Warrington Wolves won their fourth successive game as they stunned in-form Castleford to claim an 18-6 victory at a mud-soaked Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Despite facing a Castleford side who had won five games on the bounce prior to the Easter Monday clash, it was the Wolves who found themselves 10-0 ahead thanks to two Stefan Ratchford penalty goals and a try from Toby King.
The centre collected Josh Charnley’s inside ball before sliding in at the corner in the last minute of the first half.
The Tigers reduced the deficit to four when Oliver Holmes collected Luke Gale kick-in behind, but a further penalty from Ratchford and a scampering Daryl Clark effort from dummy-half, against his old club, sealed the win for Steve Price.
This win means that the Wolves are finally starting to build some forward momentum going into their next two games against Salford and Hull Kingston Rovers and they now find themselves in the top three, albeit having played more games than anyone else in the competition.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Mud, Mud, and More Mud
Many an observer might’ve suggested that this game only went ahead because of the backlog of fixtures already facing the Tigers over the coming weeks.
Conditions restricted free-flowing rugby, and it was always going to be a case of who could cope with the surreal conditions best.
It was the visitors who managed to adapt quickest and to greater effect than their rivals- perhaps boosted by their experience of similar conditions in Catalans just weeks earlier- and for that, everyone in Primrose and Blue must be commended.
No Classy Cas Today
Castleford are best-known for their expansive, eye-catching brand of rugby, which fans of the Daryl Powell era have become accustomed to.
However, there was never going to be much razzle-dazzle about any of the tries today- the most flamboyant moment of the game came after the final whistle when winger Josh Charnley slid 10 foot through a giant puddle in front of the much-amused travelling section!
Make no m istake- Castleford weren’t poor today; it just turned out not to be their afternoon.
Man Of The Match- Daryl Clark
Isn’t it always the case that a player comes back to haunt their former side?
Castleford will have knownexactly what Clark was going to bring to the party- in these conditions, stopping him was easier said than done.
Warrington’s number nine has been in sensational form for Steve Price in recent weeks, often playing the full 80 minutes without letting-up with the quality of his work.
The Australian coach knew that the 25-year old was someone to build his squad around. Clark certainly seems to be extremely crucial part of the Wire’s newfound spine.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Castleford head coach Daryl Powell:
“I thought both teams did a great job in the conditions. We started a little bit slow and that try before half-time was big for them.
“We were better in the second half but when we had an opportunity to get a grip of the game we made a couple of errors.
“There are some key lessons for us, hopefully we’ll learn them. Warrington are a tough side this year, they’ve got a real pragmatic approach.”
Warrington head coach Steve Price:
“That was tough going considering the conditions. I’ve just spoken to (captain) Chris Hill and he’s never played in those conditions before.
“I was always keen to play the game and it’s credit to Cas for going above and beyond to get the game to go ahead.
“Overall I thought it was a good spectacle. We had to play well against a good quality football team and our completion rate was 83%. Sometimes you don’t need to look fancy.
“It was a tough battle and it’s good to get away with the two points.”
Castleford Tigers 6
Drop Goals: n/a
Warrington Wolves 18
Tries: T.King, Clark
Goals: Ratchford 5/5
Drop Goals: n/a
Castleford Tigers: Trueman; Minikin, Webster, Shenton, Clare; Roberts, Gale; Massey, McShane, Watts, Holmes, McMeeken, Milner.
Replacements: Moors, Millington, Foster, Cook.
Warrington Wolves: Ratchford; Lineham, Atkins, T King, Charnley; Brown, Roberts; Hill, Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Westwood.
Replacements: Murdoch-Masila, Philbin, Crosby, Akauola.
Referee: Robert Hicks.