Patched up Castleford Tigers showed plenty of spirit, but fell to a 36-12 defeat at Hull FC.
Daryl Powell’s men took to the field with a makeshift half-back pairing in Jamie Ellis and Paul McShane, two back-rowers, Joe Wardle and Alex Foster, in the centres and Michael Shenton out on the wing with no less than eight backs unavailable.
They then lost Jake Trueman to injury in the first half to compound the woes, although they gave it a good go after the break and bombed a number of chances for tries.
Castleford left themselves with a mountain to climb after conceding four first half tries to trail 20-6 at the break.
They started well enough with an early break by Greg Minikin and a Paul McShane grubber kick forcing a goal-line drop-out. Joe Wardle then went close
But it was Hull who came up with the first points as Jake Connor sent in Sika Manu, who went over untouched for the first try. Marc Sneyd converted.
The Tigers hit back quickly when Jamie Ellis’ high kick was well taken by Michael Shenton and he passed inside for the supporting McShane to go over for a try that was converted by Ellis.
The next set was disappointing and Hull soon scored again with Jamie Shaul finding a gap to race through and visiting players questioning whether there was on obstruction in the build-up.
Castleford’s injury woes continued as they lost full-back Trueman to injury to leave them with only two first choice backs now in their line-up and Calum Turner on for his debut. The youngster went to the wing with skipper Shenton to full-back.
Unfortunately Turner’s first involvement saw him drop Sneyd’s crossfield kick and on hand to take advantage was Manu for his second try. Sneyd’s goal made it 16-6.
Another Sneyd kick led to a fourth home try when Bureta Faraimo got the ball down over the line.
That proved the last score of the opening half, although Cas had a chance only for Joe Wardle to lose the ball as they attempted to spread the ball wide.
Hull nudged two points further ahead four minutes into the second half with a Jake Connor penalty kick after he took over kicking duties with Sneyd off injured.
Manu was then held up over the line and Mike McMeeken did well to defend a Connor crossfield kick.
But the Tigers scored their second try in the 50th minute as Shenton beat Shaul to get to a high ball and sent in Turner for a try on his debut. Ellis added the conversion to make it 22-12.
More chances followed to make further inroads, but a combination of poor finishing, bad luck and occasionally poor decision making let Hull off the hook.
McShane’s dangerous run across the Hull defence ended up coming to nothing as his pass to Turner went in touch. An overlap was created a minute later, but Foster’s final pass went forward and a penalty was conceded for dissent.
Yet another opening followed after McMeeken made a fantastic break and Turner followed up to get the ball down over the line, but the officials called the youngster in touch.
Hull showed the Tigers how to finish, however, when Faraimo crossed after collecting the ball from Griffin’s offload. Connor’s conversion added to what was the gamebreaker.
Cas still created another chance only for Ellis’ final pass to Minikin to go forward and another likely try go begging.
Connor kicked another penalty for Hull and Castleford’s day was finally summed up when McMeeken appeared to have the ball stolen, but Faraimo picked up and sent Griffin over for the final try.
Scorers - Hull: Tries Manu 2, Shaul, Faraimo 2, Griffin; goals Sneyd 2, Connor 4. Castleford: Tries McShane, Turner; goals Ellis 2.
Hull FC: Shaul; Faraimo, Griffin, Tuimavave, Talanoa; Connor, Sneyd; Taylor, Houghton, Bowden, Manu, Minichiello, Hadley. Subs: Green Paea, Matongo, Westerman.
Castleford Tigers: Trueman; Minikin, Foster, Wardle, Shenton; Ellis, McShane; Watts, Milner, Sene-Lefao, Holmes, McMeeken, Cook. Subs: Moors, Millington, Springer, Turner.
Referee: Gareth Hewer.