Castleford reached the Yorkshire Silver Trophy second round with a hard-earned 26-19 win at Bramley Phoenix.
Although Cas were in control for large parts of the game they had to endure a nervous final 10 minutes as Phoenix scored three tries in the last quarter.
Cas held out in the closing stages to book a second round clash at Ossett in early February.
Phoenix’s late fightback coincided with them being awarded a penalty try accompanied by a yellow card for Cas prop Adam Brown for collapsing the rolling maul. The home side then took full advantage of their extra forward to set up the nail-biting finish.
Castleford outside-half Ian Mattison put in another faultless kicking display to make the difference and guarantee the victory.
The visitors included two colts in their starting line-up.
Winger Thomas Dobson and scrum-half Thomas Egan made their senior debuts and emerged with flying colours.
Egan showed maturity at the scrum base and formed an excellent bridge between the pack and the back-line throughout the afternoon and Dobson ran well and defended strongly.
Castleford soon raced into an early nine-point lead through Mattison’s two penalties and a neatly taken drop goal.
The visitors had first use of the strong breeze and needed to build up a good lead in the first half. They soon stretched their lead following sustained forward pressure.
Back-rowers Craig Potter and James Baldwin and prop Adam Brown made the initial thrusts, creating the space for replacement forward Brad Christian to power through for a try that Mattison converted to put Cas 16-0 up at half-time.
Cas opened the second half strongly and their dominance paid dividends after 10 minutes.
The pack turned over a ball on their own 22, allowing Egan to send centre Daniel Price on a 35 yard gallop up field. Clever centre play with Gareth Grant-Mills put Dobson in space up the wing. Further play ended with a maul 25 yards out and Egan’s pass allowed full-back Chris Brown to make a half-break before parting to Baldwin who skated in for the score. Mattison’s conversion made it 23-0.
Cas then took their foot of the pedal and allowed Phoenix back into the game.
Following their penalty try and the yellow card for influential Adam Brown, the home side soon added a try from second-rower Adam Oliver.
Mattison added a long range penalty for Cas but Phoenix stormed back again and second-rower Ben Wilson set up an exciting finish with a converted try before Brown’s return.
Castleford then rallied and were able to control the final minutes to secure their second round place.
Castleford under 16s gave an excellent account of themselves in a 35-10 defeat at Huddersfield who recently won the Yorkshire Cup.
Cas started strongly, with good runs from forwards Sam Keyworth, Cameron Adderley and Ross Grattan putting them on the attack.
Liam Sellars broke through only to be caught and spear tackled by two Huddersfield forwards. Jack Townend coolly kicked the penalty to give Cas the early lead.
More good forward play and swift passing across the backs ended with Cas speedster Harry Ansell-Wood racing in for a fine try that Townend converted.
Cas looked like pulling off a shock and were well on top until a string of minor lapses led to Huddersfield taking a quick tap penalty and racing over for a try.
The game was now much more even but despite great tackling by Stephen Hunt and breaks by Cathal Donnelly it was Huddersfield who scored the next crucial points with a try just before half time.
In the second half Cas had a chance to get back in front but Bradley Kittrick was tackled just short of the line.
George Heppinstall, playing at flanker for the first time, had one of his best games of the season and tried in vain to stop the Huddersfield forwards getting on top.
Despite desperate tackles from Jake Humphries and Stewart Jackson Cas could not stop Huddersfield running in three more tries.
The tries were all scored by quick thinking and length of the field breaks which is something Cas will have to work on in training.
The score did not reflect the effort of the Cas lads and there were lots of positives to take out of the game.
MOM Sam Keyworth gave an outstanding display in the pack.