Castleford Tigers snatched a late winner in dramatic fashion as they defeated Wigan Warriors 19-18 courtesy of Jamie Ellis’ drop goal.
The first-half proved to be more of a chess game than the usual grudge match seen with both teams trying their luck to no avail. Eventually, however, Sam Tomkins typified his gritty nature as he scrambled over despite the attention of several Tigers players.
Quentin Laulu-Togagae replied for the Tigers, a simple training ground move proving enough to unlock the Warriors defence and lock up the scores.
Yet Liam Marshall would give the Wigan fans even more to cheer about as the Warriors rounded out the half through a spectacular 60 metre effort and a Sam Tomkins penalty goal making it 12-4 at the break.
The second half followed the neatly written script with both sides once again keeping each other at arm’s length before Castleford pounced with two quick tries from Michael Shenton and Matt Cook.
However, the Castleford faithful were set for a rollercoaster finish. From hero to villain, Matt Cook was sin-binned for a crusher tackle before Tom Davies crossed to set up a nail-biting finish.
For the second time in just five days a drop-goal shootout was about to take place, fortunately for the Tigers, it was Jamie Ellis who wore his shooting boots nailing a one-pointer to secure the victory.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Cas show fighting spirit yet again
With no less than eleven first team players ruled out of the game yet again, Daryl Powell’s men set about producing a performance similar to that against Warrington of week’s past.
While Wigan didn’t carry as big a favourite tag, suffering from injuries themselves and international duties calling, Castleford once again claimed a vital two points ahead of Hull FC, if the Tigers can recover their first team stars we could see the return of the classy Cas.
Wigan’s production line continues
Wigan Warriors know how to produce quality youngsters, this is no secret. The latest instalment came in the shape of Liam Paisley, which proved one again to be a shining light for the Wigan academy.
In fact, all of Wigan’s try scorers hailed from the esteemed academy and whilst this is brilliant news for those involved and for the future of the English national team, experience can prove vital as Jamie Ellis showed tonight.
This is a great safety net for Shaun Wane to have, yet whoever may replace Wane at the helm has the job of replacing vastly experienced player such as Sam Tomkins; the future may be bright but it isn’t here just yet.
Man Of The Match- Junior Moors (Castleford Tigers)
It would be easy enough to give the match-winning man the accolade, yet the truth is he simply does not get the chance without the hard yards of his forwards. Non more so than the 6ft 3″ powerhouse that is Junior Moors.
Much is made of Wigans hard forwards and their ability to bully sides out of the game, yet Moors showed his tireless work rate tonight with strong running and tough tackling throughout the game.
Mitch Clark and Jake Webster ran the back-rower close, yet Moors gets the credit he sometimes doesn’t always receive after games.
Castleford Tigers- 19
Tries: Laulu-Togagae, Shenton, Cook
Goals: Ellis (x3)
Drop Goals: Ellis
Wigan Warriors -18
Tries: Tomkins, Marshall, Davies
Goals: Tomkins (x3)
Drop Goals: n/a
Castleford Tigers: Laulu-Togagae, Clare, Webster, Shenton, Hitchcox, Ellis, Trueman, Cook, McShane, Massey, Moors, Millington, Maher
Interchanges: Springer, Green, Clark, Egodo.
Wigan Warriors: Tomkins, Davies, Sarginson, Gildart, Marshall, Woods, Powell, Navarrete, Leuluai, Flower, Paisley, Isa, Hamlin
Interchanges: Clubb, Tautai, Escare, Field.
Referee: James Child
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