Castleford let half-time lead slip in final game of season

Try scorer Luke Dorn.
Try scorer Luke Dorn.
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Castleford Tigers gave Wigan Warriors a scare when they led at half-time, but faded after the break to lose their last game of the season 47-12.

The final score did not do justice to the Tigers’ efforts with most of the points they conceded coming in the final quarter and despite the result supporters applauded them off at the end.

Wigan thought they had done enough to win the league leaders’ shield, but their celebrations were cut short when news came in of a last-gasp try by Ryan Hall that clinched the title for Leeds Rhinos.

But the Warriors were able to finish in second place with their strong second half display and four tries from winger Dom Manfredi.

They stormed into a quick 10-0 lead as Manfredi proved too strong for Denny Solomona near the line for the opening try and Matty Bowen charged over after a lucky bounce from a blocked kick fell Wigan’s way. Bowen also kicked a goal and it looked like Cas were going to be in for a long night.

But they dug in and replied when Luke Dorn raced over in the corner from a smart move and Luke Gale kicked the conversion.

The Tigers then stunned the hosts by going in front on 34 minutes as Junior Moors, who had been an injury doubt before kick-off, crashed over for another try converted by Gale.

Cas could have scored first in the second half as Matt Cook came up with a great ball steal on Manfredi only to be taken down as he charged for the line.

However, from this point it was largely one-way traffic once Wigan went in front as and Joe Burgess sent Manfredi over and Bowen converted to make it 16-12.

The Tigers were then reduced to 12 men with 24 minutes remaining when Solomona was sin-binned for lying on in the tackle.

And as at Huddersfield a few weeks ago they struggled to cope a man down as

Bowen and Burgess combined to send Manfredi over for his hat-trick try then Manfredi scored again following a run and kick by George Williams.

The fact that Matty Smith kicked a drop-goal showed how much Wigan felt under pressure, but they need not have feared as they completely ran away it in the final 13 minutes with four more unanswered tries.

Oliver Gildart, Williams, Burgess and Larne Patrick all crossed the line to give Wigan a flattering final margin and end Castleford’s season on a disappointing note.

Scorers - Wigan - Tries; Manfredi 4, Bowen, Gildart, Williams, Burgess, Patrick; goals Bowen 5; drop-goal Smith.

Castleford: Tries Dorn, Moors; goals Gale 2.

Wigan Warriors: Bowen; Charnley, Gildart, Burgess, Manfredi; Williams, Smith; Crosby, McIlorum, Flower, Tomkins, Farrell, O’Loughlin. Subs: Powell, Clubb, Mossop, Patrick.

Castleford Tigers: Dorn; Robson, Gibson, McMeeken, Solomona; Roberts, Gale; Lynch, Milner, Millington, Holmes, Moors, Wheeldon. Subs: Cook, Maher, Springer, McShane.

Referee: Phil Bentham.

Half-time: 10-12.

Attendance: 15,070.