Two tries in three second half minutes from recalled full-back Luke Dorn proved decisive as Castleford Tigers beat fellow surprise packages Widnes Vikings 34-22 at a damp Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
It was never easy for Daryl Powell’s men, but after they trailed 12-10 at the break they came out fired up for the second half and blew their visitors away before a couple of late tries brought respectability to the score for Widnes.
A punch up between Castleford’s Justin Carney and Widnes winger Paddy Flynn that resulted in both spending 10 minutes in the sin-bin sparked life into a contest that was lacking some fire, but with the Tigers star man off Dorn stepped up to the plate to score his two tries and from then on it was fairly comfortable.
Cas had to be disappointed to be 12-10 down at half-time after having most of the field advantage only for bits of sloppy play to come into their game.
They scored first after only five minutes when Michael Shenton dived onto Marc Sneyd’s well judged grubber kick into the in-goal area.
Sneyd was unable to add the touchline conversion and the Tigers were disappointed again soon after when they had a “try” chalked off for a forward pass by Daryl Clark to Luke Dorn after the hooker had made a trademark lightning dart from acting half.
Within a minute Widnes had scored their first try from their first attack of the game, Kevin Brown finishing off a fine move from half-way. Danny Tickle’s goal put them ahead.
Back came Cas and after a period of pressure they went ahead again as Dorn ignored an overlap to his right and was then held up in a tackle on the line, but managed to get the ball away for Jake Webster to score a try converted well by Sneyd.
Widnes managed to stay in the game, however, and grabbed their second try when Stefan Marsh went over from a simple move near the line. Tickle goaled and it was 12-10.
That was how it stayed to the break with the Tigers surviving some late pressure brought about by having to make two goal-line drop-outs.
Cas started the second half well when Scott Wheeldon seized on a drop ball to go over for a try. Sneyd goaled to make it 16-12 and they were never to lose the lead again.
The yellow cards for Carney and Flynn followed soon after with the Australian taking exception to some roughing up in the tackle by his opposite number.
As the atmosphere suddenly turned red hot the tackles were flying in and gaps appeared for the Tigers to go over for two tries in three minutes.
Dorn charged over for both, first with a huge overlap on the left and the second as he finished Sneyd’s fine break from his own half. With Sneyd adding the goals suddenly it was 28-12.
Carney and Shenton went close to more tries before Clark did go over from dummy-half. Sneyd’s easiest conversion then made it 34-12.
Widnes did have some late joy with two nice tries, the first as Brown’s fine pass sent Cameron Phelps over and the second when Tom Gilmore collected his own chip through for an individual effort. But it was too late to alter the destination of the points with the Tigers moving back into third place in the First Utility Super League table.
Scorers - Castleford: Tries Shenton, Webster. Wheeldon, Dorn 2, Clark; goals Sneyd 5. Widnes: Tries Brown, Marsh, Phelps, Gilmore; goals Tickle 3.
Castleford: Dorn; Dixon, Webster, Shenton, Carney; Sneyd, Finn; Lynch, Clark, Huby, Holmes, Hauraki, Millington. Subs: Mariano, Wheeldon, Ellis, Jewitt.
Widnes: Hanbury; Owens, Marsh, Phelps, Flynn; Brown, Gilmore; Clough, White, Gerrard, Allen, Tickle, Leuluai. Subs: Gore, Isa, Johnson, Kavanagh.
Referee: Ben Thaler.