Castleford Tigers missed a chance to go second in the Betfred Super League when they let an early 12-0 lead slip to lose 32-18 to Huddersfield Giants.
The win ensured the Giants’ place in the Super 8s and they appeared to want the points more than Daryl Powell’s men who lost their way after their bright start.
The teams went in level at 18-18 at half-time after a 40 minutes in which Cas looked red hot with the ball in hand, but did not have enough of it and were not so strong in defence down their left hand side.
The Tigers started well with two early goalline drop-outs forced and a try on seven minutes when Jamie Ellis crossed the line on a forceful run, bouncing over without making a double movement according to the video referee.
A second try quickly followed as Paul McShane’s brilliant run and inside pass gave Michael Shenton space and he sent Jake Trueman over.
With Ellis converting both tries Cas were 12-0 up inside 10 minutes.
A frustrating period followed, however, as the Giants hit back through Jermaine McGillvary after an overlap was created on their right and a succession of controversial decisions went the visitors’ way.
The Tigers did not have the ball in hand for 15 minutes and conceded again on 24 with McGillvary again diving over from Leroy Cudjoe’s pass.
Danny Brough was unable to add his second conversion, but kicked a penalty to level the scores at 12-12.
When Cas were finally awarded a penalty and had the ball they quickly took advantage as Junior Moors powered over the line from close range. Ellis’ goal made it 18-12.
However, the last play of the first half saw Huddersfield attack down their right again and Lee Gaskell sliced through more hesitant defending for a try that was converted by Brough.
The Giants then started the second half as they finished the first and took full advantage of soft defending by the hosts to post three tries in seven minutes to take the game right away from the Tigers.
First, Brough’s grubber kick was missed by Greg Eden and Cudjoe pounced, getting the ball with an inch to spare, the try being confirmed by the video referee.
Then Gaskell’s break was backed up by Darnell McIntosh to score and McGillvary took Jordan Rankin’s looping pass to complete his hat-trick.
Brough failed to convert any of the three tries, but added a penalty to stretch his team’s lead to 32-18.
Cas were finally seen in attack, but Ellis was tackled just short of the line on a sixth tackle power play and Eden put his foot in touch trying the get the ball down in the corner.
It was the hosts’ turn to have a let off when Gaskell lost the ball trying to reach out and ground it over the line.
Castleford’s night was well and truly summed up as Eden got on the end of Michael Shenton’s kick over only to drop the ball in the act of touching it down, according to the video referee.
Scorers - Castleford: Tries Ellis, Trueman, Moors; goals Ellis 3. Huddersfield: Tries McGillvary 3, Gaskell, Cudjoe, McIntosh; goals Brough 4.
Castleford Tigers: Laulu-Togaga’e; Clare, Webster, Shenton, Eden; Ellis, Trueman; Watts, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Holmes, Millington, Milner. Subs: Moors, Massey, Cook, Clark.
Huddersfield Giants: Rankin; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Turner, McIntosh; Gaskell, Brough; Clough, O’Brien, Lawrence, Mellor, Murphy, Ta’ai. Subs: Hinchcliffe, Ferguson, Smith, Roberts.
Referee: Chris Kendall.