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FULL TIME, PICTURES ADDED: Castleford Tigers 40 Warrington Wolves 6
WARRINGTON Wolves were unable to make it an Easter weekend double as in-form Castleford Tigers hit the 40-point mark to seal a comfortable home victory.
Wolves disposed of Widnes on Good Friday, but despite a bright opening 10 minutes for the visitors the Tigers were in control at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle in Super League Round 10.
Michael Shenton helped himself to a hat-trick, James Clare scored twice, while Jamie Ellis and Richard Owen also touched down to cancel out Michael Monaghan’s first half try.
Wolves looked keen to get the ball in the hands of Kevin Penny as early as possible with even lightening quick full back Matty Russell handing possession to the incoming winger.
Tony Smith’s side nearly profited from this tactic four minutes in when Michael Monaghan picked up at dummy half and floated a miss pass to the former Wolves academy man, who was only stopped in the corner by a superb covering tackle from Tigers’ Jordan Tansey.
The hosts threatened after a miss pass of their own three minutes later, this time unintentionally as Jamie Ellis and Scott Wheeldon moved the ball through hands and for the final pass to hit the deck and trickle into Tansey’s grasp.
Wolves boasted a back line packed with pace and a clever Trent Waterhouse offload sent Ryan Atkins on a jinking run, only for Monaghan to knock on and return possession to Castleford.
Tigers’ build-up however was slower and again they moved the ball through hands before taking the tackle. They were able to utilise the space out wide in the 13th minute and an overhead pass from Michael Shenton allowed Clare to dive over from close range in the corner.
The left-footed Marc Sneyd converted from a tight angle.
The score knocked the momentum out of Wolves, who were the undoing of their own attacks with Atkins and Ben Harrison pulled up for crossing and passes dropped aplenty.
But inside 22 minutes they pulled level, skipper Monaghan charged down Sneyd’s kick and it bounced favourably for him to sprint 30 metres and score his second try of the campaign.
Stefan Racthford, restored to goal-kicking duties with Chris Bridge absent through injury, converted.
Castleford enjoyed a period of sustained pressure on the half hour, but after Nathan Massey collected Daryl Clark’s pass he spilled the ball in a tackle close to the posts.
Replacement Clark was involved again moments later when he broke through two tackles before feeding Ellis as Wolves scampered back to recover.
But the home side were able to keep the move alive and as Sneyd drew close to the line on the last tackle he delivered a clever grubber kick that Shenton dived for to touch down. Sneyd added the extras.
Then on the 40-minute marker Tigers were able to break free again and a superb run from Frankie Mariano saw him offload to Shenton, who had the power to take Scotland international Russell over the line with him. Sneyd again converted from a tight angle.
Two minutes into the second half Wolves thought theh had narrowed the deficit when pouncing on Ratchford’s bomb that was bouncing around the in-goal area.
But Rhys Evans had collided with a Castleford defender while the ball was in the air and referee Richard Silverwood pulled the game back to award possession to the Tigers.
Substitute Ben Currie did well to stop Tigers increasing their advantage from another Sneyd grubber, ripping his shirt in the process but stopping a certain try.
It was from Currie’s intervention that Wolves made their way down field and Ratchford found Russell and the full back tip-toed through before releasing Rhys Evans.
But, playing in the centres, Evans spilled the ball in the tackle and Tigers’ full back Tansey collected to sprint 70 metres, escaping the reaches of half back Ratchford and only feeding Ellis once he ran out of steam.
The hosts kept the momentum with neat hands eventually allowing Clare to dive over in the left hand corner, the kick proved too narrow an angle for even the in-form Sneyd this time.
However, two minutes later on 53 minutes Sneyd was given a simple conversion when another quick Cas move saw Weller Harauki feed scrum half Ellis, who scooted over from 10 metres out.
On the hour-mark Tigers increased their lead further as Ashley Gibson hit a gap on the right and found Owen on the overlap to stretch out and touch down in the corner despite the attentions of Wolves’ defence. Sneyd curled over the extras.
The move had started with Shenton breaking clear and when Russell’s tap tackle brought down the leggy back the Tigers were able to move the ball wide through hands at speed.
With 71 minutes on the clock Wolves' best chance of the half passed, Gareth O’Brien, influential in the win against Widnes on Easter Friday, for the first time found space to deliver a grubber that bounced high towards Chris Hill.
However, Hill could only parry the loose ball into the hands of Currie standing in the in-goal area and despite touching down the try was ruled out.
With five minutes remaining things got worse for Wolves when Shenton joined the line at speed to break through any would-be Warrington tacklers and dart over for his hat-trick, Sneyd converted.
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