An excellent hat-trick from James Clare helped Castleford Tigers claim a comfortable 36-16 win against neighbours Wakefield Trinity at the Mobile Rocket Stadium on Friday night. The win keeps the Tigers in the hunt for an end of season play-off place, with Trinity now beginning to look over their shoulder. Here’s how the action unfolded.
Winger James Clare stole the show with a superb hat-trick, extending Castleford’s winning run against their local rivals to 13 games, with a late flurry of tries taking the game away from Wakefield as the home side’s disappointing form continued.
In a tight opening quarter, Danny Brough broke the deadlock with a simple penalty goal before his kick, moments later, forced a Castleford knock-on, close to their own try-line, with Kyle Wood the beneficiary when he crashed over for the game’s first try.
Tuoyo Egodo responded with Castleford’s first try, finishing superbly in the corner, only for another Brough penalty to extend Wakefield’s lead.
The returning Oliver Holmes then went over in the corner, minutes before half-time, with Peter Mata’utia’s failure to convert either try, in windy conditions, sending Wakefield into a two-point lead at half-time.
That lead was quickly erased however, when Clare went over for a simple try, in the opening minutes of the second period, after a stunning long-range pass from Jake Trueman.
Jordan Rankin then picked the pocket of Ryan Hampshire, out jumping the Wakefield full-back after a wonderful Mata’utia kick, to move the visitors into a 10-point lead.
Brough then went over from close range, just past the hour mark, before converting his own try to set up an exciting final 20 minutes.
However, a pair of late tries from Clare, completing his hat-trick, put the game beyond doubt before Rankin once again out-jumped Hampshire to add some gloss to the scoreline in the final five minutes.
Victory for the visitors keeps Cas well in the hunt for a top-five finish, as they move level on points with Wigan Warriors and only sit outside of the play-off places on points difference. Wakefield however, remain just four points clear of bottom side London Broncos with their play-off hopes left in tatters eight defeats in their last nine Super League games.
It took 23 minutes before the game’s first points were scored when Brough knocked over a routine penalty to edge the home side in front. However, he produced an excellent kick moments later, which Egodo critically knocked-on close to his own try-line, allowing Reece Lyne to collect the loose ball and find Wood who went over for the game’s first try.
Brough’s successful conversion, of Wood’s try, moved him into second-place in the all-time Super League points scoring charts, overtaking the great Paul Deacon, as he moved onto 2,415 points in total.
Egodo made up for his earlier error when he produced a stunning one-handed finish in the corner, just past the half-hour mark, having beaten a number of Wakefield defenders before placing the ball skilfully over the try line.
Another two points from Brough extended Trinity’s lead before Holmes scored the Tigers second try of the match three minutes before half-time. Holmes showed excellent speed and support play to get himself up-field, following a superb break from Jake Trueman, before scoring in the corner under pressure from Ryan Hampshire.
Cas picked up where they left off, after the break, with Trueman again pulling the strings when he produced a remarkable, long-range, left-to-right pass for James Clare to go over and put the visitors ahead for the first time in the game.
The game swung further into Castleford’s favour when they absorbed plenty of pressure on their own line before going up the other end and grabbing another try when Mata’utia produced a tantalising kick, that saw Rankin out-jump Hampshire to score his sixth try of the season.
The live wire Brough kept Wakefield in the tie when he went over from close range, finding a gap to score his second try since returning to Trinity this season, just past the hour mark, to set-up a tense final quarter.
However, Clare went over for his second and third tries of the game, late on, after being found by Paul McShane and Greg Minikin respectively, to complete his first Super League hat-trick since returning to the West Yorkshire club and has now scored five tries against Wakefield this season.
More gloss was added to the scoreline when Rankin scored his second try of the game with five minutes left to play, scoring a carbon-copy of his first try as he rose above Hampshire once more to claim another Mata’utia kick and hand his side a 20-point victory and claim the local bragging rights in the process.
Record breaker Brough
Danny Brough might be 36-years-old but the records keep tumbling for the livewire Scotland international. Having appeared in his 500th career appearance earlier in the season, he has now moved into second-place in the all-time Super League points scoring charts. His second goal of the evening moved him onto 2,015 points scored in Super League, overtaking Paul Deacon, although he remains more than 1000 points behind all-time and outright leader Kevin Sinfield. Love him or hate him, Brough is a credit to the Super League competition and should be duly praised for his incredible longevity at the highest level of the game.
Wakefield looking over their shoulder
It’s now eight defeats in nine Super League games for Wakefield who, having started the season so promisingly, must now begin to start looking over their shoulder. They are four points ahead of bottom side London and just two clear of Huddersfield Giants, Leeds Rhinos and Hull KR as we come to the final rounds of the season. With no sign of their form picking up in the near future, Chris Chester needs to rally the troops and start getting points on the board in one of Super League’s tightest relegation battles in years.
Oliver Holmes is back
Back-row Oliver Holmes hadn’t featured for Castleford since their win against Wakefield back in April. His return tonight showed everyone what the Tigers had been missing making several metres in the tackle and even going over for his second try of the season. He showed electric speed to support Jake Trueman’s break up-field before holding off the attempts of Ryan Hampshire to ground the ball in the corner. Hopefully, he can now keep himself fit until the end of the season and could have a big part to play in the remainder of Castleford’s season.
13th time lucky
As winning streaks go in Super League, Castleford’s 13-game win streak against West Yorkshire neighbours Wakefield is quite simply ridiculous. Trinity’s last victory against the Tigers came back in February 2015, failing to beat their rivals in any of their next 13 Super League clashes and counting. It looked as if that streak might come to an end tonight, having led at half-time, but fell apart in the last 10 minutes to hand Cas the bragging rights once more.
Wakefield Trinity 16
Tries: Wood, Brough
Goals: Brough 4
Drop Goals: n/a
Castleford Tigers 36
Tries: Egodo, Holmes, Clare 3, Rankin 2
Goals: Mata’utia 4
Drop Goals: n/a
Wakefield Trinity: Hampshire, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Tupou, Caton-Brown, Miller, Brough, England, Wood, Tanginoa, Pauli, Arundel, Batchelor
Interchanges: King, Kopczak, Hirst, Crowther
Castleford Tigers: Rankin, Clare, Minikin, Blair, Egodo, Trueman, Mata’utia, Watts, McShane, Clarkson, Sene-Lefao, McMeeken, Milner
Interchanges: Millington, Holmes, Massey, O’Neill