CASTLEFORD recovered from a shock start and produced a stirring fight back as they came from 30-18 down a minute into the second half to beat Super League play-off rivals Bradford Bulls 34-30 at Probiz Coliseum on Sunday.
After conceding five tries in 41 minutes the Tigers stiffened their defence to earn two points that lifted them above Leeds Rhinos into sixth place in the Super League table.
Cas were trailing for 64 minutes of Sunday’s game, but rediscovered the spirit that saw them push Wigan so close in midweek as they never gave up then held on against a late Bulls onslaught.
They found themselves 12-0 down inside four minutes as Brett Kearney went over for two tries that stunned the 7,004 Probiz Coliseum crowd and Patrick Ah Van kicked the first two of five conversions.
Adam Milner soon replied with the first home try and Kirk Dixon goaled, but Gareth Raynor’s try had the Bulls 18-12 up on 17 minutes.
Tigers again stormed back as Joe Arundel and Rangi Chase, with a classic solo effort, went over and two more Dixon goals made it 18-18, but tries with the last play of the first half and first set after the break by Shad Royston and Paul Sykes appeared to have swung the game decisively in the visitors’ favour.
Cas dominated for a spell, however, and were rewarded with tries by Rob Parker – on his home debut – Arundel again and Stuart Jones as they turned the game on its head. Dixon kicked two more conversions and the Tigers held onto their 34-30 lead through some nerve-shredding final moments as Bradford threw everything at them in the closing stages.
Castleford: McGoldrick; Youngquest, Dixon, Arundel, Owen; Chase, Orr; Jackson, Milner, Parker, Ferres, Jones, Hudson. Subs: Massey, Thompson, Widders, J Davies.
Bradford: Kearney; Ah Van, Sykes, Whitehead, Raynor; Jeffries, Herbert; Lynch, Diskin, Burgess, Elima, Langley, Hargreaves. Subs: Addy, Royston, Kopczak, Scruton.
Referee: Richard Silverwood.