LAST YEAR’S leading try scorer Justin Carney made a powerful return from injury as Castleford Tigers thrashed partner club York City Knights 62-6 in their latest pre-season game.
Carney, playing in the left-centre, bagged a hat-trick in the opening period of his first match since suffering a dislocated shoulder last September.
Despite missing 11 players likely to feature in the senior side at some stage this term Tigers ran in 11 tries in total, but could have won by an even greater score in a contest which was literally men against boys.
The Kingstone Press Championship One visitors fielded a very young team, missing their most experienced players – other than half-back Jon Presley – and without any Super League games between them.
The physical difference between the teams was massive, but York showed tremendous enthusiasm and Tigers only really imposed themselves in the first and final quarters, when they scored at will.
With a new-look squad this year Tigers need game time to work on combinations and that was the major benefit from what was effectively an opposed training session.
There’s still plenty of work to be done and Tigers wasted some good opportunities through poor decision-making, lack of patience or basic errors.
Scrum-half Brett Seymour made a steady first appearance, off the bench, but isn’t yet match fit and Cas were most effective with Marc Sneyd and Liam Finn at half-back and Daryl Clark in the acting-half role.
York offered little attacking threat, but their only try came in alarming fashion as James Clare knocked on 25 metres out and Kriss Brining jinked through a static defence from the subsequent scrum, Benn Hardcastle converting.
That made it 26-6 at the interval after Richard Owen and Craig Huby had added to Carney’s triple.
His third try on 28 minutes –which made it 26-0 – was Tigers’ last score for half an hour, until Sneyd went over and landed the fourth of nine conversions, all in succession after he had missed his first two kicks.
That was the first of six tries in the final 22 minutes.
Sneyd added a second try moments later and Clare, Daryl Clark, impressive replacement full-back Ben Reynolds and Grant Millington completed the rout.
Coach Daryl Powell admitted his team “lost our way a little bit” either side of the break, but insisted: “There were loads of positives.
“Our play was pretty smart, there were positives from pretty much every player out there and we got an opportunity to test some young boys like Brad Day, Will Maher and Jordan Howden.
“We are getting close to the season now and it’s great to get the boys out on the field. It was a good start.”
Castleford Tigers: Tansey, Owen, Channing, Carney, Clare, Sneyd, Linn, Fleming, Clark, Wheeldon, Mariano, Martin, Millington. Subs (all used) Lynch, Huby, Holmes, Reynolds, Seymour, Howden, Maher, Day.
York City Knights: Haynes, Macdonald, Rogers, Minikin, Dent, B Hardcastle, Presley, Bell, Smith, Joynt, Mallinder, Crowe, Pickles. Subs (all used) Brining, Iley, Stubbs, Orange, Backhouse, L Hardcastle,. Nathaniel, Pickerill.
Referee: Andy Sweet (Castleford).