Classy Cas down champions
Posted: Sunday 15th March 2020 - 5:26 PM
Castleford Tigers beat defending champions St Helens following a superb performance in the Betfred Super League.
With a flurry of fixtures suspended due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the eyes of the sporting world fell on the Mend-A-Hose Jungle and the Tigers didn’t disappoint with a ruthless display seeing them rack up a 28-14 victory.
Cas went into the game eager to make up for a last-minute defeat to Warrington last time out and they were able to recall winger James Clare as he overcame his bout of illness. England international Liam Watts also returned to the front row after missing out last Friday with a finger injury, whilst Saints were close to full-strength themselves with influential full back Lachlan Coote back in the side and setting up two tries.
However, the game was dominated by Daryl Powell’s men for large periods and they got off to a flyer early on to set up the foundations for an impressive win built on a game plan of sending plenty of ball to their dominant right edge.
Winger Derrell Olpherts had a score chalked off for an obstruction in the build-up early on but Cas persevered and the first points of the contest game down that side when Peter Mata’utia crashed over from Danny Richardson’s short pass on the last tackle.
Richardson added the extras against his former club and better was to come for the home side as they stretched their advantage at the end of the first quarter. This time the field position came following great work from Cheyse Blair, who worked hard at marker to force an error from James Roby, and the Tigers again went at the same edge for their second score, Olpherts not to be denied this time after he finished off lovely hands from Richardson, Mata’utia and Jordan Rankin to make it 10-0.
A high shot on Rankin saw Saints prop Matty Lees sent to the bin as the game reached the half-hour mark and Cas continued their hot streak with a third score of the afternoon. Skipper Michael Shenton teed up the chance with a searing run down the left touchline and more good work from Jake Trueman on the next tackle created the space for quick hands to the right where Olpherts acrobatically touched down for his second try of the contest, the video ref giving the nod on a wonderful finish.
Tommy Makinson pulled a score back with the final play of the half and the Fords did well to survive a further three consecutive sets at the start of the second as Saints came on strong before the pendulum swung back in Cas’ favour when Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook was binned for a late and high shot on Richardson as the half back got away a high kick.
The Tigers then rode another spell of pressure from the defending champions before striking a decisive blow. It was Cheyse Blair this time who capitalised on more good play down that heavily targeted right flank, the Australian switching to the centre position following a head knock for Mata’utia for the second consecutive match and powering to the line after another flowing passing move.
Richardson again couldn’t find the target with the boot from a difficult position out wide but two quickfire penalties from the scrum half put the Tigers 22-4 in front heading into the final 10 minutes.
Jack Welsby and Luke Thompson pulled back late consolations for the away side but a try from Trueman five minutes from time was enough to seal the spoils in front of a jubilant Wheldon Road End.
Full Time: Castleford Tigers 28-14 St Helens
Rankin, Olpherts, Mata’utia, Shenton, Clare, Trueman, Richardson, Watts, McShane, Griffin, Blair, McMeeken, Massey
Millington, Milner, Sene-Lefao, Smith
Tries: Olpherts (2), Mata’utia, Blair, Trueman
Conversions: Richardson (2/5)
Penalty: Richardson (2/2)
Coote, Makinson, Naiqama, Welsby, Grace, Lomax, Fages, Walmsley, Roby, Thompson, Taia, Peyroux, Knowles
McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Lees, Amor, Smith
Tries: Makinson, Welsby, Thompson
Conversions: Makinson (1/3)
Sin Bin: Lees, McCarthy-Scarsbrook
*Match report by Matt Holden
**Photography by Simon Hall
***Golden Gamble number: 008987
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