SUPER LEAGUE’S leading marksman Denny Solomona scored four tries, but finished on the losing side as Castleford Tigers were beaten 42-26 by visitors Warrington Wolves.
Solomona raced in for a first half hat-trick and added a fourth late on – taking his tally for the year to 30 – after Warrington had run away with the game in the third quarter.
There was only one try between the teams, Warrington scoring seven to Tigers’ six, but Luke Gale had an off day with the boot, managing just one conversion. Warrington were the better team overall, but the margin was tough on Tigers who were again without a host of key players due to injury.
In contrast, Warrington fielded their first 13 – in terms of squad numbers – and had the game’s star individual in Aussie scrum-half Chris Sandow.
Rangi Chase made his first appearance since returning to Tigers – coming off the bench mid-way through the first half – and showed some nice touches, but clearly isn’t match-fit. Castleford again demonstrated what a good side they can be on attack, but defence has been a weakness for much of this season.
They led 18-16 at the interval, but Warrington broke the game with 20 unanswered points in a devastating 12-minute spell early in the second half.
The turning point came on 53 minutes when Frankie Mariano crossed between the posts, only for referee Chris Kendall to award Warrington a penalty for an obstruction.
Tigers were penalised again in the resulting set and Sandow took the two. Following the re-start the half-back broke clear before sending Ben Currie in and then Toby King crossed from Joe Westerman’s pass, after Daryl Clark had split the defence.
Sandow converted both tries, after also having added the extras to Brad Dwyer’s try from acting-half five minutes after the break. Warrington added another try through Clark at the start of the fourth quarter, moments after Junior Moors’ pass which sent Ryan Hampshire over had been ruled forward.
Kurt Gidley landed his third conversion to make it 42-18, but Cas kept going and scored late consolations through Solomona and Ben Crooks, from kicks by Paul McShane and Chase.
The game was nip and tuck in the first half, when the lead changed hands four times after Mariano had given the hosts an early lead with a strong finish from 10 metres out.
That was his second try in as many games since returning from long-term injury, but Warrington replied with a rapid brace of tries from Rhys Evans.
He got the visitors off the mark from Ben Currie’s pass and then raced 90 metres after intercepting from Gale.
Tigers withstood some strong pressure before Solomona began to steal the show, crossing twice from passes by Luke Dorn, making his 250th Super League appearance.
His hat-trick try was a spectacular, length-of-the-field effort after he collected Sandow’s kick on Tigers’ line, soon after Stefan Ratchford had scored a solo try for the visitors.
Castleford Tigers: Dorn, Hampshire, Crooks, Minikin, Solomona, McShane, Gale, Tickle, Milner, Patrick, O Holmes, Mariano, Moors. Subs Millington, Chase, Cook, Springer.
Warrington Wolves: Ratchford, Russell, Evans, Atkins, Lineham, Gidley, Sandow, Hill, Clark, Sims, Currie, Hughes, Westerman. Subs T King, Dwyer, Westwood, Bailey.
Referee: Chris Kendall (RFL).