Derby delight for Castleford against Leeds


Photo Credit -Adam Clarke

Castleford Tigers secured only their third win of the season with a narrow 26-24 victory over Leeds in a Magic Weekend thriller.

Leeds shot out the blocks and applied pressure to Castleford with the use of tall towering kicks, they came up with some great field position and opened the scoring within six minutes. A long looping pass found Darrell Olpherts on the wing and the former Castleford man strolled over untouched.

A couple of minutes passed before the game changed completely. Leeds lost their early momentum and Castleford scored back to back tries in the 12th and 14th minutes. Jacob Miller showed excellent support play to score their first, before their young winger Elliot Wallace broke away down the touchline to give them the lead.

The next 20 minutes were hard fought but cagey, nobody wanted to give an inch and the play was conservative. It was 100 percent effort from both teams which lead to some tired bodies.

When the game eventually opened up it worked to the advantage of the Rhinos. A scrappy attack lead to a rushed grubber kick into the in-goal that worked wonders. Tigers defenders were slipping all over the pitch and James Bentley latched onto the ball, touching it down inches before the dead-ball line.

The score gave the Rhinos a narrow two point lead at halftime, with it all to play for in the second half.

Photo Credit – Adam Clarke

Once again it was Leeds who started the half as the stronger side. It took them just four minutes of play to get up to their opponents try line and put a dent in it. Their utility forward Rhyse Martin who was playing as a centre, spotted a gap and made a direct line for it, when he got close he couldn’t be stopped and Leeds had another four points.

However, Castleford showed their spirit once more, they wouldn’t go away in this game and kept the pressure on Leeds’ defence. In the 48th minute Gareth Widdop got a hold of the ball and ran at the Rhinos defence. He had them back-peddling which made it very easy for Alex Mellor to slide over the line with momentum.

Castleford kept the pressure up for 15 minutes but couldn’t find a way to get in front, in the 60th minute they had a try disallowed by the video referee and to rub salt in their wounds, Leeds then went up the other end and scored. Bullying the defensive line through the middle, a lovely offload found the hands of Mikolaj Oledzki, who couldn’t be stopped from close distance, opening up a 10 point lead.

Nevertheless, the back and fourth game stuck again in the 70th minute. Alex Mellor latched on to a shift towards their right edge, and he slid across the surfaces and over the line for his second of the night.

And then remarkably, just three minutes later, their right edge did it again. With some beautifully quick hands the ball found Jason Qareqare on the wing, he evaded his marker and crossed to line to give the Tigers the lead with only six minutes left to play.

The nerves inside St James’ Park were cranked up to the max as Castleford were made to hold on at all costs, Leeds threw all they had at them but their defence stood firm with pride. It was a terrific display of determination that got them a deserved narrow win.

Castleford will look to use this result as a booster to kick start their season, they host Salford next week who will also be in good spirits after a Magic Weekend win. Leeds will hope to get back to winning ways when they travel to bottom of the league Wakefield next Sunday.


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