Battling Castleford Tigers lose close game at Wigan Warriors

Castleford Tigers' Tuoyo Egodo battles to get free against Wigan. Picture: Simon Hall
Castleford Tigers' Tuoyo Egodo battles to get free against Wigan. Picture: Simon Hall

Castleford Tigers' severely weakened side put up a big effort, but lacked quality as they failed to score a try to lose a dour game 6-4 at Wigan Warriors.

The Tigers' only points came from two first half penalty kicks by Peter Mata'utia as they dominated possession, but lacked a cutting edge.

Liam Watts on a forward drive. Picture: Simon Hall

Liam Watts on a forward drive. Picture: Simon Hall

In the end the game was decided by Wigan's only try through Sam Powell and a conversion kicked by Zak Hardaker.

A defence dominated first half saw only four points scored through Mata'utia's two penalties.

Cas, who were without 10 players, forced early pressure with some strong tackling and line speed in their opponents' half, but it came to nothing with Wigan also defending their line well and the Tigers lacking invention in tricky wet and windy conditions.

It took Wigan 15 minutes to get in the Tigers half, but when they did they almost scored as George Williams' kick was fumbled backwards over his own line. Zak Hardaker aimed to get his hand on the loose ball only to knock-on with referee Chris Kendall's no-try decision being ratified by video referee James Child.

Peter Mata'utia looks for support. Picture: Simon Hall

Peter Mata'utia looks for support. Picture: Simon Hall

The deadlock was finally broken in the 24th minute when a penalty for interference in the tackle saw Mata'utia kick the ball between the posts for two points.

Cas finished the half strongly as Paul McShane and Jake Trueman grubber kicks earned goalline drop-outs.

In between the two, Mitch Clark and Chris Clarkson were both inches away from scoring as they were tackled right on the line.

Another penalty for interference in the tackle, however, gave Mata'utia another chance to kick a goal and from under the posts he made it 4-0 two minutes before half-time.

Early in the second half Greg Minikin made a fine break from his own half. Mata'utia carried the move on, but lost the ball in the tackle about 15 metres out.

A knock-on by Tuoyo Egodo finally gave Wigan field position in the visitors' half and they made the most of it with Powell driving himself over the line despite the attentions of two Cas tacklers.

Hardaker's goal made it 6-4 and surprisingly that was it for the scoring.

A good attack for the Tigers ended with McShane's kicked well defended on the home line while Joe Bullock was held up on the line on the last tackle for the Warriors.

Cas were back on the attack in the last 10 minutes and James Clare ran the ball on the last tackle only to be pulled down five metres out.

The finish to the game was a little more exciting as the Warriors came close to another try when Clare let a kick bounced and the ball was patted back to winger Joe Burgess. He made ground down his wing only to send an awful pass inside that the supporting George Williams dropped with the line begging.

Relieved Cas could then have snatched the victory their efforts had deserved when Aston's grubber kick was just too far for his chasing teammates and Burgess got back to defend at the expense of a drop-out.

From the next set Minikin made a good half-break only to try to force a pass out wide to Clare and only succeeding in throwing the ball into touch with more tackles in the bank.

That was the last chance and Castleford's players trooped off the field after losing another close game.

Scorers - Wigan: Try Powell; goal Hardaker. Castleford: Goals Mata'utia 2.

Wigan Warriors: Hardaker; Marshall, Hankinson, Gildart, Burgess; Williams, Shorrocks; Flower, Leuluai, Bullock, Greenwood, Isa. Subs: Powell, O'Loughlin, Tautai, Smithies.

Castleford Tigers: Mata'utia; Clare, Minikin, Egodo, Eden; Trueman, Aston; Watts, McShane, Maher, Clarkson, McMeeken, Milner. Subs: Milner, Clark, Peachey, Smith.

Referee: Chris Kendall.

Half-time: 0-4.

Attendance: 10,058.