WATCH - Castleford Tigers 24 Wakefield Trinity 4: Castleford grind it out to defeat Wakefield again
CASTLEFORD TIGERS were too good for Wakefield Trinity in a scrappy derby at the Jungle last night, but the game was tighter than the 24-4 scoreline suggests.
On a heavy pitch, with a wet ball, moments of quality were limited, though both teams muscled-up in defence.
Castleford had the upper hand throughout and kept the visitors at bay with regular penalty goals, which was a smart tactic in the conditions.
Trinity’s execution was poor, but they were unfortunate to have what looked like a good try by Max Jowitt disallowed on video evidence.
It was Tigers’ 10th straight win over Wakefield, who are on a run of seven defeats from their last eight Betfred Super League matches.
The hosts were boosted by Jesse Sene-Lefao’s return from injury, but had to cope without England scrum-half Luke Gale in the second half.
Three Gale penalty goals – for a high tackle by Pauli Pauli on Adam Milner, interference by Anthony England on the same player and an offence by Pauli on Liam Watts – separated the sides at half-time, when Tigers led 10-4.
The game improved after the break, but there was little action or excitement in the first period, though regular blasts on his whistle by referee Robert Hicks kept everybody awake.
It was 6-0 after 19 minutes and Tigers added a try on 26.
With Ben Roberts injured, Jamie Ellis was recalled at stand-off and he created the opening touchdown with a clever pass which was well finished by winger Greg Minikin at the corner.
Gale was off the field receiving treatment so Ellis took the kick, but was off target. Gale carried on until the break, but was then replaced.
Field position for the try had been established when Gale chipped to the corner and Jowitt, recalled at full-back in place of Scott Grix, fumbled.
Trinity had an early chance when Ben Jones-Bishop was forced into touch by Michael Shenton just short, but they struggled to complete a set after that.
However, a couple of penalties either side of a knock-on by Ellis allowed them to mount some pressure late in the half.
Tyler Randell dropped to the bench, with Kyle Wood starting at hooker, but he came on to get the visitors back in the game, throwing an outrageous dummy to scamper over from acting-half around eight metres out.
Castleford’s markers were at fault, but – with no Liam Finn in the side – Ryan Hampshire took the conversion and hit a post from almost in front.
There was more action in 17 minutes after the berak than the 40 before it as Jowitt and Minikin both had touchdowns ruled out by video referee Phil Bentham, overruling the on-field official and then Ellis sent a simple penalty attempt off-target. Jowitt crossed off a one-two with Johnstone, but Bentham spotted a knock-on, then he ruled Minikin was in touch before getting the ball down at the other end.
After Ellis’ missed penalty, Wakefield could not clear their line and Milner plunged over from acting-half and Ellis added the extras to make it 16-4.
An Ellis penalty goal seven minutes from time opened a three-score gap and makeshift half-back Paul McShane sealed it with a spectacular sprint from half-way moments later, Ellis completing the scoring with a touchline goal.
Loose-forward Chris Annakin made his first appearance of the season for Trinity, but was injured tackling Mike McMeeken in the first half.
Tigers’ victory meant they retain the Adam Watene Trophy, in memory of the forward who played for both clubs and died 10 years ago.
Castleford Tigers: Trueman, Minikin, Webster, Wardle, Shenton, Ellis, Gale, Watts, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Holmes, McMeeken, Milner. Subs Moors, Millington, Cook, Springer.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Tupou, Johnstone, Miller, Hampshire, England, Wood, Hirst, Ashurst, Pauli, Annakin. Subs Randell, Arona, Huby, Batchelor.
Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).