Castleford Tigers Women confirmed their place in the Women’s Super League Grand Final with a 34-4 win over Wigan Warriors.
A brace for Tara Stanley and Maisie Lumb helped the Tigresses to another memorable win in front of a crowd of 1,449 at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Nevertheless, this game was a lot tougher than the score line may suggest. Wigan, who were the defending champions, came out fighting and came close to opening the scoring early.
Rebecca Greenfield showed great footwork as she got away from Castleford’s defence and seemed to get across the whitewash. However, defensive pressure from Tara Stanley forced the Wigan full-back to lose control of the ball just as she was about to score.
The England international did her job at the back and minutes later she was causing problems up front. The Tigresses produced an overlap down the right with Stanley diving over for the opener.
For the next 15 minutes both teams were involved in a real arm wrestle as they looked to take control. But the home side took the initiative on the half-hour as Maisie Lumb crashed over.
The youngster’s effort was soon followed up with a second try for Stanley. A kick from Georgia Roche was well caught by the full-back who simply touched down for the points and added a conversion.
Wigan produced a response in order to stay in the game as Rachel Thompson fired a pass out wide to Georgia Wilson who got the better of Kelsey Gentles and crossed to make it 14-4 at half-time.
Wigan started the second half in the same way they started the first – on the front foot. Their fast start almost reaped rewards when Thompson broke the line and headed straight for the tryline. Unfortunately for the visitors, Stanley was in the right place, at the right time to stop the oncoming centre.
Cas were back on the attack 10 minutes later and Sinead Peach spotted a gap in Wigan’s defence to go over for a try converted by Stanley.
A spell of three tries inside 15 minutes then sealed the victory for the Tigresses. Efforts from Frankie Townend, Lumb and Tamzin Renouf saw the home side clinch a place in their first Women’s Super League Grand Final.
Head coach Lindsay Anfield gave credit to Wigan for their efforts but also praised her own team for managing the game.
She said: “I thought Wigan were outstanding for 50/60 minutes of the game. It was tough, but I was impressed with how our girls handled the pressure for once.
“They managed the game well, they kicked well and showed a lot more desire. If they were going to do anything this season their attitude had to change. They grafted hard and that’s what we wanted.”
Castleford now face Leeds Rhinos this Friday at the Totally Wicked Stadium. The game will be shown live on Sky Sports and will kick off at 7.30pm.