Widnes Vikings 24 Castleford 34: Gale steadies ship before Tigers overhaul Vikings

Paul McShane, scored the match-securing try for Cas at Widnes.
Paul McShane, scored the match-securing try for Cas at Widnes.
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A Denny Solomona hat-trick saw Castleford secure a 34-24 win over Widnes at the Select Security Stadium.

Solomona’s contribution was the highlight of a magnificent comeback by the Tigers who found themselves 18-0 down after 20 minutes.

But led superbly by Luke Gale, Castleford largely dominated the final hour of the contest.

Widnes opened the scoring on three minutes when slick crossfield passing finished with winger Patrick Ah Van crossing at the left corner.

Chris Bridge converted from wide out and was soon in action again after Joe Mellor sent Macgraff Leuluai surging over from close range for the Vikings’ second touchdown.

Widnes skipper Kevin Brown tormented Tigers full-back Ryan Hampshire in the early stages and kept the pressure on the visitors’ line.

When the visitors did get to the other end, a long pass from Gale was plucked out of the air by Vikings winger Corey Thompson – who went 90 metres for a six-pointer.

It looked like Widnes were sitting pretty at 18-0, but the Tigers reminded them otherwise when Jake Webster put Solomona over for his first try.

Just two minutes later Solomona was in again as he outflanked the Widnes defence. Both sides had further opportunities to add to their first-half tally but they went into the dressing rooms at 18-10.

Within three minutes of the restart Solomona completed his hat-trick from a slick Webster off-load and Gale added the extras.

The Tigers hit the front for the first time on 52 minutes when Ryan Boyle rumbled over after Solomona had tapped back a bomb near the Widnes line, with the goal making it 22-18.

Having been creator-in-chief Gale got on the scoresheet as he dummied his way over for a self-converted try which gave his side a 28-18 advantage.

Widnes dummy-half Lloyd White tricked his way through with eight minutes remaining for a try which Bridge goaled to set up an exciting finish.

But it was the Tigers who closed it out when Paul McShane crossed from the play-the-ball for the clinching six-pointer.

Widnes Vikings: Hanbury; Thompson, Dean, Bridge, Ah Van; Mellor, Brown; O’Carroll, Heremaia, Dudson, Sa, Houston, Leuluai. Subss: Brooks, Gerrard, White, Whitley.

Castleford: Hampshire; Monaghan, Minikin, Webster, Solomona; Holmes, Gale; Lynch, Milner, Jewitt, Cook, McMeeken, Massey. Subs: McShane, Maher, Boyle, Springer.

Referee: Joe Cobb (RFL).

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