Castleford Tigers 18 Featherstone Rovers 0: Defences on top as Tigers beat neighbours Featherstone

DEFENCES win matches and both coaches felt they had laid a solid platform after Castleford Tigers kicked off their pre-season campaign with an 18-0 success against Featherstone Rovers.

Tigers' Mike McMeeken is tackled by Rovers' Liam Walmsley, Alex Forster and Paul Sykes.

Bitterly cold conditions and a lack of practice on attack took its toll in a tight, error-ridden game, but there was enough commitment in the tackle to satisfy both Castleford’s Daryl Powell and his opposite number Andy Hay.

Featherstone, of the Kingstone Press Championship, could have led at half-time, but Kyran Johnson was held up over the Castleford line and Ben Blackmore had a touchdown ruled out because of a knock-on by Ian Hardman.

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Hosts Castleford scored the only try of the opening period on 17 minutes when Denny Solomona, signed from London Broncos, crossed from Ashley Gibson’s pass.

Early in the second half Castleford went further in front when England academy forward Will Maher sent Matt Cook stretching over.

Featherstone failed to find a way through even when Solomona was sin-binned for holding down and Tigers struck again in the final moments as Jordan Tansey finished a fine move involving Adam Milner and Gibson and Liam Finn’s third goal completed the scoring.

Featherstone hope to be competing against Super League’s bottom four sides under rugby league’s new structure in 2015 and Hay felt their performance was a step in the right direction.

“I thought we did all right,” he reflected. “We haven’t done a lot of (work on) attack, but we defended well and there was some good attitude shown by the players. They had a real good dig. It looks like we’ve got a little bit of work to do on our structured defence, but we’ll get the ball in hand now and do a fair bit of work on our attack.

“I thought the signs were good and it was positive that they all put their hand up and had a go.”

Powell was pleased with his team’s clean sheet, but admitted there is much room for improvement. “We are pretty happy to not concede any points and I thought we rarely looked in any trouble,” he said.

“We defended pretty well and once we stopped giving penalties away in the second half, we applied a little bit of pressure.

“We have got loads we need to improve on in the fluency of our game, but ultimately it’s job done.

“It’s a good win for us. It was important we won the game, it was pretty tight for long periods and Featherstone were very good and difficult to break down.”