Catalan 28 (10)
Tries: Escare (2), Taia, Henderson, Whitehead
Goals: Bosc (4)
Castleford 6 (0)
Castleford Tigers missed out on the opportunity to lift the League Leaders’ Shield after slumping to a 28-6 defeat to Catalan.
After St Helens were beaten by Huddersfield on Friday night, the door was open for the Tigers to finish top if they could beat the Dragons. However, Catalan spoilt the party with 2 first half tries from Morgan Escare giving the French side a 10-0 lead at half time. 3 further tries from Zeb Taia, Ian Henderson and Elliot Whithead in the 2nd half secured the victory for the Dragons. Kirk Dixon scored Castleford’s consolation try.
The game went scoreless for the opening half hour, with both teams keeping each other out in a hard fought opening to the game. On 30 minutes Vincent Duport shrugged off a tackle from Oliver Holmes on the left hand side before finding Morgan Escare on his inside who went over to open the scoring.
On the stroke of half time Escare scored his 2nd with a sensational effort in the corner. Daryl Millard released the ball on the left wing 3 metres out from the Tigers’ line and was collected by Escare who managed to ground the ball with his outstretched right hand as he edged towards the touch line. Escare’s 2nd try of the night was his 27th of the Super League season. Thomas Bosc missed the conversion meaning the Dragons went into half time 10-0 ahead.
If Castleford were to turn the game in their favour it was paramount they made a good start to the 2nd half yet it was the Dragons who came out stronger. On 42 minutes Zeb Taia scored their 3rd try after receiving a pass from Sam Williams out wide. Taia went over unchallenged to extend the Dragons’ lead to 16-0.
However 2 minutes later the Tigers were back in it. Quick play out wide from Castleford saw Holmes find Kirk Dixon who squeezed in in the corner ahead of a challenge from Escare.
It was to be the only celebration of the evening for the Tigers’ fans however, as 15 minutes later Catalan extended their advantage. Ian Henderson collected the play the ball 5 metres out and forced his way over, beating off the challenge from Michael Shenton and Craig Huby.
5 minutes later Elliot Whitehead scored the final try of the game. The second rower received the ball 10 metres out from the Tigers’ line and powered his way over, beating off the tackles of Shenton and Marc Sneyd. Bosc converted to put Catalan 28-6 up.
Castleford had 15 minutes left to try and salvage an unlikely win, but in a frustrating night for the Tigers they failed to create the chances.
St Helens collect the League Leaders’ Shield as a result, and now host Castleford next Friday in the opening round of the play-offs. Catalan finish the regular season 7th and will travel to Headingley next Saturday to face Leeds.