photography by SWPix

26th 6:00PM Saints MW
June
7th 7:45PM Giants SL
13th 7:45PM Hull FC SL
21st 7:45PM Red Devils SL
30th 3:30PM Broncos SL
July
7th 3:30PM Rhinos SL
12th 7:45PM Trinity SL
21st 3:30PM Wolves SL
August
4th 3:00PM Hull KR SL
10th 7:30PM Broncos SL
16th 7:45PM Giants SL
30th 7:45PM Saints SL
September
8th 3:30PM Hull FC SL
13th 7:45PM Warriors SL
December
30th 1:30PM Rovers FR

Tigers 56 - 0 Rovers


A home side littered with youngsters and fringe players completed a professional job in the festive fixture, with a number of them making claims for future first team action.

The Tigers wasted little time in stamping their authority on the game, scoring inside the first five minutes via Kieran Gill, after some smart handling from Jake Sweeting and Joe Wardle.

After the initial assault on their line, Featherstone eased their way into the contest in the following fifteen minutes. However, the Rovers showed little in terms of a tangible attacking threat. Therefore, it was inevitable that the hosts would also bag the second score of the afternoon.

It came via familiar means, with Gill going in at the corner thanks to a one-handed offload, this time from Tuoyo Egodo.

Then, five minutes later, Gill completed a wonderful first half hat-trick. The set started with an outstanding take from the winger on his own goal line, and ended with him stretching over the whitewash, after benefitting from a Wardle break down the left flank.

The first half was playing out as you would expect an early pre-season friendly would but, with a few minutes remaining of the opening 40, the Mend-A-Hose Jungle were reminded of the little love lost between the Tigers and their local rivals.

A scuffle broke out in the middle of the park which saw a pair of players sent to the sin bin. The identity of the Rovers player surprised few, as Ryan Bailey made the short walk to the sheds. Youngster Robbie Storey saw yellow for the Tigers, after standing his ground against the often-feared veteran prop.

With 24 players on the paddock, Castleford took advantage of the space as time expired, scoring their fourth try of the afternoon through James Clare. Centre Greg Minikin was instrumental in the build-up, feeding his winger with a beautiful flick pass.

Much like the first, the second period began with a quick try from the Tigers as they extended their advantage. This time it was Lewis Carr who – after a prolific 2018 with the Tigers academy – struck just two minutes into his first team debut.

Then, swiftly after, it was Minkin’s turn to wrestles his way over the whitewash, further adding to Featherstone’s woes.

As time progressed, the Tigers’ line-up became ever younger, but it did little to affect the quality that Castleford were serving up.

Brad Jinks was impressive in the hooker role, and it was his quick thinking that earned the Tigers a penalty that led to the hosts’ next score. With the Rovers outmatched, all it took was some quick hands to the right edge to provide Clare with his second of the afternoon.

The demolition continued as we entered the final quarter of the contest. Egodo continuously proved that he was too big and too fast for his opposite numbers to deal with, making it very easy for Carr to secure his brace.

With time beginning to run down, the Tigers remained on the offensive. Aston remained imperious, booting a 40/20 out of nowhere. No points came from that proceeding set, but Castleford didn’t have to wait too long as Jake Sweeting scooped up a loose ball and raced 80 yards to the line.

Soon after, the 50 came up for the Tigers as Calum Turner got in on the act, stepping his way past a number of would-be tacklers close to the whitewash.

There was just time at the death for Carr to dive over in the corner, securing his hat-trick.

That proved to be the final score of the afternoon, much to the relief of the visiting Featherstone supporters.

All-in-all, a productive run-out for the Tigers, and one that puts them in good stead ahead of the rest of pre-season and the 2019 campaign ahead.

Full Time: Castleford Tigers 56-0 Featherstone Rovers

 

Castleford Tigers

Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, Egodo, Gill, Aston, Sweeting, Cook, Jinks, Clark, Wardle, Storey, Summers

Interchange

Turner, Fella, Carr, Hall, Graham, Dobson, Doyle

Tries: Gill (3), Clare (2), Carr (3), Minikin, Sweeting, Turner

Conversions: Aston (5/11)

Featherstone Rovers

Hartley, Taylor, Hallett, Hardcastle, McDaniel, Tansey, Punchard, Cooper, Maskill, Darly, Day, Harrison, Lockwood

Interchange

Beckett, Bailey, French, Hawkins, Richardson, Cranswick, Waite-Pullen

Tries:

Conversions:

 

Attendance: 3,098

Golden Gamble: 15902

GMB Man of the Match: Calum Turner

*Match report by Ross Williams

*Photo courtesy of Simon Hall