There was simply no option for Willie Poching´s Wakefield Trinity, they had to beat the Castleford Tigers in tonight’s round twenty-one game. But Lee Radford also needed the win for his side who were looking to consolidate their position in the top six and pull further clear of the chasing pack.
The Tigers were strong favourites with the bookies, Wakefield getting a fourteen-point start on the handicap coupon but sometimes surprises are borne out of desperation and the Trinity fans came into the game hoping that this might be one as they made the short journey to the Jungle looking for their first victory over the Tigers since 2015.
It was a tit-for-tat opening with defences on top early. On ten minutes Trinity tackled Bureta Faraimo into touch ten from his own line but in the second tackle the ball was spilled in the tackle by Jai Whitbread.
But on fifteen it was Trinity who did open the scoring when Liam Hood scooted before bouncing off a couple of Tigers defenders and then the post pad before grounding. Mason Lino added the conversion for a welcome 6-0 lead.
When Derrell Olpherts lost the ball inside his own twenty, Wakefield used their tackles before Jamie Shaul looked to have gone over in the corner but there wasn´t enough video evidence for the video official Jack Smith to overturn the on-field decision of NO TRY.
Lewis Murphy grounded the ball for the second Wakefield try on twenty-six as he jumped to take a Jacob Miller cross field kick and stretched out one-handed to score.
On thirty-six the Tigers appeared to have scored their first points of the game thanks to a flying Faraimo but despite the decision going to the video referee as a TRY it was ruled out for a foot in touch, simultaneous to the grounding.
Two minutes from the interval Matty Ashurst took a delightful pass from Miller to go in from ten metres sending the Wakefield fans into raptures. Lino added the conversion for 18-0, almost the faultless first half from Trinity, a nightmare opening forty from the Tigers who had a mountain to climb in the second half.
A big defensive mistake from Lee Kershaw, fumbling a high kick, resulted in a Tigers penalty inside the Trinity ten. But Castleford spilled the ball themselves for it to be picked up by Miller who found Murphy to go eighty metres without a Tigers hand laid on him, to go in under the sticks. Lino added the conversion for 24-0.
On fifty-seven Jason Qareqare lost the ball twenty from his own line, the ball being picked up by David Fifita who beat three attempted tackles and dragged two defenders over the line with him for the fifth Wakefield try of the night. Lino added the conversion to bring up the thirty for the visitors.
On the hour the Tigers did finally open their account as Danny Richardson chased and grounded his own kick under the uprights. The Tigers scrumhalf added the conversion himself but it as too little and too late.
Failing to beat the ´shot clock´ to drop out from under their own sticks, Wakefield accepted the penalty to further extend the lead as Lino slotted the ball over.
Against all the odds bottom placed Wakefield totally outplayed a Castleford Tigers in fifth spot as they recorded their best result of the season in wrestling a crucial two points to lift them off the bottom of the table and help their points difference in comparison to Toulouse as they scramble to avoid the drop. A huge sigh of relief across WF1 but a realisation that there is still a big job to do over the coming six rounds.
Castleford Tigers: Mamo, Olpherts, Fonua, Sutcliffe, Faraimo, Eden, Richardson (T, G), Griffin, McShane, Smith, Edwards, Milner, Westerman. Subs: Watts, Lawler, Qareqare, Matagi.
Wakefield Trinity: Shaul, Kershaw, Hall, Gaskell, Murphy (2T), Miller, Lino (6G), Arona, Hood (T), Whitbread, Ashurst (T), Batchelor, Crowther. Subs: Fifita (T), Bowden, Battye, Aydin.
Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, 0-10, 0-12, 0-16, 0-18 : HT : 0-22, 0-24, 0-28, 0-30, 4-30, 6-30, 6-32 : FT.
Lead Exchanges: Wakefield.
Referee: Rob Hicks.