Castleford Tigers 35 Warrington Wolves 20 - Jordan Turner's hat-trick inspires Daryl Powell's side to Wembley date with St Helens
Castleford Tigers are heading for Wembley.
Tigers, beaten 60-6 by Leeds Rhinos eight days earlier, produced a sensational upset by beating Warrington Wolves 35-20 in Saturday's second semi-final at Leigh Sports Village.
They will play St Helens, who defeated Hull earlier in the afternoon, in the final on Saturday, July 17.
Jordan Turner, playing on the left-wing, scored three of Tigers' six tries and was named man of the match.
Full-back Niall Evalds ran the show, along with half-back Gareth O'Brien and Jesse Sene-Lefao was very good in the pack, but it was a fine all-round effort.
Castleford, including eight players who did not feature against Leeds, were magnificent in the first half as they opened a 19-0 lead.
Warrington made more of a game of it in the second 40 minutes, but never got close enough to really set Tigers' nerves jangling.
Tigers went in front after 15 minutes through Gareth O’Brien, who threw a dummy and ducked through the line from acting-half Paul McShane’s pass for a try which he also converted.
Michael Shenton had gone close just before that and Cas had an earlier chance when Derrell Olpherts would have scored if he had been able to take Niall Evalds’ long pass.
O’Brien’s try came soon after Warrington’s Blake Austin had forced his way to the line, but the ball came loose in Turner’s tackle and Oliver Holmes cleared the danger.
At the end of the opening quarter, Holmes raced clear from a pass by Evalds and turned the ball to Turner. Josh Charnley made a try-saving tackle, but then Jake Mamo came in to hold the Cas man down, was sin-binned for a professional foul and O’Brien took the two.
The extra man was made to count almost immediately as Jake Trueman and Evalds worked the ball to Shenton he delayed his pass then found Turner who got the ball down over the top of Ratchford.
The score was confirmed by video referee Robert Hicks and O’Brien landed a touchline conversion to make it 14-0 after 23 minutes.
Tigers were in dreamland on 28 minutes when Turner scored again, from a brilliant pass by Evalds after Peter Mata’utia had made an initial break.
Austin came across in an attempt to barge the winger into touch, but he did superbly to get the ball down and Hicks again confirmed referee Chris Kendall’s on-field call.
There was no conversion, but Cas increased their lead a couple of minutes before the break through a McShane penalty goal.
Ben Currie spiced things up three minutes into the second period by stretching over from Gareth Widdop’s pass, but Ratchford fired his conversion attempt wide from just to the left of the posts.
Two minutes after that, it was game on when Austin’s short pass sent Mamo through a gap and he weaved round Evalds to score at the corner, though again the kick was off-target.
Crucially, though, in the set from the restart, Currie hurled a pass into touch near his own line and in the resulting attack Trueman, O’Brien and Evalds linked superbly to open the door for Jesse Sene-Lefao and he stormed galloped through for an unconverted try to make it 23-8.
Tigers were reduced to 12 men immediately afterwards when Jacques O’Neill was yellow carded for a dangerous throw on Toby King, who extracted revenge by scoring in the subsequent set.
Widdop landed the goal, but again Warrinvgton couldn’t complete their next set and the error was punished, Turner completing his hat-trick with another powerful finish, from Evalds’ pass over the top.
O’Brien added the extras from out wide and Cas made the game safe, while still a man short, when McShane worked a one-two with Alex Foster and cut through from a few metres out.
Josh Charnley pulled a try back for Warrington, improved by Widdop, but O'Brien booted a penalty goal to maintain a healthy gap and the final hooter, seven minutes later, sparked tremendous celebrations among the Tigers players and supporters.
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