Castleford Tigers Women confirmed their place in the Women’s Super League semi-finals with a hard fought 34-8 win over local rivals Featherstone Rovers Ladies.
Six tries for the Tigers, including a brace for Georgia Roche, was enough to overcome a spirited Featherstone side who led the contest in the opening half-hour.
Heading into this game, the Tigresses knew that a point was enough to take them to the play-offs. Perhaps the pressure led to them conceding a high number of penalties in the first 30 minutes. Rovers enjoyed a ton of possession, but found it hard to break through a resilient defence. However, in the 30th minute the inevitable happened as the ball was shipped out to the right and England international Kayleigh Bulman went over.
Cas hit back as Alex Wallace received the ball from Sinead Peach and powered over from 40 metres. Tara Stanley’s conversion put the home side ahead and they never looked back.
With referee Scott Fernandez about to blow his whistle for half-time, the Tigers struck again, Emma Lumley powering her way over the whitewash. Another successful kick from Stanley made it 12-4.
A large part of the second was also scoreless. The capacity crowd was forced to wait until the 60th minute to see Georgia Roche further extend the Tigers’ lead. A thundering break from Kelsey Gentles took the hosts from inside their own 20, deep into Featherstone’s territory. The move was well finished by Roche, who five minutes later got her second with a spectacular break which saw the youngster travel over 70 metres to score. Stanley maintained her perfect conversion rate to take the hosts 20 points clear of Rovers.
Stanley scored a try of her own. The conversion was just short, but Castleford were now well on course to victory.
They were still error prone, conceding a penalty deep in their own half which allowed Rovers good position from which to score their second try through Chelsea Senior. Cas had the last word, however, with a try from Tamzin Renouf. A fifth conversion by Stanley made the final score 34-8.
There is one round left of the regular season in the Women’s Super League. Castleford, Wigan, Leeds and St Helens are all through to the semis, but the order they finish has still to be decided.
The Rhinos and Warriors will remain in their first and second position no matter what with the fight for third going on.
Cas take on Saints on Friday and will want to clinch third spot as they would take on Wigan away in the semi-final. A defeat would mean fourth place and a trip to Leeds Rhinos, a side which has had the Tigresses’ number this season.