Castleford Tigers enjoyed their first-ever Super League win away at Hull KR when they produced a strong defensive display to break the hearts of the hosts.
With Richard Owen going over for a hat-trick on his first start of the season and Marc Sneyd kicking five goals from five attempts with his incredible round the corner style the Tigers ran out 30-10 winners.
In truth it was never as comfortable as the final score suggested with Rovers having a strong spell in the middle of the game, but this was another impressive all-round display in which any one of about eight players could have been named man of the match.
Rovers scored first, but Cas were never headed after Owen’s first two tries turned the game in their favour.
In a frantic opening Hull went ahead when Kris Keating’s smart pass sent James Green over and Travis Burns converted.
But Cas quickly replied as the recalled Owen slid over following a strong run and well timed pass by full-back Luke Dorn. A great touchline conversion by Marc Sneyd levelled the score.
Owen collected his second try on 21 minutes when he outjumped ex-Tigers full-back Greg Eden to take Liam Finn’s high kick to go over. Another fine Sneyd kick made it 12-6 .
The Tigers stayed on top and scored again five minutes later as another Finn high kick created havoc in the Rovers defence and Frankie Mariano plucked the ball out of the air for his first try in Castleford colours.
Sneyd’s goal made it 18-6 and the lead could have been bigger soon after when Michael Shenton made a strong break, but his pass inside to Sneyd went to ground with the line opening up.
Cas suffered a blow on 32 minutes with the harsh looking sin-binning of Finn for an alleged chicken wing tackle that brought an angry reaction from home players that seemed to influence the officials.
With an extra man the hosts now finished the half strongly and Kris Welham was only denied by a superb try saving tackle by Michael Channing and Dorn. The frustrated Rovers player then aimed a headbutt and this was picked up by referee Ben Thaler, but he failed to card him.
The home team did score with the final play of the half, Eden sending Omari Caro over in the corner to make it 18-10 at the break.
Rovers started the second half strongly and the Tigers had to survive several sets near their line to maintain their advantage.
But the defence was outstanding and when Cas finally exerted some pressure of their own they looked to have scored only for Mariano’s effort to be controversially ruled out by the video referee for an obstruction in the build-up that was not clear.
Castleford were certainly not having the rub of it with the decisions as they had another “try” disallowed, Daryl Clark being correctly ruled offside when picking up the ball after Eden had dropped Sneyd’s high kick.
However, they did finally add to their score on 67 minutes when Oliver Holmes charged over after taking Finn’s pass. Sneyd’s goal made it 24-10 and it was effectively all over.
There was time for one more score and Owen gleefully completed his hat-trick after taking Weller Hauraki’s fine pass. With Sneyd kicking the conversion the victory was complete to make it three out of three for the Tigers.
Scorers - Hull KR: Tries Green, Caro; goal Burns. Castleford: Tries Owen 3, Mariano, Holmes; goals Sneyd 5.
Hull KR: Eden; Cockayne, Welham, Salter, Caro; Burns, Keating; J Walker, Hodgson, Green, Larroyer, Lovegrove, Costigan. Subs: A Walker, Horne, Cox, Carlile.
Castleford: Dorn; Owen, Channing, Shenton, Carney; Sneyd, Finn; Lynch, Clark, Huby, Mariano, Hauraki, Millington. Subs: Holmes, Milner, Wheeldon, Fleming.
Referee: Ben Thaler.