CASTLEFORD TIGERS kept their top-five hopes alive with a 24-0 win at Huddersfield Giants and did neighbours Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield Trinity favour in the process.
Tigers remain sixth in Betfred Super League, behind Salford Red Devils on points difference. They didn’t play well, but were much better than a woeful Giants side who, on this form, look to be heading for the Championship.
Castleford led only 4-0 at the break, but ran in three tries in the second half to complete a comprehensive victory in a low-quality game.
With three rounds remaining, Huddersfield are now level on points with bottom club London Broncos and Hull KR and two behind Rhinos and Trinity.
It was the second successive home game in which Huddersfield have failed to score and they never troubled a resolute Tigers defence, though some poor attacking options from the visitors kept the score down.
James Clare’s early try was the difference between the teams at half-time. The winger squeezed over at the corner from a pass by Peter Mata’utia after seven minutes, but Jamie Ellis’ conversion attempt drifted wide.
Castleford got over the line twice more without adding to their tally, Oliver Holmes being held up on the last before Cheyse Blair’s pass to Greg Minikin was ruled forward.
Tigers should have extended their lead late in the half when Mata’utia got an off-load away on the last and Ellis hacked on, but he fumbled just short of the line as he attempted to pick the ball up. Lee Gaskell had an early opportunity for the hosts, dummying into space and heading for the line before the referee brought him back for an obstruction.
Other than that, Giants never looked like scoring, though they turned down an opportunity to get points on the board shortly before half-time by tapping a penalty in front of Tigers’ posts.
That chance was wasted when Tom Holmes – playing against the club where he began his career – knocked on.
Tigers gained some breathing space nine minutes into the second half when Adam Milner, who made a good impact off the bench, forced his way over from Paul McShane’s pass. Ellis converted and added a penalty after Alex Mellor was sin-binned for pulling back Oliver Holmes as he chased McShane’s kick.
The matter was put beyond doubt at the end of the third quarter, with a try which summed up Giants’ woeful performance and was as scrappy as the game itself. Jake Trueman dabbed a kick behind the line, Jake Wardle made an utter hash of trying to palm the ball dead and Mike McMeeken put a hand on it to score the softest try of his career. Ellis added the extras.
Ten minutes from time Jesse Sene-Lefao grabbed Tigers’ fourth try, powering over from Jordan Rankin’s pass after he had combined with Trueman. Ellis’ conversion completed the scoring. Huddersfield did apply some pressure after that, but Tigers defended strongly to keep a clean sheet.
Huddersfield Giants: Gaskell, McGillvary, McIntosh, Jake Wardle, L Senior, Russell, T Holmes, Ikahihifo, Leeming, Walne, Ta’ai, Mellor, Lawrence. Subs O’Brien, Roberts, Wilson, Matagi.
Castleford Tigers: Rankin, Clare, Mata’utia, Blair, Minikin, Trueman, Ellis, Maher, McShane, Millington, O Holmes, McMeeken, Massey. Subs Milner, Sene-Lefao, O’Neill, Smith.
Referee: James Child (Dewsbury).