Castleford Tigers left reeling as London triumph

PIC: Dave Williams
PIC: Dave Williams
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A disastrous seven-minute spell at the start of the second half – when they conceded three converted tries – put the skids under Castleford Tigers as they crashed to a costly 26-12 home defeat by London Broncos.

The visitors began the afternoon bottom of Super League and looked to be heading for a sixth defeat in seven games when Cas led 12-6 at the break.

But former Australian Test scrum-half Craig Gower came to life immediately afterwards, scoring one try and setting up another to shatter Tigers’ confidence.

Cas fans vented their anger at referee Tim Roby – whose penalty count was shared 6-6 – but Tigers failed to perform in the second period after an encouraging opening half, in muddy, wet conditions.

It had all started so well for Cas, who had Jake Webster and Lee Gilmour back to replace the suspended Justin Carney and Weller Hauraki, also recalled Richard Owen and Jonathan Walker from dual-registration at Keighley Cougars and gave a brief debut off the bench to young forward Dan Fleming.

The hosts took the lead on 12 minutes when Jordan Tansey – who went on to have a decent game – kicked to the right flank and Cas winger Kirk Dixon got to the ball ahead of his London namesake Kieran.

With 26 minutes gone Gower kicked in goal, Jamie Ellis missed it and Chris Bailey was presented with a simple score, improved by Michael Witt.

But Craig Huby came on for a second spell and quickly showed impressive power to bump off a couple of defenders for Tigers’ second touchdown.

Ellis landed his second conversion – the first was a beauty off the touchline – and at 12-6 up Cas seemed well on course for thier second win.

That, though, was the last time Cas troubled the scoreboard operator and they rarely looked like adding to their tally, London applied plenty of pressure in the first half, but – other than little kicks from Gower and Witt – they had no creativity in attack.

Cas’ defence coped well, but all that changed from the 46th to the 53rd minute as Broncos took the game by the throat.

Shane Rodney’s pass put Michael Robertson over and then Gower sliced through for a solo touchdown.

Both those tries came in sets following penalties and Cas shot themselves in the foot again when Rangi Chase kicked out on the full and Broncos’ next attack ended with Gower sliding another kick through, which Bailey dived on to after Craig Millington slipped.

Witt converted all three tries and suddenly Cas were 24-12 down.

London tapped a penalty in front of the sticks soon afterwards, but Witt opted to take the two from a similar position with 10 minutes left and Cas never looked like getting back in the game.

Castleford Tigers: Tansey, Owen, Shenton, Webster, Kirk Dixon, Chase, Ellis, Emmitt, Clark, Huby, Gilmour, Millington, Holmes. Subs (all used): Walker, Massey, Thompson, Fleming.

London Broncos: Robertson, Colbon, Channing, Sarginson, Kieran Dixon, Witt, Gower, Cook, Lee, Bryant, Rodney, Bailey, Kaufusi. Subs (all used): Clubb, Lovell, Dorn, Randall.

Referee: Tim Roby (Preston).

Attendance: 4,521.

21 January 2018......  Castleford Tigers v Leeds Rhinos. Pre season friendly
Rhinos Kallum Watkins. Picture Tony Johnson.

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