CASTLEFORD TIGERS are up to seventh in First Utility Super League after Luke Gale inspired a tense 20-14 home win over Hull last night.
Gale scored two tries and converted both to record a second successive win, which will send them into the Good Friday derby against Leeds Rhinos in buoyant mood.
Cas dominated the opening half an hour, but managed to get on the scoreboard only once – though Gale’s opening try was a beauty.
Grant Millington popped out a magnificent offload and though the No 7 seemed hemmed in, he stepped on the gas, hit a gap and raced over for a brilliant touchdown, which he also converted.
Tigers created a series of half-chances, Hull full-back Jordan Rankin making a fine try-saving tackle on Jake Webster, James Clare dropping the ball as he attempted to dive over and Millington having a touchdown ruled out for a knock-on by winger Justin Carney off Gale’s kick.
Hull began to apply some pressure in the lead up to half-time.
Tom Lineham was barged into by Carney and Jordan Tansey, Jack Logan had a touchdown ruled out for obstruction from a Marc Sneyd kick and then Sneyd dummied into a gap and got over the line, but the ball was pulled out of his grasp by Carney.
The Airlie Birds’ efforts eventually told five minutes before the break when Sneyd, Mark Minichiello and Steve Michaels created a touchdown at the corner for Lineham, though Sneyd couldn’t convert.
Gale scored his second moments after the interval and it was another cracker. Andy Lynch burst up the middle and found prop Millington in support.
His stepping run carried on the momentum and Gale was on hand to nip over, narrowing the angle for his own conversion.
The pressure swung Hull’s way as Lineham crossed for two quick-fire tries to complete his hat-trick and Sneyd – who went off injured soon afterwards – converted the second of those to edge the visitors two points ahead.
Their advantage was shortlived though, Carney turning the tables by flattening Lineham en-route to his ninth try of the campaign.
Tigers then went a converted score clear when Finn’s kick took a wicked bounce away from Fetuli Talanoa and winger Clare reacted quickly to touch down.
There was no goal and Hull were close to possibly snatching a draw late on when former Castleford forward Joe Westerman and Minichiello were held up over the line on successive plays.