Castleford Tigers stayed top of the Super League but were made to work hard for the two points, as a young Widnes Vikings outfit pushed them all the way at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.

Pride in the shirt

Widnes Vikings fans have been increasingly frustrated with their side’s form of late, as they currently sit bottom of the competition with just two wins to their name. And, when they saw the side which would take on league leaders Castleford Tigers they were left fearing the worst, as their 17 man squad was packed with youngsters.

Those young lads did the club proud though, and right until the final three minutes they were in with a chance of snatching a shock victory. They defended for their lives against the division’s best attacking outfit and can definitely hold their heads up high, as they also came up with some attacking brilliance in a number of their tries.

Classy Cas

At the end of the day, Cas just had too much fire power for the Vikings as Greg Eden led them to victory with a hat-trick, before Matt Cook sealed the win against the tiring defence. Straight from the off the Tigers were knocking on the door, forcing Widnes to defend set after set.

Once they got a breakthrough they looked like they would run riot, but it wasn’t until the final quarter that they got control of the contest and put their opponents to bed. Grinding out ugly wins like this one will fill them with confidence heading towards the business end of the campaign.

Inexperience shows

For all their effort and determination the youngsters in Widnes colours couldn’t hold on to their lead in the second half, and they had a big chance with five minutes left to snatch the win. The hosts led by four points and after regathering a short kick-off the Vikings forced a goal-line drop-out.

They worked their way into good field position and looked to mount an attack on the left edge, but their execution was off and they coughed up possession before Cook ended their chances up the other end. Still, plenty of positives for Denis Betts’ men to take from their Friday night in Castleford.

Champagne Rugby

There were some fantastic efforts on Friday night from both sides, one of the best coming from Corey Thompson as he dove over after taking a Michael Shenton-esque pass from Charly Runciman out the back. Thompson was then involved in Lloyd White’s break which ended in Jordan Johnstone racing over in support of Ed Chamberlain from the next play.

Not to be out done, some slick passing sent Greg Minikin over for a try on the right edge before Eden came up with a brilliant finish in the opposite corner. He raced onto a kick from Luke Gale and somehow managed to take the ball cleanly and ground it before crossing the dead ball line.

Scoreboard

Castleford Tigers 32 (10):

1. Zak Hardaker, 21. Joel Monaghan, 2. Greg Minikin, 4. Michael Shenton, 5. Greg Eden, 16. Ben Roberts, 7. Luke Gale, 8. Andy Lynch, 9. Paul McShane, 10. Grant Millington, 15. JeseSene-Lefao, 12. Mike McMeeken, 14. Nathan Massey. Subs: 13. Adam Milner, 18. Matt Cook, 19. Gadwin Springer, 23. Tom Holmes

Tries: Eden (11, 59, 75), Springer (40), Minikin (54), Cook (79)

Goals: Gale 5/6

Widnes Vikings 22 (12):

21. Jack Johnson, 28. Ryan Ince, 27. Ed Chamberlain, 4. Charly Runciman, 2. Corey Thompson, 33. Aaron Heremaia, 31. Jordan Johnstone, 18. Greg Burke, 9. Lloyd White, 16. Alex Gerrard, 29. Brad Walker, 25. Tom Olbison, 23. Ted Chapelhow. Subs: 22. Ed Chapelhow, 13. Hep Cahill, 35. Danny Walker, 20. Manase Manuokafoa

Tries: Ince (19), Johnson (27), Thompson (46), Johnstone (49)

Goals: Chamberlain 3/4