Derby-game impact catches fit-again Castleford Tigers forward Oli Holmes by surprise

Castleford Tigers forward Oli Holmes. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPIMediaCastleford Tigers forward Oli Holmes. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPIMedia
Castleford Tigers forward Oli Holmes. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPIMedia
CASTLEFORD TIGERS’ Oli Holmes conceded he wasn’t expecting to have such an instant impact on his first game in almost three months.

The England second-row returned from a knee injury in Friday’s 36-16 success at Wakefield Trinity.

He came off the bench and instantly looked back to his best as he made a searing break to set up Tuoyo Egodo’s first half try.

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“It was my first touch – not that I was looking for a 50-yard break with my first touch,” joked Holmes.

“My lungs had gone! I was a bit out of condition and out of touch for stuff like that.

“But I was more than happy with it and I came through with no problems after the injury which was good.”

He had not played since the 28-26 home win over hometown Wakefield on April 18 and has had a frustrating campaign having also missed the opening six weeks of the season due to injury.

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But he showed his class by setting up that try and then scored one himself as he beat Trinity full-back and fellow Normanton Knights product Ryan Hampshire for pace.

Holmes, 26, recalled: “On the first one, I envisaged going around him, thinking I can get past him.

“But about five metres later he caught me - just as I saw it go differently in my mind.

“I managed to get past him after that second run, though, so I was happy with that and it was great to come back with a derby win.”

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The victory saw Castleford into sixth, joint level with fifth-placed Wigan Warriors as the battle for top-five play-off spots heats up.

Having lost at Leeds Rhinos previously, it was an important win especially as they host second-placed Warrington Wolves on Sunday.

“We talk about consistency a lot and we were looking to build after beating London,” he said.

“But we’re up one week, down the next so now it is about being consistent from now on in.

“We have to back it up and then back it up week on week.”

After a big defensive effort, he said: “That will stand me in good stead. It was nice to see where I’m at. I can get a good scale of where I am and now build on that.”