Cas 24 Hemsworth 12
Wick seals victory for Cas in classic derby game
Despite strong, crosswind conditions, both teams combined to serve up a classic, fiercely contested local derby. The result was in doubt until the last quarter of the game when Castleford sealed victory with their bonus-point try that lifts them up to fourth place in Yorkshire Three.
The game started at a brisk pace with the home side pack in the ascendancy ably led by captain, Adam Brown and player-coach, Phil Watson. Their pressure paid early dividends when they were awarded a penalty in a kickable position. Instead they opted to kick for touch which outside half, Thomas Egan found five metres out from the visitors’ line. Back rower, Chris Purdy rose high to take a clean catch and set up the driving maul. Hemsworth were penalised and scrum half, Jake Crossland surprised the visitors’ defence, by taking a quick tap before sending a pin-point cross-field kick into the waiting arms of influential centre, Thomas Dobson who side-stepped his way over for the opening try. Man of the match, Egan added the conversion and produced a cameo kicking performance, despite the difficult weather conditions.
Hemsworth quickly took up the gauntlet launching their own pressure to take play within five metres of the home try line. A quick snipe down the blind side was beautifully read by Crossland who intercepted and raced, unopposed, the length of the field to cross in the corner. Egan struck an excellent touchline conversion that just crept agonisingly over the crossbar putting Castleford fourteen points ahead.
From the re-start, Hemsworth regained possession and forced a scrum fifteen metres out. Back rower, Rob Taylor broke from the base to send outside half, Joe Thompson clean through a defensive gap to score the unconverted try that brought the visitors back into the game.
Defences ruled until five minutes before the interval when Castleford were again awarded a penalty in a kickable position and once again Egan kicked and found touch five metres from the visitors’ line. Watson took the clean line-out catch and a crisp, cross-field move ended when Dobson fed full-back, James wick who dived over in the corner for the first of his brace of tries. Although Egan narrowly missed the conversion, Castleford looked comfortable with a 19-5 interval lead.
A stern half time talk brought out an even more intense performance from the visitors and they soon gained the upper hand in the first quarter of the second half. The breakthrough finally came when the Castleford back-line tried to send the ball wide with a long pass that was intercepted forty metres out by Thompson who powered through and over at the side of the posts. Centre, Ben Brailsford added the easy conversion to set up a nail-biting finish. Hemsworth now looked the more likely to prevail and only last- ditch Castleford defence kept them out. Substitute, Craig Jeffels helped to steady the ship with some powerful runs and solid tackles.
Finally, Castleford played to their strength using width and their pace to unlock the visitors defence for the final time. Egan sent Dobson on one of his trade-mark, mazy runs. He split the defensive line before sending Wicks clear for the bonus score that sealed the victory.
Castleford will look back on a first half where they had enough chances to make the game safe. They face a difficult away trip to Airborough who always provide a stern test.
Thanks to Dave Price for the report