Hull feel Gale force as Castleford win again

Luke Gale
Luke Gale

Two tries and two goals from Luke Gale helped Castleford Tigers to their first back to back victory of the season as they edged out Hull 20-14 in a close contest at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.

The result was in the balance right up the hooter with Cas having to defend their line frantically in the closing stages.

They had responded well after finding themselves trailing by two points an hour in after earlier leading by 10, but had they taken their chances in the first half they could have been home and hosed well before the tense finish.

Castleford held a narrow lead at half-time after an error-strewn first 40 minutes in which the game never quite got the big crowd at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle excited.

The Tigers did have the better of the chances, but were unable to cash in on great field position in the opening 20 minutes.

Jake Webster looked set to score on six minutes when he made a fine break only to be taken down just short of the line.

James Clare then missed a golden opportunity when the ball slipped out of his hands as he was looking to dive over in the corner.

At the other end Marc Sneyd - one of four ex-Tigers in the Hull line-up - put up some dangerous kicks that were well defended by Jordan Tansey and Clare.

When Cas did open the scoring on 24 minutes it came somewhat out of the blue as Grant Millington made a determined burst on half-way and came up with a terrific offload that was taken by Gale, who then showed good pace to race over for a try he converted.

Justin Carney came close to another score when getting up to meet a Gale high kick only to knock-on over the line.

But back came Hull and after Tom Lineham was bundled into touch by Michael Shenton and Carney going for the corner the winger made amends when squeezing over from Steve Michaels’ pass on 35 minutes.

Sneyd was unable to add the touchline conversion and it stayed 6-4 to half-time.

The second half was much more thrilling than the first with the quality turned up a few notches.

The Tigers came back out of the traps in flying style with a try in the first minute. Andy Lynch made the initial break, Millington took it on and Gale backed up for his second try. His second goal made it 12-4.

Hull looked more dangerous as well and it needed a good tackle by Clare on Fetuli Talanoa to keep the visitors out as he shoved the winger into touch.

Michael Shenton made a break for Cas only to lose the ball in the tackle after charging 50 metres downfield.

But Hull exerted some heavy pressure as kicks by Leon Pryce and Sneyd forced drop-outs and it told eventually with Lineham taking Danny Houghton’s looping pass to go over in the corner for another unconverted try.

Another clever Sneyd kick forced another drop-out and Hull scored again on 57 minutes when Lineham was left unmarked on the right wing again and went over to complete his hat-trick from Sneyd’s pass. This time Sneyd goaled to put the visitors ahead for the first time at 14-12.

Cas finally got the breather they needed after Adam Milner made a great break and he was unlucky not to be able to get the ball to the supporting Tansey as Hull full-back Jordan Rankin knocked the ball down to save a certain try.

However, from the scrum, the ball was worked left and Carney bulldozed his way over in typical style to put the Tigers back in front.

Hull suffered a blow when Sneyd hobbled off with a twisted ankle and there was more pain for them soon after when Gale’s cross-kick was spilled by Talanoa over the line and Clare pounced for what turned out to be the winning try.

Gale hit the post with the conversion to keep the game within six points and Hull threw everything at the Tigers in nine-and-a-half minutes of added time, but could not force their way back this time.

They came close with two players held up over the line, but Castleford held on for a victory which delighted head coach Daryl Powell for the way his team defended their line.

Scorers - Castleford: Tries Gale 2, Carney, Clare; goals Gale 2. Hull: Tries Lineham 3; goal Sneyd.

Castleford Tigers: Tansey; Clare, Gibson, Shenton, Carney; Finn, Gale; Millington, Milner, Moors, O Holmes, Webster, Wheeldon. Subs: Roberts, Lynch, McMeeken, Crossley.

Hull: Rankin; Lineham, Michaels, Logan, Talanoa; Pryce, Sneyd; Paea, Houghton, Watts, Thompson, Minichiello, Westerman. Subs: Hadley, Green, Bowden, Howarth.

Referee: Matt Thomason

Half-time: 6-4.

Attendance: 8,744.