FIVE TRIES in a blistering 12-minute spell either side of half-time underlined Castleford Tigers’ superiority on a painful afternoon for hosts Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
lt was 12-12 a minute before half-time, but Tigers scored on the final play of the first half and four times at the start of the second en-route to a 58-20 success.
Wildcats competed well for the opening 39 minutes and a spell early in the fourth quarter, but could not cope whenever Tigers stepped on the gas.
And to rub salt into the Wakefield’s wounds, they lost star full-back Kevin Locke with what could be a season-ending injury early on.
Wakefield acted quickly to bring in replacement for Locke, re-signing their former player Lee Smith, who has been training with them, on a contract until the end of the season.
Luke Gale, who missed the previous week’s defeat at Hull due to illness, was star man for Tigers.
Appropriately, Gale mastered the blustery wind, converting nine of Tigers’ 10 tries, scoring one and being heavily involved in four others.
Tigers also suffered a first half injury blow when winger Denny Solomona, who had scored in their previous six games, hobbled off with an ankle injury.
But Cas are strong in that position and Justin Carney, on the other flank, stepped up to touch down four times, all in the second half.
Tigers scored 40 points in the second period, six more than they had done against Trinity in the Magic Weekend derby – which they won 56-16 – seven weeks earlier.
Tim Smith returned for Wildcats after three games out and his kick created the opening try, Reece Lyne touching down after just four minutes.
That came moments after Mickael Simon had been held up over the whitewash by Andy Lynch and the same Wildcats player could have scored soon afterwards, but spilled the ball as he headed for the line.
That was costly as Wakefield’s old failings came back to haunt them. Prop Grant Millington has been in tremendous form for Tigers this year, but he should have been stopped when he got the ball 20 metres out with four defenders surrounding him. Locke was hurt trying to keep him out. Moments later Gale snapped up the ball from Ali Lauitiiti’s offload in front of the posts and crossed for the visitors’ second try, making it 12-6 after 17 minutes.
The rest of the half was evenly-contested. Hookers Stuart Howarth and Adam Milner each missed a good opportunity before Wakefield levelled three minutes from the interval.
The earlier errors didn’t stop Lauitiiti, packing down at prop, from offloading at every opportunity and he forced a knock-on from Tigers forward Millington which was punished when Wildcats substitute Anthony Walker crashed over from close range, Joe Arundel adding his second goal.
But on the final play of the half Mike McMeeken, playing in the right-centre after Solomona went off, managed to dab the ball down from Junior Moors’s pass. Tigers carried on from where they had left off by blowing Wildcats apart immediately after the interval.
Michael Shenton’s break was finished off by Oliver Holmes, Luke Dorn went over and then Carney somehow kept Gale’s kick in play, according to the officials, tapped it over the line and followed-up to touch down.
The re-start went out on the full and in the set from the penalty, Carney crossed again, from Gale’s pass.
Wildcats didn’t throw in the towel and young winger Tom Johnstone went over twice in quick succession, from passes by Danny Washbrook and McShane, but Cas stepped on the accelerator after that. With seven minutes left Carney crossed from Gale’s kick, Dorn then added a second touchdown and Carney completed the try haul on the final play, off a Gale pass.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Locke, Tansey, Arundel, Lyne, Johnstone, Miller, T Smith, Scruton, Howarth, Anderson, Lauitiiti, Molloy, Simon. Subs: McShane, Washbrook, Walker, Mullally.
Castleford Tigers: Dorn, Solomona, Gibson, Shenton, Carney, Finn, Gale, Lynch, Milner, Millington, O Holmes, McMeeken, Springer. Subs: Roberts, Cook, Boyle, Moors.
Referee: Robert Hicks (RFL).