Tigers edge Wildcats in tight derby

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Published: Sunday 7th September 2014 by The News Editor

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Castleford ensured the battle for the League Leaders’ Shield will go down to the final round of fixtures after beating Wakefield 26-22 in a rousing derby at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle.

The Tigers’ hard-fought victory means they will finish top of the table for the first time in the club’s history if current leaders St Helens lose at Huddersfield and they beat Catalan Dragons in Perpignan next weekend.

Castleford could do no wrong for the first half-hour as they stormed into a 22-0 lead but veteran forward Ali Lauitiiti inspired a remarkable fightback for the visitors.

Three-quarters Lee Gilmour and Richard Owen, both playing on loan from Castleford, scored tries against their parent club to help set up a tense finish before the Tigers were able to finally complete a third win of the season over their near neighbours.

Wakefield created the first scoring opportunity when full-back Paul Sykes burst clear with stand-off Pita Godinet on his inside but the final pass went astray and the Tigers proceeded to give them a lesson in finishing.

Sykes brought second rower Oliver Holmes short of the line but the Wildcats could not regroup in time to prevent full-back Luke Dorn slicing through for the opening in the next play.

Loose forward Nathan Massey was then held up over the line before left winger James Clare produced two excellent finishes to score two tries in 15 minutes.

Exciting hooker Daryl Clark was the provider on both occasions, the first from a trademark surge following a quickly taken re-start and the second with a superb cut-out pass.

Clare, deputising for injured Australian Justin Carney, took both his chances magnificently while right winger Kirk Dixon also came up with a devastating finish on 32 minutes, taking Clark’s pass to go round Chris Riley for his side’s fourth try.

Marc Sneyd’s third goal made it 22-0 but the Tigers became over-confident and when they knocked on from the first tackle on their own 20-metre line they were punished, with Lauitiiti sending Gilmour over for Wakefield’s first try.

Sykes added the conversion, to register the 500th goal of his career, and Wakefield scored again three minutes before half-time when Dixon fumbled Tim Smith’s high kick to gift a try to Riley.

Wakefield had the momentum at that stage and centre Reece Lyne touched down two minutes into the second half only to discover he had put a foot in touch and Castleford managed to regain control of the game.

However, the action continued as both sets of players produced a series of crunching hits which provided great entertainment for the bumper derby crowd of 9,182.

Castleford prop Garreth Carvell had to be placed on a stretcher after being flattened by a tackle from Wakefield substitute Chris Annakin as both teams demonstrated full commitment to the end.

When Riley failed to clear the danger caused by Sneyd’s kick and centre Jake Webster swooped for Castleford’s fifth try on 67 minutes, the game looked to be over as a contest.

However, the Wildcats set up a dramatic finale by scoring two tries in the last 10 minutes, both converted by Sykes and the home side were hanging on at the end.

Australian prop Scott Anderson pounced on a loose ball to register the first try of his career and Owen dived over at the corner with seven minutes remaining.

Published: Sunday 7th September 2014 by The News Editor

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