Castleford Tigers gave Leeds Rhinos a scare before bowing out of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup at the fourth round stage to last year’s runners-up.
Danny Orr’s battling Tigers threatened to produce a shock result as they led 12-10 with an hour gone before the Rhinos came on strong in the final quarter to claim a 28-12 victory.
Two tries in three second half minutes by Danny McGuire, so often the scourge of the Tigers, finally broke the hearts of the Castleford team after they had defended well.
Cas held a shock 6-4 lead at the break after a first half display full of grit and pride.
Leeds struck first on seven minutes when Kevin Sinfield’s precision kick to the corner gave Kallum Watkins an easy opportunity to catch the ball and touch it down over the line. Sinfield was unable to add the touchline conversion.
Watkins thought he had scored again five minutes later only to be brought back for a forward pass decision against Carl Ablett.
Cas worked their way into the contest and took the lead on 18 minutes as Rangi Chase started and finished a superb move from half-way and Jamie Ellis added the conversion.
It stayed 6-4 to half-time, although it needed fantastic tackles by Jordan Tansey to deny Ryan Hall and Kevin Sinfield and the hosts had another score correctly ruled out for a forward pass to Joel Moon.
The Tigers came close when Daryl Clark was unlucky to slip when breaking clear and Chase’s low kick soon after only just evaded the following up Clark and was hacked clear by home full-back Zak Hardaker.
Leeds scored first in the second half, Rob Burrow going over with Sinfield converting, but back came Cas as Ellis touched down Chase’s low kick then added the goal to make it 12-10.
That was how it stayed until the 62nd minute when McGuire sent Chris Clarkson over for a try goaled by Sinfield.
McGuire’s quickfire double then made sure it was Leeds celebrating at the finish, but they knew they had been in a game.
Scorers - Leeds: Tries; Watkins, Burrow, Clarkson, McGuire 2 goals Sinfield 4. Castleford: Tries Chase, Ellis; goals Ellis 2.
Leeds: Hardaker; Watkins, Ablett, Moon, Hall; Sinfield, McGuire; Leuluai, Burrow, Peacock, Ward, Delaney, Jones-Buchanan. Subs: McShane, Kirke, Clarkson, Achurch.
Castleford: Tansey; Clare, Shenton, Thompson, Carney; Chase, Ellis; Mason, Milner, Huby, Holmes, Hauraki, Massey. Subs: Walker, Clark, Gilmour, Boyle.
Referee: Phil Bentham.