Hat-tricks for wingers Kieran Gill and Lewis Carr helped Castleford Tigers to an emphatic 56-0 win over local rivals Featherstone Rovers in the festive challenge match at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Victory was never in doubt after the Tigers opened up an early lead and they proved too slick in the backs for a Featherstone side made up of first team players, youngsters and players recently signed to play in their new reserves side.
Rovers tried hard and made the game as competitive as they could, but were outgunned by a home team who enjoyed the drier than usual conditions for this time of year, scoring 11 unanswered tries.
Castleford showed their Super League finishing skills as they scored four tries to nil in the first half, with all of them coming down the flanks.
It took them just four minutes to open the scoring with Cory Aston and Joe Wardle doing the support work down the left edge. Aston was unable to add the goal from the sideline.
Featherstone responded well and a promising move ended when Brad Day lost the ball 10 metres out after a crunching tackle by Matt Cook.
Luke Cooper was then stopped just short of the line as he tried to blast his way over the line from close range.
Cas went straight down the other end and Gill was over for his second try following Tuoyo Egodo’s offload and good play by Aston and Peter Mata’utia.
Again Rovers enjoyed a spell of pressure, but it came to nothing as Danny Maskill’s fine break down the middle was not followed up well enough and Cooper then James Lockwood were both tackled just short of the line.
Gill showed the visitors how to finish with a good effort down the left flank following an initial break by Wardle. This time Aston was able to goal from touchline to make it 14-0.
Day was held up over the line as Featherstone looked to hit back, but they were soon defending after a 40-20 kick by Tigers youngster Jake Sweeting.
Aston’s low kick near the Fev line was well defended by James Harrison before both sides went down to 12 men with the sin-binning of Castleford’s Robbie Storey and Rovers’ former Tigers player Ryan Bailey after a coming together that did not amount to much.
Right on the stroke of half-time Cas produced a slick attack down the right with Greg Minikin’s superb fast flick on sending James Clare over in the corner to make it 18-0 at the break.
The Tigers continued their good work early in the second half, scoring again three minutes in when Lewis Carr crossed the line with his first touch after coming on for Gill, finishing smartly from Calum Turner’s excellent cut-out pass.
Three minutes later Greg Minikin went over on the right before he then turned creator for Clare’s second try, to which Aston added a touchline conversion.
Cas continued their impressive play with Carr going over for his second try following a superb piece of play by left centre Egodo, who sold a brilliant dummy to work some space near the touchline and send his winger over. Aston’s conversion made it 38-0.
Rovers finally enjoyed some pressure of their own, but it ended when Sweeting swooped on a loose ball and showed a clean pair of heels to chasing defenders on a 90-metre race to the line.
Turner then came up with a fine individual effort closer to the line, jinking one way then the other before crossing under the posts for a try converted by Aston to bring up the 50 points.
After being announced as the sponsors’ man of the match Turner showed why with a superb pass to send Carr over for his hat-trick right on the hooter. Aston added the touchline goal to make the final score 56-0.
Scorers - Castleford: Tries Gill 3, Clare 2, Carr 3, Minikin, Sweeting, Turner; goals Aston 6.
Castleford Tigers; Mata’utia; Clare, Minikin, Egodo, Gill; Aston, Sweeting; Cook, Jinks, Clark, Wardle, Storey, Summers. Subs: Turner, Fella, Carr, Hall, Graham, Dobson, Doyle.
Featherstone Rovers: Hartley; Taylor, Hallett, Hardcastle, McDaniel; Tansey, Punchard; Cooper, Maskill, Darley, Day, Harrison, Lockwood. Subs: Beckett, Bailey, French, Hawkins, Richardson, Cranwick, Waite-Pullen.
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas.