Castleford Tigers 30 Halifax 30: Owen and Potts enjoy a try feast in Boxing Day thriller

Richard Owen.
Richard Owen.
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Castleford winger Richard Owen bagged four tries as honours finished even in Tigers prop Craig Huby’s testimonial match at the Mend-A-House Jungle.

Owen’s first two tries helped the Super Leaguers take a 22-14 interval lead in their opening pre-season game but Championship outfit Halifax roared back in the second-half.

Former Batley Bulldogs winger Gareth Potts, making his Halifax debut, grabbed a hat-trick of tries as the visitors snatched the lead.

Castleford levelled two minutes from time with Owen’s fourth but Kirk Dixon failed to kick a touchline conversion that would have given the Tigers victory.

In the end, a draw was a fair result to an entertaining clash in front of a crowd 3,621.

The Tigers fielded six new signings including a new half-back combination of Luke Dorn and Marc Sneyd, who is on a season-long loan from Salford City Reds. Dorn and Sneyd quickly made their mark as the Tigers started brightly.

They took a fourth minute lead when Dixon and James Clare set up the position for Sneyd’s clever crossfield kick to create a try for Daryl Clark.

Castleford doubled their lead four minutes later when Dorn’s high kick caused havoc in Halifax’s defence.

Winger Wayne Reittie, attempting to clear the danger, palmed the ball into the hands of Dixon who strolled over for a gift try.

Dixon’s second conversion put Castleford 12-0 up but Halifax replied straight from the re-start when Sneyd fumbed the ball. Ex-Tigers player Ben Johnston, making his Halifax debut, hacked the ball on to grab a try that Steve Tyrer goaled to cut the gap to six points.

Castleford quickly regained control when superb play by Michael Channing saw Owen dart over for his first score.

With Simon Brown prompting cleverly, Halifax rallied strongly but they wasted an excellent attacking position when Luke Adamson fumbled Brown’s pass close to the try line.

Further Halifax pressure was rewarded when Ryan Fieldhouse slipped out a magnificent pass before he was tackled into touch to send in debutant Potts.

Tigers assistant coach Danny Orr came out of retirement to make a one-off appearance when he went on as a 33rd minute substitute. Halifax’s Adamson was then punished for losing the ball when Oliver Holmes put in Owen for his second try but Halifax cut the gap on the stroke of half-time when debutant Paul Mennell’s long pass sent in Potts at the corner for his second. The Tigers were rocked when Halifax snatched the lead with two tries in four minutes early in the second-half. Potts completed his hat-trick when he gathered Dorn’s kick and sprinted 75 yards to score in great style before Fieldhouse’s pass sent in substitute Sam Brooks.

Tyrer added both conversions but the Tigers soon levelled when Owen capitalised on Dorn’s neat kick to score his third.

The game then quickly swung back Halifax’s way when Brown intercepted Dorn’s pass to go over from 15 yards out, with Tyrer missing the easy conversion.

Halifax’s Ben Heaton was hauled down just short before swift crossfield passing saw Owen bag his fourth touchdown to square matters.

CASTLEFORD TIGERS: Tansey; Owen, Channing, Dixon, Clare; Sneyd, Dorn; Lynch, Clark, Huby, Gilmour, Holmes, Wheeldon. Subs: Fleming, Finn, Martin, Reynolds, Howden Maher, Day, Orr.

HALIFAX: Fieldhouse; Reittie, Tyrer, Heaton, Potts; Brown, Johnston; Tonks, Kaye, Bracek, Manning, Adamson, Murrell. Subs: Fairbank, Mennell, Worrincy, Ambler, Divorty, Brooks, Casey, Ward.

REFEREE: C Leatherbarrow (St Helens).

ATTENDANCE: 3, 621.

Castleford's Mike McMeeken celebrates his try against Wakefield. (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

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