Castleford RUFC are one point behind Yorkshire Division Three leaders Old Grovians after recording their fifth straight win on Saturday.
Second-placed Cas beat struggling neighbours Hemsworth 21-0 in slippy conditions at Willowbridge Lane but they were out of luck in the closing stages when they had a bonus point try controversially ruled out.
However, the good news for Castleford is that the third and fourth placed teams both lost and they are now 13 points clear of Old Modernians who climbed to third spot.
Cas are without a fixture this weekend and return to action at Northallerton on January 31.
They made a great start last Saturday with a fifth minute try when Chris Brown sliced through the visitors’ defence with a side-stepping 20 metre run. Ian Mattison added the first of his three conversions.
Although they never really threatened the Castleford line, Hemsworth put in a gutsy defensive display to prevent a further score until shortly before the interval.
Brown produced another penetrating run that took play to within 15 metres. It was followed by swift cross-field play that saw Thomas Dobson send full-back Chris Gilling powering through two tackles for his debut try that put Cas 14-0 up at the break.
Castleford’s pack now increased its workrate and began to dominate their counterparts, pushing them backwards at numerous scrums, and giving the home backs the field position platform to exploit.
Deteriorating underfoot conditions hindered Cas and all too often the ball was kicked forward in an attempt to gain position in the opposition’s 22 instead of keeping the ball in hand.
However, the home side’s dominance finally paid dividends when substitute full-back Daniel Price followed up a hack forward and tackled the covering full-back to cause a turn-over penalty. With the visitors in disarray, quick-thinking scrum half Thomas Egan took the tap penalty and dived over for the third converted try.
Castleford continued to attack but failed to break through until the final play of the game.
Substitute Chris Marsh broke from a scrum five metres out and crossed for what appeared to be the bonus point try. However, the score was controversially ruled out by the unsighted official, much to the disappointment of the home players.