Castleford Tigers 25
Tries: Carney, Solomona, Webster, Cook. Goals: Gale. 4 Drop goal: Roberts.
St Helens 24
Tries: Walsh, Walmsley, Greenwood, McDonnell. Goals: Percival 4.
Ben Roberts scored a dramatic last-minute drop goal as Castleford beat St. Helens 25-24 to reclaim fourth spot in Super League.
Justin Carney opened the scoring for the Tigers, but Saints responded strongly, with Luke Walsh and Alex Walmsley hitting back.
However, Denny Solomona’s 90-metre try reduced the arrears, but Joe Greenwood was quick to temper the hosts’ momentum, handing the leaders an 18-10 interval lead.
And Shannon McDonnell looked to have won it for Saints despite scores Jake Webster and Matt Cook.
But, after Luke Gale’s penalty made it 24-all as the minutes ticked down, Roberts had other ideas and sealed a memorable win on the hooter – the Tigers’ first win over Saints for seven years.
Castleford winger Justin Carney had been out for 10 weeks with a dislocated elbow but it took him just five minutes to make considerable presence felt as the produced a trademark finish to power his way over at the corner for his 10th try of the season.
However, the Australian fumbled from the restart and Saints were next to go over as Walsh followed up a grubber kick from his half-back partner Travis Burns to score, Percival putting his side 6-4 up.
Saints extended their lead on 15 minutes when prop Walmsley took Walsh’s fine-tuned short pass to burst through the Castleford defence for their second try.
The visitors could have gone further ahead but, when passing broke down on their left edge, Solomona swooped on the loose ball and showed a remarkable pace and agility to evade a number of defenders on his way to an impressive 95-metre score – his eighth in four appearances.
Gale added the conversion to make it 12-10, but Saints were not to be deterred and restored their eight-point advantage 10 minutes before the break; Greenwood charging on to Walsh’s pass to cross for a try on his comeback from injury.
Percival’s third goal made it 18-10 but Castleford were in electric form as soon as they emerged for the second period.
Roberts, enjoying the attacking freedom his role at full back allows, evaded a would-be tackle from Walsh and produced an inch-perfect kick for centre Jake Webster to collect and touch down to make it three tries apiece.
Gale kicked his second goal and, after Oliver Holmes romped 60 metres upfield Castleford went in front once again on the hour when Gale’s kick bounced free, allowing Cook to touch down for one of the simplest scores of the year.
Gale’s third goal made it 22-18 to the home side, but Daryl Powell’s men held their advantage for just five minutes, McDonnell winning the race to Jordan Turner’s kick to go over for Saints’ fourth try of the night.
Percival’s goal from in front of the posts put the visitors two points up lead but more drama was to come in the closing moments.
After Adam Swift left the field through injury, Percival was penalised and sin-binned for holding down.
The Tigers opted to run the penalty with six minutes left, but decided to kick for goal two minutes later when McCarthy-Scarsbrook was pulled up for a push on Roberts off the ball.
Gale stepped up to land the 40-metre penalty that levelled the scores, but he was wide with a drop-goal attempt and Walsh was also off target with a one-pointer.
And, in one of the most dramatic finales Super League has ever seen, James Roby fumbled from the base of the scrum and Cas rumbled forward, allowing Roberts to notch the decisive drop goal – literally on the hooter – to send the home fans into raptures.
NothingButLeague Man of the Match: Grant Millington. Ben Roberts’ ‘rags to riches’ performance caught the eye, as did Mike McMeeken’s admirable solidity in the pack. But, for sheer drive and determination, Grant Millington was immense. The big Auzzie helped lay the platform for Castleford’s backs to cut loose. Man of Steel contender?
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