Fresh from their stunning Challenge Cup semi-final win over the Warrington Wolves, the Castleford Tigers were looking to add the scalp of losing semi-finalists Hull FC as they sought the win in the ‘Rainbow laces’ round which would lift them above tonight’s opposition and into fifth place in the Super League 2021 table.
FC were the favourites with the bookies, despite being away from home, but there wasn’t much in it as the Tigers were only given a four-point start on the handicap coupon.
Castleford gave a debut to promising seventeen-year-old youngster Jason Qareqare (pronounced Garygary) on the wing and had Peter Mata’utia at full back in place of Niall Evalds, one of five changes from the side which won last time out. Hull will have to do without the services of Josh Griffin for some time after he ruptured an Achilles in the semi-final loss.
Forty-five seconds into his debut, and with his first touch of the ball, Jason Qareqare took a Michael Shenton pass and sprint thirty metres down the left touchline to score. Danny Richardson was unable to add the extras, but it was a stunning start to his Super League career for the debutant.
FC were level on thirteen after a terrific passing move saw the ball into the hands of Adam Swift after a pass from Mahe Fonua who had drawn in four defenders. The centre then had a free run to the line and dotted down under the sticks. Marc Sneyd added the extra two to put the visitors into the lead.
A Richardson goal on thirty-seven, given after Hull tackled a Tigers player without the ball, levelled the scores but it just served to stun the Airlie Birds into action.
A minute before time Jake Connor gathered a Sneyd kick and offloaded to Mahe Fonua for a clear run over the line from five metres out to snatch the half time lead. Sneyd added the goal after the half time hooter for a 12-6 half time lead.
Hull started the second half in the same style they ended the first as Swift got his second of the game as he took a Connor pass to go over on the overlap. Sneyd’s kick from the touchline was pinpoint accurate for 18-6.
Tempers erupted on fifty-one when Oliver Holmes and Josh Reynolds got into it after a big hit and were joined by the majority of the other players. Within three minutes Fonua got his second try of the game, managing to keep one finger on the ball as it hit the ground. Sneyd added his fourth goal of the season for 24-6, Hull FC easing towards the points.
Great Tigers defence denied Swift his hat-trick on sixty-nine and a minute later Sneyd was sin-binned for holding down too long in the tackle.
The twelve men went further ahead on seventy-three when Connor’s determination saw him pull the tacklers over the line from ten metres out. Connor kicked the conversion himself for 30-6.
A late Oliver Holmes try on seventy-seven after jinking through the defensive line was little consolation. The Richardson conversion brought up double figures for the home side.
Despite going behind to the early Tigers try, it was Hull FC who took the win and consolidated their top five position, making it impossible for their neighbours from across the city to overhaul them when they play Salford tomorrow night. It was a good comeback after last weeks disappointment, but the Tigers returned to the indifferent form which saw them record too many defeats in recent weeks.
Castleford Tigers: Mata’utia, Qareqare (T), Shenton, Foster, Olpherts, McShane, Richardson (2G), Martin, Milner, Griffin, Holmes (T), Sene-Lefao, Massey. Subs: Watts, O’Neill, Hepi, Peachey.
Hull FC: Connor (T, G), Faraimo, Tuimavave, Fonua (2T), Swift (2T), Reynolds, Sneyd (4G, SB on 69), Sao, Houghton, Satae, Savelio, Ma’u, Lane. Subs: Bowden, Fash, Johnstone, Scott.
Referee: Rob Hicks.
Score Progression: 4-0 4-4, 4-6, 6-6, 6-10, 6-12 : HT : 6-16, 6-18, 6-22, 6-24, 6-28, 6-30, 10-30, 12-30 : FT.