CASTLEFORD TIGERS secured their place in the Betfred Super League semi-finals with a comprehensive 28-8 win at Hull tonight.
Last year’s Grand Final runners-up have gone under the radar this season, overshadowed by league leaders St Helens and in-form Wigan Warriors, but are showing signs of peaking at the right time.
Encouragingly for Tigers, winger Greg Eden is beginning to find the try-scoring form he showed in 2017, a brace taking his tally to 10 in the last five games.
Luke Gale and Ben Roberts both got more minutes under their belt as they continued their return from long-term injury, but the loss of Oliver Holmes, who hobbled off in the first half, was a concern.
It was Hull’s eighth successive defeat. On the back of an 80-10 humiliation at Warrington Wolves they had a dig, but two tries in six minutes either side of half-time, both scored by Eden, ended the game as a contest.
Cas led 28-0 after 59 minutes, but a couple of late tries gave the hosts some respectability as Tigers eased off, which they won’t be able to do in knockout rugby.
The visitors played some lovely stuff in the opening 19 minutes, but Hull – held on only to be undone by a scruffy try.
Jake Trueman’s grubber kick on the last rebounded off Jordan Lane and hacked on by Mike McMeekan who ran through to touch down.
Tigers doubled their lead 10 minutes later, after back-to-back errors by Hull winger Bureta Faraimo. He got away with the first thanks to some excellent defence by Fetuli Talanoa and Cameron Scott who forced Roberts into touch – losing the ball in the process – following the scrum.
Then Faraimo handed the ball straight back over, Cas received a penalty in the resulting set and Junior Moors proved too strong to keep out from close to the line.
Hull received 12 penalties to Tigers’ three and the first half count was 7-2, Cas being placed on a team warning in the 40th minute. Two of Hull’s penalties were back-to-back on Cas’ line three minutes before the interval and they led to Tigers’ third try. Liam Harris’ pass went off Michael Shenton’s head straight to Eden who raced 90 metres.
Eden scored his second three minutes into the second half, stepping through some poor defence from Peter Mata’utia’s pass.
Gale added his fourth and final conversion.
James Clare, Tigers’ right-winger, got in on the act on 51 minutes with a stunning mid-air finish from McMeeken’s final pass after Moors had been held up over the line on the previous play.
Hull avoided a shut-out when Carlos Tuimavave went over, off a nice move involving Danny Washbrook, Sika Manu and Jamie Shaul, at the end of the third quarter.
Hakim Miloudi scored a long-range try with 11 minutes left, hacking on from Trueman’s kick and Liam Watts had a touchdown ruled out by video referee Chris Kendall – for offside from Paul McShane’s kick.
Hull: Shaul, Faraimo, Scott, Tuimavave, Talanoa, Harris, Miloudi, Taylor, Houghton, Matongo, Hadley, Washbrook, Manu. Subs Fash, Litten, Lane, Bienek.
Castleford Tigers: Mata’utia, Clare, Wardle, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, Gale, Watts, McShane, Millington, Holmes, McMeeken, Massey. Subs Roberts, Moors, Milner. Clark.
Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven).