Denny Solomona scored two tries to set a new Super League record as Castleford held off a late Catalans Dragons fightback to win 34-28 in Perpignan.
DENNY SOLOMONA BREAKS TRY RECORD IN CASTLEFORD’S WIN OVER CATALANS
Solomona levelled and then broke Lesley Vainikolo’s 12-year record in the space of three first-half minutes to take his tally for the season to 37.
Luke Gale also played a starring role for the visitors as he created all but one of the Tigers’ tries and added five conversions from six attempts.
The win moves Castleford to within a point of fifth-placed Catalans with one game remaining in the Super 8s.
The defeat consigned Catalans to their fourth in the Super 8s and compounded a miserable second half to the season for the Dragons.
Castleford opened the scoring in the 13th minute following an error by Jordan Sigismeau, with Ryan Hampshire’s wide cut-out pass sending Paddy Flynn in the right corner to score.
Catalans levelled the scores five minutes later, the departing Olivier Elima touching down to the left of the posts to mark his final home appearance for the Dragons.
Solomona scored his first try of the game in the 20th minute when Gale sent the winger in before tagging on the extras.
Castleford went further ahead three minutes later when a flowing move saw the ball move from right to left with Jake Webster’s quick hands sending Solomona over for his record-breaking score.
The Tigers effectively put the game to bed with nine minutes remaining of the first half, two penalties giving them field position to attack before Gale sent Ben Crooks through a hole in the Catalans defence down the left edge.
Catalans did register their second try of the game before the interval, Glenn Stewart benefiting from a half break from Eloi Pelissier before scoring despite having three Castleford defenders around him. Tony Gigot missed the conversion to leave the score at the interval at 24-10 to the visitors.
Castleford started the second half by extending their lead when Jodie Broughton failed to collect Gale’s bouncing kick and Crooks raced over under the posts.
They scored again as a flowing move saw the ball switch from left to right and Greg Minikin sent in Flynn for his second try.
With nineteen minutes remaining, Catalans’ woes increased when they were reduced to 12 men as Benjamin Garcia was sin-binned for punching Webster in the tackle.
Despite suffering a player deficit, Catalans rallied and came back into the match through tries from Pelissier and Louis Anderson, Gigot kicking both conversions to take the score to 22-34 with 12 minutes remaining.
With four minutes remaining, Richie Myler won the race to touch down Gigot’s kick just before the dead-ball line, setting up a nervy finish which Castleford survived.