CASTLEFORD TIGERS showed two positive sides to their character in a thrilling 30-22 victory at Hull KR last night.
It was a second successive win for Tigers and will send them into next Thursday’s derby at Leeds Rhinos in buoyant mood.
Tigers looked unstoppable in the opening exchanges, then had to dig deep in the face of a ferocious fightback by the home side.
Cas’ blew Rovers away in the first 15 minutes, blasting into an 18-0 lead through tries by Ben Roberts, playing out of position at full-back, Denny Solomona and Oliver Holmes.
All three were well taken. Dangerman Roberts - who later had a stint at hooker - stepped through from Liam Finn’s pass; Solomona snatched Luke Gale’s kick and Holmes finished off some magic from his full-back.
Solomona has been in fine form since his return from injury and his try was arguably the pick.
He got back to prevent Terry Campese landing a 40-20 and made good ground with his kick return, before being in the right place at the right time to pick Ben Cockayne’s pocket on the final tackle.
Gale converted all three and then - on 26 minutes - backed-up Michael Shenton, from Roberts’ break, to add a fourth, which he also improved.
That came soon after Albert Kelly had gone over from Terry Campese’s kick to get the home side off the mark and Rovers added two more tries, Kieran Dixon scoring in similar fashion to the opener and then Kelly nipping in from close range, to make it 24-16 to the visitors at the break.
There was a bizarre incident on the stroke of half-time when Tigers tapped a penalty in front of the posts and forced successive drop-outs, but Mike McMeeken was then shoved into touch.
Rovers rushed to form the scrum and were penalised for dissent when referee Richard Silverwood didn’t stop the clock, but Gale’s kick bounced away off a post.
With Roberts and Andy Lynch both being held up over the line in the opening 40, Cas probably should have been further in front.
Surprisingly, the next score didn’t come until the 54th minute, Aaron Ollett touching down from Kris Welham’s kick.
Dixon’s third conversion made it a two-point ball game and Rovers looked the more threatening team, without being able to find another way through the Cas defence.
With nine minutes left Shenton knocked-on over Rovers’ line, but it was on the free play so Tigers had the feed 10 metres out and from that Liam Finn went over for the clinching try.
Gale booted his fifth conversion to make the gap eight points and Cas comfortably saw out the final moments to seal a precious win.
Hull Kingston Rovers: Cockayne, Dixon, Welham, Salter, Sio, Campese, Kelly, Green, Budebza, Puletua, Larroyer, Blair, McCarthy. Subs: Donaldson, Ollett, Cox, Greenwood.
Castleford Tigers: Roberts, Gibson, Webster, Shenton, Solomona, Finn, Gale, Lynch, Milner, Millington, O Holmes, McMeeken, Massey, Subs: Boyle, Moors, Tansey, Maher.
Referee: Richard Silverwood (Mirfield). Attendance: 7,093.