Castleford Tigers were embarrassed by Super League strugglers Hull KR as they were hammered 58-16 in a shock result at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Despite fielding what looked their strongest side for weeks the Tigers were a pale shadow of their usual selves and were understandably booed off by a section of fans after a result no-one could see coming.
They were only four points behind at the break, but nothing went right for them in the second half while everything their opponents tried came off as they bounced back spectacularly from their own embarrassment against Championship side Oldham in the Challenge Cup.
The signs were there right from the start as Castleford could not have got off to a worse start as from the kick-off a simple pass out wide allowed Ken Sio to charge 60 metres downfield. From the attacking set that followed Dane Tilse’s pass sent Maurice Blair scampering over for a try in the first minute that was converted by Ben Cockayne.
More pressure on the home line followed, but a couple of dropped passes let the Tigers off the hook.
From their first attack on nine minutes Cas were denied when Grant Millington’s offload was intercepted by Graeme Horne less than 10 metres from his own line.
But the home side did put their first points on the board on 13 minutes as Ryan Hampshire, playing at half-back, switched play well and Luke Gale’s pass sent Jake Webster powering over. Gale’s goal levelled the score.
Cas then went ahead when Hampshire danced his way over, beating two Hull KR defenders for his first try in Castleford colours. Gale’s conversion made it 12-6.
A couple of controversial decisions by referee Ben Thaler swung the game back the visitors’ way as first Lee Jewitt was brought back after making a threatening break on halfway with the official reckoning there had been an obstruction.
From the following set Thaler then missed what looked a suspiciously forward pass by Horne that sent Thomas Minns charging over for a try that went unconverted.
Hull KR went back ahead soon after when livewire scrum-half Albert Kelly scored a great solo try after selling a dummy and ducking under a would-be tackle. Cockayne’s goal made it 16-12.
Within three minutes the visitors were celebrating another score as Kelly’s grubber kick was gathered by Sio on the touchline and his pass inside sent Horne over for a try that stretched his side’s lead to eight points.
Back came the Tigers, however, and after Matt Cook was held up over the line following a great tackle by Mitchell Allgood they scored their third try, Jy Hitchcox going over in the corner from Webster’s pass after Cas had moved the ball well.
Gale was unable to goal, making the half-time score 20-16.
Rovers started the second half like they did the first as they scored from their first set, Minns leaping well to catch a Kelly high kick and then having the pace to race over for a try converted by Cockayne.
It was all Hull KR as only desperate defence by Hampshire prevent Joe Wardill from scoring.
The visitors did stretch their lead, though, when a simple move left led to Iain Thornley forces his way over for a try goaled by Cockayne.
Horne was held up over the line soon after, but it did not matter as Rovers scored again within a minute when Maurice Blair’s high kick was knocked back by Sio and collected by Allgood who went over.
Both sides went down to 12 men just after the hour mark when a fight in back play led to the Tigers’ Paul McShane and his opposing hooker, Shaun Lunt, both being yellow carded.
When the teams got back to playing it was still one-way traffic as Sio collected a Kelly kick that bounced kindly to go over in the corner and make the score 40-16.
With the game over the error count went up from Cas as they tried in vain to hit back and only succeeded in fumbling the ball in forcing passes.
Rovers increased their lead when Cockayne kicked a penalty they surprisingly opted for.
They found another way of scoring, however, when Kelly intercepted and raced downfield 60 metres before passing on to the backing up Sio.
There was still time for Minns to complete his hat-trick from yet another Kelly set up and Thornley charged over for his second try. With Cockayne adding one more conversion the final score said it all as the Tigers produced probably their worst display under Daryl Powell..
Scorers - Castleford: Tries Webster, Hampshire, Hitchcox; goals Gale 2. Hull KR: Tries Blair, Minns 3, Kelly, Horne, Thornley 2, Allgood, Sio 2; goals Cockayne 7.
Castleford Tigers: Solomona; Monaghan, Minikin, Webster, Hitchcox; Hampshire, Gale; Lynch, Milner, Jewitt, Millington, McMeeken, Massey. Subs: McShane, Patrick, Cook, Moors.
Hull KR: Cockayne; Sio, Minns, Thornley, Wardill; Blair, Kelly; Tilse, Lunt, Mulhern, Clarkson, Horne, Allgood. Subs: Boudebza, Donaldson, Green, Walker.
Referee: Ben Thaler.