Classy Cas comeback downs Red Devils
Posted: Thursday 3rd September 2020 - 10:27 PM
The Tigers got their restart up and running with victory over Salford in a high-scoring thriller at Emerald Headingley Stadium.
In a must-win game for both sides in the race for the play-offs, it proved to be one of the most entertaining Betfred Super League fixtures since the competition got back underway as Castleford came from 18 points behind to secure a vital 37-30 victory with Danny Richardson and Paul McShane pulling the strings as a duo in the absence of Jake Trueman.
A first win in four attempts over the summer looked a long way off early on for the Tigers as Salford got off to a flyer and raced into an 18-0 lead with Kevin Brown intercepting a loose pass from the Tigers to set them on their way inside three minutes.
Brown then put full back Niall Evalds over with a lovely inside ball shortly afterwards before Joey Lussick took full advantage of some overwhelming possession to burrow over from dummy half and leave Cas with a mountain to climb inside the first quarter.
However, the Tigers came roaring back with some inspired attacking play of their own, with Man of the Match Richardson and McShane at the heart of it. It was Richardson who got his side back in the contest initially with some instinctive play on the last tackle as he got on the end of a Liam Watts offload and threaded a low kick in behind the Salford defence before regathering himself for a try that he converted.
Skipper Michael Shenton was the next to find the try line as he was put through a hole by Paul McShane after the space was created with a lovely run-around play. It was all Cas at this stage and McShane turned from provider to scorer as he capped a good spell of possession by powering over from close range – the video ref giving the nod – before the hooker made it two in two minutes with arguably the try of the game with 31 minutes on the clock.
Watts again started that move with another pass out of the tackle on half way and McShane capitalised on the space to send Gareth O’Brien racing into the backfield. Richardson pushed up in support and with the Salford defence converging, he popped a perfect inside ball to send McShane galloping under the sticks.
A fourth goal from Richardson gave the Tigers an incredible 24-18 advantage heaving turned the match on its head but Salford locked the scores up at the break when Luke Yates charged over a minute before half-time to leave things delicately poised once again.
After eight tries in the first half between the sides, it was no surprise that they continued to flow when play got back underway. This time it was the Tigers who came out of the blocks quickest with another superb score built around a third key offload from Watts in midfield as he rode the tackle before flicking away a perfect pass. Richardson was on his shoulder to make the break and he had Mike McMeeken on his outside to finish off.
Salford winger Rhys Williams hit back with a strong finish in the left corner that left Cas again questioning some soft defence, and with both kickers maintaining their perfect records with the boot the game was level heading into the final quarter.
It was the Tigers who were finishing the stronger of the two sides though and Richardson ended the game’s first real attritional period by coolly slotting over a drop goal with 15 minutes left on the clock to nudge his side back in front for a third time. It then fell on the half back to secure the spoils as he stepped up to strike another killer blow eight minutes from time as he spotted the call of Grant Millington to thread a delicate kick through the defensive line for an easy try.
Richardson’s conversion gave the Tigers a two-score lead for the first time at 37-30 and there was no way back for the Red Devils as Cas claimed a vital two points.
Full Time: Salford Red Devils 30-37 Castleford Tigers
Salford Red Devils
Evalds, Inu, Welham, Kear, Williams, Lolohea, Brown, Dudson, Lussick, Yates, Greenwood, McCarthy, Flanagan
Pauli, Ikahihifo, Burke, Ackers
Tries: Brown, Evalds, Lussick, Yates, Williams
Conversions: Inu (5/5)
O’Brien, Olpherts, Foster, Shenton, Eden, Mata’utia, Richardson, Watts, McShane, Griffin, Holmes, McMeeken, Massey
Millington, Milner, Moors, Turner
Tries: McShane (2), Richardson, Shenton, McMeeken, Millington
Conversions: Richardson (6/6)
Drop Goal: Richardson
*Match report by Matt Holden
**Photography by Simon Hall
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