Four Pointers: Castleford Tigers 53 St Helens RLFC 10
Castleford earned their way into the quarter-finals hat after a Challenge Cup mauling against St Helens. The home side bagged 10-tries on the day against a struggling Saints side to ease their way into the next stage of the competition.
It was a quick start to the game for Castleford, they found themselves in a good position as Saints gave away a penalty for being offside after just two minutes and Castleford certainly made the most of it, as Shenton burst through a gap in the St Helens defence to take the Tigers 4-0 up after a missed Gale conversion. It was only a matter of minutes before they were in again as Webster went over after announcing a new deal earlier in the day, Gale made no mistakes this time to take it to 10-0 in Castleford’s favour. St Helens looked to be working hard as they battled back to go over as Smith kicked through for Morgan to score.
There was a stale 10 minutes following as neither side could find a breakthrough, but on 32 minutes Webster was in again after collecting a high kick from Roberts. Almost immediately, the Tigers extended their lead – this time Paul McShane. Greg Eden made the break before sending McShane over who did well to finish, Gale missed the extras but Castleford found themselves 20-4 to the good with 6 minutes until the break.
Before Saints had chance to get a foot in the game, Cas were in again! 3 back to back tries saw another good Roberts high kick collected by Minikin to touch down in the corner. Gale followed up with a drop goal just before the hooter, but the hosts weren’t done there, as Nathan Massey crashed over the line right before half-time to make the scores 31-04 and to end an emphatic first 40 performance from the Tigers.
Saints were really under the pump as just 3 minutes after the restart Castleford grabbed another through Eden, an almost identical start as the first period. The tigers continued to dominate and added more points on 49 minutes as Eden helped himself to a second putting Cas 41-4 up. Greg Eden wrapped up his hattrick in the 62nd minute after a dominate set of play, it wasn’t looking good for St Helens.
Their problems worsened as Minkin flew down the wing to extend Castleford’s lead one more time, Gale converted to make it 53-4 with 10 minutes to play.
Saints got a consolation try towards the end as they reaped the rewards of a penalty by earning some good field position and sending in Douglas, converted by Percival, but it was all too late for the Saints.
WEBSTER WORKING WELL
Jake Webster has been an influential name within the Tigers side of late, the centre is playing well and despite being 33-years old, he is loving every minute of his rugby at the moment.
Just a few hours prior to kick-off the club announced that the Aussie would remain with the Tigers for the 2018 season, with Castleford holding the option to extend his deal for a further year.
He is hoping to end his career with the Tigers and he sealed the announcement with a double against St Helens to send Cas into the quarter-finals.
The number three is causing some real problems for opposition this season and could see Castleford on the way to a few finals and complete a league-topping season.
Castleford sit first in Super League and they showed exactly why they find themselves there with today’s performance. The Tigers have been flying so far this season, they have rarely taken their foot off the gas and the team looks to be enjoying their rugby, they deserve no less than what they are achieving so far this year.
The game was Castleford’s first Challenge Cup victory against St Helens since 1970, although today was much more of a whitewash than the 6-3 win on that day.
SAINTS OFF PAR
St Helens never really got a grip on the game, finding themselves struggling to create anything against a strong defensive Castleford side. At 10-4 down just short of half-time, I think the Saints wouldn’t have minded going in just 6 points behind at the break, but a rampant Castleford period left them 31-4 down instead. St Helens won their Super League fixture against Cas just a few weeks back, so knew that they would be capable of overcoming them and getting to the next stage of the competition, but it seemed like a case of Castleford being on top form today and St Helens not knowing where to start. They have a lot of great players in their team, with some great finishers on the wing, but it seemed that their team hadn’t gelled today, finding it hard to find any way through.
MAGIC OF THE CUP
Some Super League only entered the cup at this round, but there has already been some upsets and big-scoring games, living up to the ‘magic of the cup.’ In addition to Castleford’s masterclass victory against St Helens today, Friday night saw Hull FC demolish fellow Super League side Catalans 62-0 to book their place in the next round, edging them closer to a consecutive Challenge Cup Final spot.
Castleford Tigers (31) 53
Tries: Eden (3), Webster (2), Minikin (2), Shenton, McShane, Massey
Goals: Gale 6/10
Drop Goals: Gale
Man of the Match: Luke Gale
St Helens (4) 10
Tries: Morgan, Douglas
Goals: Percival 1/2
POST MATCH MEDIA
Castleford Tigers, Luke Gale: “I think we are a group of players who enjoy playing football together. We have fun at training and we bring it onto the pitch as well.”
“We enjoy throwing the ball about and you can tell that with our performance.”
St Helens caretaker coach, Jamahl Lolesi: “We didn’t compete hard for 60 minutes of last week’s game and probably 80 minutes of today’s game.”
“We’ve a group of young men who will need to stand up and start doing better for the club.”
Referee: Phil Bentham
Venue: Mend-a-hose Jungle
Date/Time: Saturday 13th May 2017 – 14:30pm GMT