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.
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)
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
Referee: Joe Turner