Castleford overcome tricky conditions to clinch top four regular season finish

Two tries: Jake Webster
Two tries: Jake Webster

Three unanswered tries in the second half clinched a 24-6 victory for Castleford Tigers at Salford Red Devils and clinched a top four finish in the regular season for Daryl Powell’s men.

In a mistake ridden first half following a huge downpour before the game there was only one try from each side with the score level at 6-6.

But Cas were much improved after the break and went on to complete a comfortable win over opponents who are now certain to be the middle 8s.

Salford had the first sight of a try only for Robert Lui’s kick into the corner to roll over the sideline as Jake Bibby chased

But it was the Tigers who did come up with the opening try with a bizarre effort as Greg Eden’s kick bounced off several people before the ball fell nicely for Jake Webster to cross the line. Paul McShane was on kicking duties in the absence of Jamie Ellis and Luke Gale and landed the conversion to make it 6-0.

Salford dug in and it took good work by Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e - playing at half-back - to deny Josh Wood as he attempted to dive over from dummy-half.

Matt Cook then came up with some good defence when Josh Jones threatened the visitors’ line, a strong tackle managing to dislodge the ball.

Salford levelled the score as Bibby won a race with James Clare to be the first to reach a grubber kick and Ed Chamberlain converted.

Cas had rarely threatened a second score, but Mitch Clark was held up on the line and a spell of pressure came to nothing to leave it at 6-6 at the break.

The Tigers immediately improved in the second half when skipper Michael Shenton came up with an impressive finish after good work initially by McShane, who added the goal.

Three minutes later they were over again as Webster grabbed his second try, coming on to Laulu-Togaga’e’s pass with a strong diagonal run to power over. McShane converted again and suddenly Cas had a 12-point cushion.

Further pressure following a McShane grubber kick that forced a goal-line drop-out came to nothing

It was Salford’s turn to make the Tigers drop-out soon after and a second drop-out was forced from the next set, but the visitors survived - a man down, however, with Joe Wardle having to be helped off the field with another injury in his comeback game from his previous knock.

When back in attack, Cas went close with McShane held up as he tried to scoot over from dummy-half.

McShane was in the thick of the action a minute later, his kick forcing another drop-out.

A rare kick by Jesse Sene-Lefao resulted in yet another drop-out and from the resulting set Cas put the game to bed. Laulu-Togaga’e sent a great ball out to the right wing where Kieran Gill collected and dived over in the corner. McShane’s conversion put the icing on the cake and the Tigers had a 24-6 win to move within a point of second-placed Wigan in the Betfred Super League.

Scorers - Salford: Try Bibby; goal Chamberlain. Castleford: Tries Webster 2, Shenton, Gill; goals McShane 4.

Salford Red Devils: Chamberlain; Olpherts, Sa’u, Jones, Bibby; Lui, Shorrocks; Tasi, Wood, Nakubuwai, Lannon, McCarthy, Murray. Subs: Flanagan, Burke, Mossop, Nzoungou.

Castleford Tigers: Eden; Gill, Webster, Shenton, Clare; Laulu-Togaga’e, Trueman; Watts, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Moors, Millington, Milner. Subs: Holmes, Wardle, Cook, Clark.

Referee: Chris Kendall

Half-time: 6-6.