Last-gasp try denies Castleford Tigers in opener

Mike McMeeken holds off Hull Kingston Rovers' Iain Thornley during Castleford Tigers' opening game of the season.
Mike McMeeken holds off Hull Kingston Rovers' Iain Thornley during Castleford Tigers' opening game of the season.

A try and goal from the last play of the game denied Castleford Tigers an opening day win as they had to settle for a point from a 16-16 draw at a wet and windy Hull KR.

Rovers winger Josh Mantellato crossed for his second try in the last minute and kept his nerve to add the conversions to give the home side a battling point after they had trailed most of the contest.

Castleford were made to pay for not killing the match off when they had chances and were particularly left cursing a forward pass decision that cost Denny Solomona a try near the end of the first half.

The winger had already scored before then and it would have given the Tigers a 10-point lead at least at the break. Instead, the hosts marched up field and scored their first try to make it 6-6 at half-time.

From then on it was a battle and although Daryl Powell’s men went back ahead and crossed for two more tries they could not shake off their opponents.

Solomona gave the Tigers a great start with a well taken try as he beat several men before crossing for the opening try, which was converted by Luke Gale.

Both sides then missed chances to score in tricky conditions and Cas suffered a big blow when skipper Michael Shenton went off with a knee injury.

The turning point proved to be the “try” disallowed by a forward pass by Gale to Solomona and Hull KR took full advantage as James Donaldson went over from close range to level the scores before half-time.

Cas made the better start to the second half and Jake Webster, who came on as replacement for Shenton, drove over after a scrum deep in Rovers territory.

Gale’s goal made it 12-6, but the hosts hit back when Mantellato touched down wide out, too far out for him to add the conversion.

Webster scored again to extend the lead to six, but crucially Gale was unable to kick the goal in the difficult conditions, leaving the result in the balance in a nervy finish.

Cas came close to sealing a win when Solomona got over the line only to be held up by Ben Cockayne.

Rovers then worked their back down field and the Tigers defence cracked in the final minute, Mantellato’s squeezing over in the corner.

He still had to land the difficult conversion to give his side a point, but did exactly that to the disappointment of the big travelling contingent.

Scorers - Hull KR: Tries: Donaldson, Mantellato 2, goals Mantellato 2. Castleford: Tries Solomona, Webster 2; goals Gale 2.

Hull KR: Sio; Cockayne, Minns, Thornley, Mantellato; Blair, Kelly; Tilse, Lawler, Allgood, Horne, Clarkson, Greenwood. Subs: Mulhern, Donaldson, Green, Boudebza.

Castleford: Dorn; Monaghan, Crooks, Shenton, Solomona; Roberts, Gale; Millington, McShane, Cook, Holmes, McMeeken, Jewitt. Subs: Webster, Milner, Moors, Boyle.

Referee: Richard Silverwood

Half-time: 6-6. Attendance: 11,011