Castleford hold off Wakefield charge to stay in Super League top three

These are the nights when, given the drama and high stakes, it is perhaps easy to forget that little over a decade ago Castleford and Wakefield were playing one another to avoid relegation from Super League. Now they are both play-off contenders.

For Trinity that will be little consolation but the entertainment both teams served up to kick off the Easter weekend was befitting of sides with lofty ambitions this season.

Yet the very nature of Castleford’s win – as well as the up-and-down performances of both teams – underlines there is perhaps still a gap to bridge between these famous West Yorkshire clubs and the top two of St Helens and Warrington.

Leading 22-0 midway through the first half and 28-6 on the hour, Castleford appeared to be heading for a comfortable night’s work. But as much as the Tigers appeared to drop off in allowing Wakefield to mount a remarkable comeback, Trinity showed spirit and endeavour to score three quick tries and set up a grandstand finish. In the end they were left to rue a dire opening 40 minutes, falling short by two points. “It was a missed opportunity,” their coach, Chris Chester, said. “We were our own worst enemies.”

Wakefield were blown away in the first half by two tries from James Clare complemented by scores from Jesse Sene-Lefao and Cory Aston, whose magnificent debut was almost overshadowed by the chaotic finish. Aston, son of the former Sheffield half-back Mark, has had to wait more than two years for his Super League debut since stepping up from the Championship, but the 24-year-old showed plenty of promise, particularly in helping the Tigers establish a commanding half-time lead. “He’s been training well and I thought he carried that into tonight,” said his coach, Daryl Powell. “I thought he did well.”

Powell was equally impressed with the manner of his side’s display for the opening hour. “Some of the things we did then were as good as I’ve seen in a long time but you could sense the nerves amongst us at the end.”

When Greg Minikin scored Castleford’s fifth try early in the second half it again appeared as though they would have a hassle-free match. But tries from Mason Caton-Brown either side of half-time kept Trinity in the hunt, before they came home the stronger of the sides in the final quarter.

Joe Arundel’s initial try to make it 28-14 seemed to be no more than consolation before, two minutes later, Ben Reynolds marked his Super League debut with a try. Suddenly it was 28-20 and when Tinirau Arona crossed Castleford were hanging on for dear life to preserve their four-year unbeaten run against Trinity. There were one or two nervy moments thereafter, and had Wakefield showed a shred more composure it may have been them sitting third before the Good Friday games.

Castleford Mata’utia; Clare, Minikin, Shenton, Eden; Trueman, Aston; Watts, Milner, Sene-Lefao, Holmes, McMeeken, Massey.

Interchange Moors, Clark, O’Neill, Smith.

Tries Clare 2, Sene-Lefao, Aston, Minikin. Goals Mata’utia 4.

Wakefield Jowitt; Jones-Bishop, Arundel, Lyne, Caton‑Brown; Reynolds, Hampshire; Fifita, Wood, Arona, Ashurst, Kirmond, Crowther.

Interchange Pauli, Kopczak, King, Hirst.

Tries Caton-Brown 2, Arundel, Reynolds, Arona. Goals Hampshire 3.

Referee C Kendall. Attendance 9,314.


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