Castleford Tigers Women ready for champions’ clash after bouncing back

Kelsey Gentles leads the celebrations for Castleford Tigers Women in their win against Bradford Bulls Women.
Kelsey Gentles leads the celebrations for Castleford Tigers Women in their win against Bradford Bulls Women.

Castleford Tigers Women returned to winning ways with a comprehensive 50-16 victory over Bradford Bulls.

Olivia Grace, Tara Stanley and Rhiannion Marshall all grabbed two tries each as the Tigresses put their Challenge Cup final heartbreak firmly behind them.

Georgia Roche scored the opener after 12 minutes. The Woman of Steel opened up Bradford’s defence with a clever dummy before crashing over under the posts.

One thing the cup final defeat did was take the fear factor away from the Tigresses. That quickly became evident as Bradford responded just moments after going behind.

Chloe Wainwright Morley sent a great kick into Castleford’s half. The home side failed to take control of the ball, which allowed Sarah Dunn to pounce.

The Tigresses were keen to hit back and did so in the 20th minute mark courtesy of Stanley. The England international was at the centre of criticism following a weak cup final outing, but did well to finish in the corner.

Once again, though, Bradford came back strong. Another kick from Wainwright Morley was not dealt with by the hosts, allowing Amy Hardcastle to grab possession and touch down. Leah Jones’ conversion saw the Bulls take a surprise 12-10 lead.

However, that was as good as things got for the visitors. Ten minutes later loose forward Marshall scored the first of her two tries with a powerful solo drive.

Stanley soon had her second. The full-back proved that she was back to her best as she beat four Bradford defenders, drove straight through three more Bulls players and finally touched down under the sticks.

Nevertheless, perhaps the pick of the tries came three minutes later when Kelsey Gentles raced more than 50 metres from dummy-half to score a beautiful individual effort.

Things went from bad to worse for Bradford just before half-time as Debbie Smith was red carded for dissent.

It did not take long for Cas to take advantage of the extra player as Grace found the whitewash early on in the second half. Sinead Peach then added more points with another Castleford finish under the posts.

Bradford did score through Sarah Dunn, but that was their only positive moment in a second half largely dominated by the Tigresses.

Marshall and Grace both added their second try to seal a convincing 50-16 victory.

Next up for Castleford is a huge clash against the reigning Super League champions Wigan Warriors. Following their shock defeat to Featherstone, the title holders will no doubt look for improvement this Sunday at the MAH Jungle.

Bradford Bulls:

1. Leah Jones

20. Bailey Alexander

5. Savannah Andrade

17. Sarah Dunn

16. Hayley Hields

13. Millie Taylor

22. Chloe Wainwright Morley

11. Olivia Wood

9. Grace Ramsden

12. Paige Costello

4. Amy Hardcastle

18. Jess Harrap

3. Manina Spurr

8. Lauren Hickey

10. Debbie Smith

14. Amy Boardman

15. Heather McDonald

Tries: Sarah Dunn (17, 52), Amy Hardcastle (25). Goals: Leah Jones 2/3

Sin-bin: Debbie Smith (38 – Dissent)

Dismissal: Debbie Smith (38 – Continued Dissent)

Castleford Tigers

1. Tara Stanley

5. Courtney Pointon

12. Lacey Owen

15. Olivia Grace

4. Kelsey Gentles

6. Georgia Roche

31. Jasmine Cudjoe

17. Kirsty Higo

9. Sinead Peach

68. Shona Hoyle

11. Tamzin Renouf

28. Hollie Dodd

13. Rhiannion Marshall

14. Sammy Watts

19. Jasmine Rowley

24. Lucy Eastwood

44. Emma Slowe

Tries: Georgia Roche (12), Tara Stanley (21, 37), Rhiannion Marshall (32, 65), Kelsey Gentles (39), Olivia Grace (44, 73), Sinead Peach (48)

Goals: Tara Stanley 7/9

Half-time: 28-12

Referee: Joe Turner

Attendance: 402