FANS directed their anger at referee Ben Thaler following the final whistle, but Castleford Tigers got what they deserved from last night’s 33-26 home loss to Wigan Warriors.
Cas played with great spirit, but good sense deserted them at times and they were made to pay for some key errors as frustration set it.
That was understandable. Personal battles – in the sporting sense and otherwise – developed all over the pitch and matters boiled over once, five minutes before the break, in an incident which led to Wigan taking a 14-12 half-time lead through Matty Smith’s goal.
Adam Milner was penalised in front of Cas’ posts for holding down John Bateman, who reacted with a sly elbow, prompting Luke Dorn to get involved, followed by everybody else.
Following the half-time hooter Jake Webster was sin-binned for dissent, after Thaler ignored calls for an offside penalty, which would have given Luke Gale an opportunity to make it all square.
Gale’s long pass to an unmarked Denny Solomona, whose try levelled the scores on 28 minutes, was the match’s classiest moment.
Wigan went ahead early on through a Josh Charnley try and the first of Smith’s four conversions. Cas levelled when Paul McShane – playing at stand-off – crossed from Dorn’s offload.
Gale landed the first of his three conversions and added a penalty before Sam Tomkins went over to nudge Wigan ahead for the second time.
Wigan made the most of their numerical advantage at the start of the second half when Dom Manfredi made a 50-metre break and then crossed in the same set.
Gale ran the clock down by kicking a penalty, but Charnley got over at the corner for his second touchdown and Smith took a bonus two points when Cas were penalised for interference and marched into kicking range for dissent.
That made it 28-14 with a quarter of the game left, but Webster scored a sparkling try to cut the gap and Tigers scented something.
Only stunning goalline defence kept Ryan Hampshire and Gale out, but a stroke of luck calmed Wigan’s nerves.
Oliver Gildart took Smith’s kick, the ball came loose and Sam Powell hacked on and beat Solomona to touch down.
Thaler said yes and, eventually, Child agreed. Almost immediately, Dorn thought he had scored, but Child ruled a knock-on. Wigan lost the ball in the set from the scrum and Dorn sent Solomona over, Child this time giving the green light.
The conversion cut the gap to six points, but Wigan sealed it with four minutes left when Smith completed the scoring with a drop goal and there was still time for Wigan’s Ryan Sutton to have a possible try ruled out by Child.
Tigers coach Daryl Powell said: “Some of the things happenning out there were ridiculous. But the boys were awesome to fight back consistently the way they did.
“We played some great rugby league at times but the result was very disappointing.”
Castleford Tigers: Dorn, Flynn, Crooks, Webster, Solomona, McShane, Gale, Patrick, Milner, Millington, Moors, McMeeken, Jewitt. Substitutes: Tickle, Springer, Hampshire, Cook.
Wigan Warriors: S Tomkins, Manfredi, Sarginson, Gildart, Charnley, Williams, Smith, Crosby, Powell, Flower, Bateman, Isa, J Tomkins. Substitutes: Mossop, Tautai, Sutton, Burke.
Referee: Ben Thaler (Wakefield).