Head coach Lindsay Anfield admitted that a combination of missed tackles, poor decisions and a lack of effort from certain players cost her side a historic win away at St Helens - and she is looking for an improvement for the big play-off semi-final this Sunday.
The 20-14 defeat at Ruskin Drive prevented the Tigresses from completing a historic unbeaten league season.
Speaking after the game, head coach Lindsay Anfield said: “It was a disappointing day all round. From a rugby perspective, we started well and did the basics in the conditions but after the first try I think the game plan went out of the window and errors crept in.”
Anfield was especially disappointed about the manner in which her side lost.
She explained: “As much as we have covered it relentlessly in training, we still haven’t grasped how to finish an overlap situation out wide. Poor decisions are costing us points in the most important part of the season.
“Attitude wise, I think if we want to finish the season well, some of them need to have a reality check on their effort levels. Too many missed tackles at this level will always make life difficult.”
Transport to the game was not ideal as the Tigresses arrived at the ground 10 minutes before the scheduled kick-off time. The trip to Ruskin Drive took three hours which meant the game had to be delayed by an additional 30 minutes.
When asked whether this had made a difference Anfield said: “The bus journey down wasn’t great preparation but no excuses, Saints girls had more desire and will to win in the second half, it’s as simple as that. Same as Leeds in the cup final.
“A week to turn the corner and aim to finish the season on a high, I’m hoping this well be the eye opener we need to enable us to perform better next week against Wigan.”
Castleford Tigers Women take on Wigan Warriors in their Super League semi-final clash at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle this Sunday, kick-off 1pm.
Tickets are on sale in Castleford Tigers’ retail stores, adults £3, concessions £1 and season ticket holders free.
Despite leading at half-time, the Tigresses were unable to hang on for the win at St Helens in their last regular season league game switched to the Ruskin Drive ground because of wet weather.
The match was delayed by over half an hour due to an incident on the M62 which brought the traffic to a standstill. Nevertheless, the delay did not seem to affect the visitors in the opening minutes.
Lacey Owen thought she had opened the scoring on five minutes only for the official to cut celebrations short due to a forward pass. Three minutes later, the black and amber were over again and it counted. Shona Hoyle was the scorer as she exposed a gap near the sticks to put her side ahead.
St Helens struggled to complete sets which meant any progress they made was completely wasted.
However, once their completion rate improved, Saints became evermore dangerous. This proved to be the case on the 24th minute mark when Paige Travis crossed for the hosts. Faye Gaskin’s missed conversion meant Cas still led 6-4.
Wet conditions were not helping the flow of the game as both teams made errors.
Nevertheless, just before half-time Tara Stanley charged down the right and used her elusive footwork to get across the whitewash to make it 10-4 at the break.
After the restart both teams picked up the pace as they looked to take control. Castleford came up with some great chances but were unable to convert as Saints showed just why they are the ones with the best defensive record in the league.
The home side turned defence into attack as Gaskin produced a 40/20. On the back of that kick, Jodie Cunningham was able to power over for a try.
Gaskin then produced a huge break down the centre and shifted the ball out wide to Katie May Williams who crossed the tryline to put her side in front for the first time.
All of the momentum was with Saints who, for a 20 minute spell, looked unstoppable. Gaskin kicked a penalty before Saints landed their final punch on the 70th minute mark. Tara Jones crossed and Gaskin’s conversion made it 20-10.
Castleford tried to rescue the situation in the final 10 minutes. Maisie Lumb crossed in the corner to close the gap, but it was too late to prevent their one and only league defeat.