After a fantastic opening weekend for Hull Kingston Rovers, they have suffered three consecutive defeats, and find themselves just two points above the basement spot and in need of a morale boosting win. Tonights visitors, the Castleford Tigers, knew that a win would see them to the top of the table ahead of the rest of the rounds’ fixtures.
The Robins are suffering a number of early season injuries which forced more changes for Tony Smith while the Tigers brought Mike McMeeken off the bench in the only change to the starting thirteen which defeated Wakefield Trinity last time out.
The bookies favoured an away win, but a vocal home support were hoping that their underdogs could spring a surprise.
It was the best of possible start for the home side as Ben Crooks jumped to collect a Joe Keyes high kick and walk over the line to ground. Ryan Brierley added the conversion for a 6-0 advantage.
The Tigers finally broke the KR line in twenty-three but Mike McMeeken lost the ball on the line under the tackle of Ben Crooks. Six minutes later McMeeken was held up again on the line as the KR defence held strong despite visibly tiring.
It was six metres before the interval before the Tigers got their first try when Michael Shenton took a Danny Richardson pass to cross after an initial break down the middle by Paul McShane. Danny Richardson kicked a touchline conversion to level the scores are 6-6.
After a brilliant break from Sean Kenny-Dowell, the Tigers conceded a penalty which Brierley slotted between the uprights as the hooter sounded. The Robins went into the interval with a hard fought 8-6 lead.
With the second half just a minute old Ryan Brierley was sin-binned for an obstruction on the Tigers when they were in a try scoring position. Richardson put the resulting penalty through the sticks to level the scores.
The twelve men went behind on forty-eight when Richardson threw a dummy, stepped inside and went over to score by the uprights. He converted his own try for a six point lead, to the derision of the home supporters.
Matty Gee should have scored a couple of minutes later but couldn’t take the pass and on fifty three James Clare scored an acrobatic try in the corner to further extend the Tigers lead and strike a hammer blow against the Robins. Richardson added another two pointer for 20-8.
A Richardson penalty goal on fifty-seven, after a shoulder charge, added salt to the wound with Rovers looking out on their feet with no answer to a Castleford onslaught.
Nathan Massey was held up over the line on seventy-two but three tackles later McMeeken managed to get the ball on the ground in the goal area at the third time of asking. Richardson added his fifth goal of the afternoon for a twenty point lead.
It was a game of two halves, the first between two evenly matched sides, and the second a runaway forty from the Tigers as they played the game in the Rovers half. Daryl Powell’s half time words of wisdom were taken to heart and a much improved Tigers dominated the second half. The Tigers go to the top of the table, at least until the weekend, with a comfortable win.
KR: Dagger, Minikin, Kenny-Dowall, Linnett, Crooks (T), Keyes, Brierley (2G, SB on 41), Murray, Litten. Maher. Gee, Storton, Hadley. Subs: Garbutt, Trout, Harrison, Minchella.
Tigers: Rankin, Clare (T), Shenton (T), Mata’utia, Olpherts, Trueman, Richardson (T, 6G), Watts, McShane, Griffin, Holmes, McMeeken (T), Massey. Subs: Millington, Smith, Blair, Milner.
Referee: Chris Kendall.