Castleford Tigers ran in eight tries as they came from eight points down to beat last year’s Super League leaders shield winners Huddersfield Giants 44-30 at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Four tries in 13 minutes either side of half-time blew the Giants away and although Huddersfield made a game of it with two quick scores themselves Daryl Powell’s men were always the better team.
Castleford were pleased to be 16-12 in front at the break after trailing early and being behind for 35 minutes of the half.
Huddersfield were fast out of the blocks and opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Chris Bailey burrowed over from acting half near the line. Leroy Cudjoe converted.
Cas hit back within three minutes as Marc Sneyd made a stunning break from his own half after catching Luke Robinson’s long kick down field and found Oliver Holmes in support. The second rower then showed good pace to charge over for a try that went unconverted.
Pressure on the visitors’ line followed as Jamie Ellis kicks kept the Giants pinned back, but on 12 minutes with the Tigers looking set to score Liam Finn saw his pass intercepted by Cudjoe, who proceeded to race more than 80 metres for a try he converted.
Cas forced two drop-outs as they got back on top, but could not a find a way through until Justin Carney charged over after Finn and Sneyd combined smartly. Sneyd’s touchline conversion reduced the arrears to two points.
The Tigers then came close to more scores as Jake Webster was tackled just short of the line and Kirk Dixon bombed a certain score after dropping the ball with the line open following Michael Shenton’s great break.
But with the last play of the half Cas got their noses in front at last as Finn’s high kick was spilled by Jodie Broughton and Finn collected the loose ball to dive over for a try converted by Sneyd.
The Tigers continued the good work at the start of the second half as they took just four minutes to add to their lead, Adam Milner doing well to force his way over the line from acting half after a great run by Nathan Massey set up the position. Sneyd’s goal made it 22-12.
Within two minutes they were over again as Shenton made a great break and with the Giants defence stretched Finn’s perfectly judged kick was caught by Dixon, who had an easy task to score a try that went unconverted.
It was all Cas now and after the hard working Andy Lynch was held up over the line they scored again when Finn collected his second try following good work by Shenton and Holmes in a fine move started in the home half.
Sneyd’s goal made it 32-12, but it was not quite game over as the Tigers appeared to ease up and paid the price with Huddersfield scoring two tries in three minutes.
First, Joe Wardle finished strongly in the corner then Bailey repeated his earlier feat by taking advantage of poor defence to wriggle over from acting half.
With Cudjoe converting both it was suddenly 32-24 and it could have been closer had winger Jodie Broughton not stepped on the line in racing clear from distance.
Relieved Cas took advantage of their fortune when Sneyd’s kick forced a drop-out and from the next set Frankie Mariano produced a terrific effort to get the ball down over the line with four Giants players hanging onto him. Sneyd’s goal restored a 14-point advantage and the hosts could breathe easier again.
Still the Giants kept coming and Eorl Crabtree barged over for their fifth try with Cudjoe kicking his fifth goal.
However, Cas had the final word with three minutes left when Finn’s pass sent Grant Millington over for a try converted by Sneyd.
It was not the most straight forward of Castleford’s home wins this season, but they had showed some great attacking play again to beat one of their rivals for a top six place this season in the First Utility Super League.
Scorers - Castleford: Tries Holmes, Carney, Finn 2, Milner, Dixon, Mariano, Millington; goals Sneyd 6. Huddersfield: Tries; Bailey 2, Cudjoe, Wardle, Crabtree goals Cudjoe 5.
Castleford: Sneyd; Dixon, Webster, Shenton, Carney, Ellis, Finn, Lynch, Clark, Huby, Holmes, Mariano, Millington. Subs: Milner, Massey, Wheeldon, Jewitt.
Huddersfield: Connor; McGilvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Broughton; Wood, Robinson; Kaufusi, Bailey, Mullally, Ferres, Patrick, Lawrence. Subs: Crabtree, Kopczak, Ta’ai, Leeming.
Referee: Richard Silverwood.