Local bragging rights were up for grabs as fifth places Castleford Tigers hosted a Wakefield Trinity side who are currently ninth, but have a game in hand. A seven point win for the visitors would see them above their hosts but a big home win could see them top the table, depending on other results in round four.
The Tigers had a disappointing trip to the south of France last weekend where they lost out to the Catalans Dragons and they welcome back talisman Peter Mata’utia after he missed the last two games through suspension. Wakefield named an unchanged line-up from the side which beat the Warrington Wolves last time out.
Windy conditions threw a pre-match curve ball to both coaches but a big crowd anticipated a competitive game.
Some early magic from Joe Arundel, stealing the ball in a one-on-one tackle deep in the Tigers twenty, gained great field position. Joe Westerman was on hand on the second tackle to crash the line for the games opener. Ryan Hampshire added the conversion for a great start with just six minutes on the clock.
Castleford were penalised for not standing square at the tackler on ten minutes with Hampshire accepting a gilt edged invitation to add another two points.
On thirteen Cheyse Blair got the Tigers account when he grounded a Paul McShane grubber kick into the goal area. Danny Richardson added the conversion to reduce the arrears to two points. Within a minute the Tigers were in again as Derrell Olpherts flew down the right wing to tumble over the line and ground. This time Richardson couldn’t add the conversion.
Wakefield were twice held up over the Tigers line but on twenty-five a sensational one-handed try from Tom Johnstone saw the winger ground with his whole body over the touchline. The lead had changed hands again, despite Richardson being unable to make the touchline conversion.
Wakefield were throwing everything at the Tigers but fast hands from the home side, including a miss-out pass, allowed James Clare to cross on the overlap and put his side back into the lead. Richardson was again unable to add the conversions, Castleford with a 14-12 lead.
A Hampshire penalty goal with two minutes of the half remaining tied the scores again, there was nothing to choose between the two sides. A Jacob Miller drop goal, on the stroke of half time, gave Trinity a 15-14 half-time lead.
It was a storming start to the second half from a Castleford side who’d been sent back out of the changing rooms after just a few minutes. On forty-two Clare scored a one-handed effort in the left corner to push his side back into the lead. Richardson was unable to reach the uprights with his kick.
James Batchelor was sin-binned on forty-seven for pulling Oliver Holmes back as he chased a kick-through and Richardson took the opportunity to establish a five point lead with a penalty.
Oliver Holmes grabbed an important try against the twelve men as he dribbled forward a kick through to catch it on the half volley and ground. Richardson added the extras for 26-15, the home side looking like a different proposition in the second half.
Olpherts got his second on fifty-five, on hand to take a one-handed pass and go in on the overlap. Richardson pulled his kick wide of the posts. It had been a costly sin-binning for Trinity.
Romain Navarrete was sin-binned for ‘tipping’ on sixty-three, the visitors back down to twelve men just five minutes after returning to thirteen, but this time the Wakefield defence held firm.
With a minute of the game remaining, Castleford ended a twenty-five minute barren spell with a Richardson penalty goal from in front of the sticks and as the final hooter sounded it was 32-15 to the Tigers as they headed second in the table
It was ill-discipline cost Wakefield the game after they put on a terrific first half performance to lead at the interval. The two periods down to twelve men drained any attacking energy and the concession of two tries when Batchelor was in the bin turned the tide in Castleford favour. The home side took bided their time and took their opportunities, banishing last weeks’ loss to distant memory.
Tigers: Rankin, Clare (2T), Shenton, Mata’utia, Olpherts (2T), Trueman, Richardson (4G), Watts, McShane, Griffin, Holmes (T), Blair (T), Massey. Subs: Millington, Smith, O’Neill, McMeeken.
Trinity: Jowitt, Johnstone (T), Arundel, Lyne, Tupou, Hampshire (3G), Miller (DG), Kopczak, Wood K, Tanginoa, Ashurst, Pitts, Westerman (T). Subs: Navarrete (SB on 63), Batchelor (SB on 47), Tangata, Wood J.
Referee: James Child.