Castleford Tigers let a 30-4 lead slip to lose out in their second pre-season game at Wakefield Trinity after the young players from their academy failed to cope with their more experienced hosts in the second half.
Daryl Powell’s men led 24-4 at half-time and increased their lead further with another try straight after the restart, but Anthony Walker’s try six minutes from time and Sam Williams’ conversion sealed Trinity’s comeback, giving them a 32-30 victory.
The home side, who fielded more senior players in their second half line-up than the Tigers, scored five unanswered tries in the last 33 minutes to turn the game on its head.
It was a different story initially as before the Tigers sent on a number of youngsters from their academy they were largely in control.
Cas made a strong start and were ahead from the fourth minute when Ben Roberts announced his return from injury with a kick through for fellow half-back Luke Gale to score and add the conversion.
Greg Eden and Gadwin Springer both went close to more scores before Gale’s 40-20 kick paved the way for a second try through Greg Minikin after good hands by Gale and Eden.
Gale goaled and was on target with another conversion soon after when Paul McShane had dived over from acting-half following Tuoyo Egodo’s break that saw him only just brought down by Mason Caton-Brown near the line.
Wakefield looked to hit back as Scott Grix’s grubber kick was well defended by Eden with Bill Tupou in pursuit.
Tom Johnstone then attempted to dive in at the corner only to be superbly tackled into touch by Joel Monaghan and Jake Webster.
Cas stretched their lead when Eden did well to pick up a Gale pass and finished superbly with a dive for another try goaled by Gale.
Wakefield were handed a lifeline right on the first half hooter as Reece Lyne stretched out to score after Eden had the ball stolen on a kick return. No conversion meant it was 24-4 at half-time.
Trinity made a poor start to the second half with Johnstone dropping the restart kick and from the resulting set Tigers youngster Luke Million scored a fine try after throwing out a dummy the home defence fell for. Eden’s goal made it 30-4, but remarkably that was to be the last Castleford score although head coach Daryl Powell threw on eight players from his academy to gain some valuable experience in the remainder.
Wakefield’s comeback began on 47 minutes when Sam Williams went over and converted his own try.
Lyne was then held up over the line as the hosts went close again before the Tigers had their last real chance to score when Minikin went on a brilliant run only to be adjudged to have lost the ball in the act of putting it down over the line.
It was all Trinity from here on in. First Ben Jones-Bishop raced clear only to be hauled down by Rangi Chase before the ball was spread to the other wing where Bill Tupou found space to score.
James Batchelor broke through the Cas defence and beat Dec Sheehan and Chase to the try line for another home score that went unconverted.
Jacob Miller’s kick then fooled the Tigers defence to give Joe Arundel the chance to score against his former club and although there was no goal again it was now 30-22.
Rampant Wakefield could not be stopped once more when Johnstone finished well in the corner to put them within one score.
The winning try followed when after Tupou was held up over the line, the next play saw Walker power his way over and Williams’ goal - only the second successful Trinity conversion - clinched a 32-30 result.
Cas had one last chance, but it was all over when youngster Calum Turner lost the ball on the last tackle and there was much for their youngsters to have learned from this tough second half.
Scorers - Wakefield: Tries Lyne, Williams, Batchelor, Tupou, Arundel, Johnstone, Walker; goals Williams 2. Castleford: Tries Gale, Minikin, McShane, Eden, Million; goals Gale 4, Eden.
Wakefield Trinity: Grix; Caton-Brown, B Tupou, Lyne, Johnstone; Miller, Williams; Huby, Sio, Allgood, Ashurst, Kirmond, Arona. Subs: Jones-Bishop, Finn, Wood, Arundel, Walker, Batchelor, Crowther, Hirst.
Castleford Tigers: Eden; Monaghan, Webster, Egodo, Minikin; Roberts, Gale; Lynch, McShane, Springer, Moors, Cook, Sene-Lefao. Subs: Douglas, Chase, Fitzsimmons, T Holmes, Igbinedion, Johnson, Million, Sheehan, Maher, Turner.
Referee: Gareth Hewer.