NICK YOUNGQUEST scored two tries as impressive Castleford ground out a hard-earned win over Huddersfield Giants this evening, writes Dave Craven.
Both sides had got off their Super League campaigns off to winning starts in Cardiff last weekend with Huddersfield magnificent against Warrington and Castleford showing plenty of promise versus Wakefield,
But tonight it was the hosts who showed more composure, resilience and maturity to edge a tight contest in difficult conditions at Wheldon Road.
Castleford, who handed a debut to former Huddersfield second-row Martin Aspinwall and 17-year-old local hooker Daryl Clark, were almost faultless in the first half and well deserved their 8-0 interval lead.
With a dominant pack led by Craig Huby, Danny Orr’s excellent kicking game and a iron-like defence, Huddersfield were simply not given a chance to get into their groove.
The only try of the half came when Youngquest, making his home debut, collected Rangi Chase’s delicate kick in the corner, Kirk Dixon converting from the touchline.
Dixon also slotted a 24th minute penalty and patient Castleford continued to exert their influence while their opponents erred too often.
After the break though, a rare Tigers mistake resulted in the visitors replaying in the 42nd minute, Jermaine McGillvary crossing out wide following Scott Grix’s cut-out pass and Danny Brough improving.
Castleford had a touch of fortune about their second try on 55 minutes when they received a ‘benefit of the doubt’ decision from video referee Richard Silverwood.
Determined defence from four tacklers pushed Grix back behind his own line after the Giants full-back gathered Chase’s kick.
The ball came loose for winger Youngquest - who now has three tries in two game since signing from Crusaders - to pounce for his second although it seemed a rogue Castleford hand had nudged possession clear.
Five minutes later they crossed again when Dixon rose above David Hodgson to palm down Orr’s kick and Joe Arundel fell over the line but Dixon could not improve either to leave it at 16-6.
However, Terry Matterson’s side showed great professionalism to close out the game, something they may not have achieved last year.
Dixon soared a fine penalty between the posts on 73 minutes after Shaun Lunt was sin-binned for a late charge on Chase, Huddersfield showing their frustrations.
They did get a consolation after the hooter when McGillvary latched onto Kevin Brown’s grubbered kick from halfway, Brough converting.
CASTLEFORD: Mathers; Dixon, Arundel, Ferres, Youngquest; Chase, Orr; Jackson, Milner, Huby, Emmitt, Holmes, Jones. Substitutes: Walker, Aspinwall, Widders, Clark.
HUDDERSFIELD: Grix; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Lawrence, Hodgson; Brown, Brough; Crabtree, Carlile, Mason, Gilmour, Fa’alogo, O’Donnell. Substitutes: Lunt, Faiumu, Griffin, Horne.
Referee: Steve Ganson (St Helens)