Clare’s double earns Tigers draw in dramatic finish

James Clare, who was deputising for Justin Carney, scored two tries inn the last seven minutes.
James Clare, who was deputising for Justin Carney, scored two tries inn the last seven minutes.

Three tries in the last 13 minutes earned Castleford Tigers an 18-18 draw against Hull in Thursday’s Super League match at the KC Stadium.

The Tigers were 18-4 down when Hull-bound stand-off Marc Sneyd sparked the fightback with a 67th minute touchdown.

Winger James Clare, who was deputising for the rested Justin Carney, then crossed twice in the last seven minutes to earn Castleford a share of the spoils.

Sneyd, who is joining Hull on a three-year deal at the end of the season, could have won it for the Tigers but he failed with three of his four conversion attempts,

Hull, who were hammered 56-10 at Wigan the previous week, were lifted by the return of skipper Gareth Ellis and a man-of-the-match display by loose forward Joe Westerman.

An early knock-on from Castleford full-back Luke Dorn gave Hull the opportunity to set up camp in the visitors half.

Jordan Rankin lost the ball trying to ground it over the line, Ellis was brought down just short and winger Tom Lineham went close to touching down Westerman’s kick on a free play as the Airlie Birds enjoyed all the early momentum.

The pressure finally told on 14 minutes when hooker Danny Houghton made the running for centre Kirk Yeaman to create an overlap for winger Fetuli Talanoa to score the first try.

On one of the few occasions, the Tigers managed to break free of the shackles, Sneyd whetted the appetite of the home fans ahead of his pending move to the KC Stadium with a superb break that set up a 15th try of the season for centre Michael Shenton.

The normally reliable Sneyd missed the conversion attempt and Hull increased their lead through the impressive Jordan Abdull on 29 minutes.

The youngster had earlier made a clean break which came to nothing, but he produced a clinical finish to register his first try for the club, jinking past two flat-footed defenders, and Rankin’s second goal made it 12-4.

Hull were forced to scramble after a wonderful flowing move featuring ball-handling forwards Grant Millington and Weller Hauraki almost fashioned a try for hooker Daryl Clark but Castleford were relieved to find themselves trailing by only eight points at the break.

Their task began to look impossible when Castleford winger Kirk Dixon lost the ball just outside his own 20-metre area within two minutes of the re-start and Hull immediately took advantage of the perfect attacking position, with Abdull getting Yeaman crashing over for their third try.

Rankin kicked a third goal but hobbled off six minutes into the second half and Hull lost some of their momentum in the resulting re-shuffle.

As Castleford rallied, forward Oliver Holmes got to the line after a determined run only to lose his grip on the ball as he attempted to touch down, but the visitors gave themselves hope with two tries in seven minutes.

Shenton carved out a score for Sneyd with a trademark slicing run on 67 minutes and his goal cut the gap back to eight points.

There were only four points in it on 73 minutes when Hull failed to clear the danger caused by Sneyd’s grubber kick and Clare picked up the loose ball to sprint 30 metres for his first try.

As the Tigers pressed for the winning try, Abdull was carried off on a stretcher with a head injury following a collision with Hauraki, who was put on report by referee James Child.

Hull fans bayed for a penalty but Castleford took advantage of excellent field position as Clare collected Sneyd’s clever kick to the corner for his second try.