Castleford RUFC’s promotion push in Yorkshire Division Three suffered a setback with Saturday’s 19-15 defeat at Old Otliensians.
It saw Castleford slip to third place, four points adrift of leaders Old Grovians and two points behind Thornesians who climbed to second by beating Northallerton 34-24.
Castleford, who had won five of their previous six away league games this season, were edged out after trailing 12-0 at half-time.
The Cas forwards drove the ball well in the early stages but the visitors lacked the cutting edge they had showed in previous games.
Despite strong defensive work from centres Danny Price and Kev Crowthers, Otliensians got the opening try.
Cas went close when Thomas Dobson was beaten to Chris Brown’s kick after good work from Aiden Wood and Adam Brown.
James Baldwin and fit-again Craig Potter both made good yards as Cas pressed again.
However, Otliensians stretched their lead with a converted try before half-time.
Substitutes Mark Small and Chris Marsh were prominent in Castleford’s strong start to the second period.
Gareth Paul’s interception paved the way for James Baldwin to crash over for a try.
Ian Mattison then kicked a penalty to cut the gap to four points.
Otliensians regained possession from the resulting re-start and struck a crucial blow with a converted try.
With two minutes remaining, Crowthers defied three defenders to grab a try that Mattison improved but time ran out for Cas.
They have several things they need to improve and learn from ahead of Saturday’s home match against Rotherham Phoenix.
Castleford under 17s, who had only 10 fit players, competed magnificently in a 48-31 defeat in muddy conditions at Barnsley.
Barnsley loaned Castleford a player and only fielded one player more.
Good work by Sean Adamson and Sam Keyworth saw Brandon Douce put in man of the match Jack Townend for Castleford’s first try that he also goaled.
Townend exchanged passes with Tim Stableford before releasing Adamson who raced over.
Townend paved the way for Keyworth to score before Townend sent in Stableford and kicked the conversion.
The testing conditions eventually took their toll on Cas and they had a player sin-binned for disputing a contentious decision.
Despite huge efforts by Cameron Addersley and Liam Sellars, Barnsley pulled well clear.
Cas scored again when Keyworth worked well with Matthew Tooley to set up a second try for Townend who converted.
However, Barnsley got the last score to record a convincing victory.
Jake Humphries worked tirelessly at full back for Castleford.
Their forwards earned plenty of praise for never giving up up against much bigger opponents.