CASTLEFORD Tigers missed only three tackles and conceded just two penalties in a near-perfect display against Huddersfield Giants on Saturday.
The Tigers maintained their 100 per cent record by following their opening day victory over Wakefield with a magnificent 18-12 win against the Giants at Probiz Coliseum.
Coach Terry Matterson predicted in Thursday’s Pontefract and Castleford Express that the pack battle would be the key to success and so it proved as Castleford’s forwards adapted much better to the wet conditions than their Huddersfield counterparts.
Castleford’s dominance up front provided the platform for half-backs Rangi Chase and Danny Orr to dictate play.
The Tigers, who handed a debut to 17-year-old hooker Daryl Clark, produced an almost flawless first-half performance and then survived a brief Huddersfield fightback to seal a second successive win.
Australian winger Nick Youngquest (pictured) bagged two of Castleford’s three tries, with Joe Arundel scoring the other.
Youngquest put the Tigers ahead after 14 minutes when he collected Chase’s clever kick to the corner to score.
Kirk Dixon added a touchline conversion and then made it 8-0 after 24 minutes when referee Steve Ganson awarded the first penalty of the match.
Dixon missed a chance to edge the Tigers further ahead when he was wide with a 40-metre penalty but the home side were good value for their interval lead.
Huddersfield came far more into the gamet at the start of the second half.
Winger Jermaine McGillvary pulled a try back within two minutes of the re-start, taking Scott Grix’s pass to finish at the corner, with ex-Tigers player Danny Brough converting.
Huddersfield’s Kevin Brown should have added another try shortly afterwards but he dropped Lee Gilmour’s pass with the line wide open.
The Tigers struck a vital blow after 56 minutes when Giants full-back Grix was tackled over his own line as he attempted to clear the danger from Chase’s kick and the ball came loose.
Youngquest touched the ball down and video referee Richard Silverwood gave him the benefit of the doubt in awarding the try despite suggestions of an illegal ball steal.
Huddersfield were soon rocked again, Dixon reaching Orr’s high kick to the line ahead of his opposite number David Hodgson and palming the ball back for Arundel to score.
Dixon was off target with both conversion attempts but found the mark with a penalty seven minutes from the end after Huddersfield hooker Shaun Lunt was sin-binned for a late challenge on Chase as the visitors finished with 12 men.
The Giants completed the scoring in stoppage time when McGillvary scooped up the ball from Brown’s kick to score his second try and Brough kicked his second goal.