The bookies were struggling to split Castleford Tigers and the Warrington Wolves as the two sides met as the second of the double header at the Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens. There was just one point between the two sides when they met back in March, a Blake Austin dying seconds drop goal separating the sides in a low scoring encounter.
Warrington had their hopes set on overtaking their hosts and moving to top spot in the table, a win for the Castleford Tigers wouldn’t help them in the current league structure. But both sides knew that there is a limited and continually diminishing amount of season left to achieve a top four finish.
The Tigers broke the deadlock on seventeen when Gareth O’Brien sidestepped the Wolves defence to ground a Danny Richardson grubber which bounced off the post pad. Richardson added the conversion for 6-0.
A superb Toby King tackle prevented a second Tigers try on the half hour. But the fare being served up by both sides was below par.
With two minutes of the half remaining Anthony Gelling was on hand to take a Josh Charnley pass after Charnley had taken a high kick. Stefan Ratchford kicked the touchline conversion and the sides went into the sheds all square at 6-6.
Warrington came out of the sheds looking like they’d had a half time roasting. Luis Johnson lost the ball over the line on forty-nine when Warrington looked to make the pressure count. Jake Mamo was sin-binned on fifty-three for a professional foul, taking out Derrell Olpherts as he chased down his own kick.
Within a minute Olpherts scored the try he’d just been denied when he grounded with his fingertips as Matty Ashton slid in to make the tackle. Richardson was unable to add the touchline conversion, the Tigers into a four point lead.
With seventeen minutes left on the clock Blake Austin failed to get the ball on the ground after Adam Milner slid into the tackle and dislodged the ball.
Warrington threw everything that they had at the closing minutes oft he game but strong Castleford defence kept them at bay.
Matty Ashton pinched the win with just over two minutes remaining. Ben Currie made the break before finding Ashton in support to go forty metres to score under the uprights. Stefan Ratchford added the conversion to seal the win with just over sixty seconds left on the clock.
A scrappy game between two sides who seemed to implode when they got close to their opponents line. There was little to choose between the two sides and in the end it was a moment of magic when Dec Patton found Currie to put Ashton free to score the winning try. The Tigers hadn’t trailed in seventy-nine minutes but lost the game, and with it made their chances of a top four finish a much more difficult ask.
Tigers: O’Brien (T), Eden, Shenton, Foster, Olpherts (T), Mata’utia, Richardson (G), Watts, McShane, Griffin, Holmes, McMeeken, Massey. Subs: Millington, Milner, Moors, O’Neill.
Wolves: Ashton, Charnley, Gelling (T), Mamo (SB on 53), Lineham, Ashton (T), Ratchford (2G), Latu, Walker, Cooper, Currie, King, Murdoch-Masila. Subs: Patton, Johnson, Robson, Doro.
Referee: Rob Hicks.
Ground: Totally Wicked Stadium, St Helens.