Semi Final Defeat For Cas
Posted: Friday 5th October 2018 - 11:10 PM
Castleford Tigers’ 2018 season came to an untimely end on Friday night as they were put to the sword 14-0 by Wigan Warriors in the Super League semi-final.
A scoreless performance from the Tigers means there will be no repeat Old Trafford appearance for the Fords this year. Tries from Tommy Leuluai and Sam Tomkins, along with a fantastic defensive display from the hosts, ultimately secured Castleford’s fate.
A suitably crackling atmosphere awaited the two sides as they emerged into the cauldron of the DW Stadium and, early on, it was clear that feeding off the noise was going to be vital for the Tigers.
As anticipated, things were on a knife edge in the initial exchanges and tensions even threatened to boil over ten minutes in as a high shot from Luke Gale sparked a melee close to the Castleford line. Wigan benefitted from the ensuing penalty as Tommy Leuluai sneaked over from close range.
The Tigers seemed unfazed by the deficit though and, in the following minutes, they arguably dominated the game. After struggling to find territory early on, Gale was now pinning the Warriors back inside their own ten-metre, forcing the hosts to attack from deep.
Points were hard to come by though, and the visitors’ commitment to kicking early in the tackle count didn’t pay dividends in the try-tally.
All-in-all, the first half of the contest was a Super League semi-final in a nutshell, with both sides meeting each other with healthy doses of fire and brimstone. Certainly not one for the faint of heart.
Sam Tomkins slotted a drop goal as time in the first half expired, opening up a two-score margin for the Warriors. However, that was far from unreachable, even in the gladiator pit of semi-final football.
The Tigers looked the more likely of the two sides they re-emerged onto the paddock. However, it was Wigan who showed their hand first, as Tomkins slid over in the corner to extend the Warriors’ lead to 11 points.
In the pressure cooker environment, the Tigers’ forward pack did everything in their power to match Wigan and, for the most part, they succeeded in the middle of the park.
However, as time began to run down ever quicker, a lack of composure in the backs from the Tigers was evident – and the depleted completion rate only served to back up this point.
Castleford were hounded through their lack of ideas in attack. However, with a grand final place at stake, caution was always going to be thrown to the wind eventually.
As we entered the final quarter, the knocks on the Wigan door became more frequent – Greg Eden’s effort in the corner a notable example – but to their credit, the Warriors’ defence was for the most part, solid as a rock.
Ultimately, errors were the Tigers’ undoing. As the game reached its climax, they continued to mount, leaving any thoughts of the most remarkable comeback extremely unrealistic.
A Tomkins penalty put the result to bed, followed by a drop-goal at the death, leaving the Tigers to lick their wounds in the final moments.
Full Time: Castleford Tigers 0-14 Wigan Warriors
Mata’utia, Clare, Wardle, Shenton, Eden, Roberts, Gale, Watts, McShane, Millington, Holmes, McMeeken, Massey
Webster, Milner, Sene-Lefao, Clark
Tomkins, Manfredi, Gildart, Sarginson, Davies, Williams, Leuluai, Navarette, Powell, Flower, Greenwood, Bateman, O’Loughlin
Escare, Sutton, Clubb, Farrell
Tries: Leuluai, Tomkins
Conversions: Tomkins (1/2)
Penalties: Tomkins (1/2)
Drop Goal: Tomkins
*Match Report by Ross Williams