A hat-trick of tries from flying winger Denny Solomona helped Castleford Tigers to make it two wins from two in the Super 8s as they beat Wigan Warriors 36-22 at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
After opening up a 26-12 lead midway through the second half Daryl Powell’s men had to withstand a big Warriors comeback, but late scores from Ryan Hampshire - against his parent club - and Oliver Holmes clinched a deserved success.
For the second week running they beat a top four team and after losing three times to Wigan this year they were determined for some payback.
A tough first half with some good defending to match the attacking play on show ended with Cas 12-6 ahead.
They showed they meant business as a they forced a drop-out in the third minute and Rangi Chase produced a big hit on Dom Manfredi that went unpunished, but led to the Wigan winger going off injured.
Cas went ahead on nine minutes with one of the tries of the season as from a scrum deep in their own half they moved the ball swiftly left and Luke Dorn’s well timed pass gave Denny Solomona the chance to show his pace on a 70 metre race to the line.
A penalty for a high tackle on Andre Savelio by Dom Crosby led to Luke Gale kicking a penalty to make it 6-0 on 12 minutes.
Wigan looked to hit back, but in a remarkable minute they saw Willie Isa and Josh Charnley held up over the line then Dan Sarginson was well tackled by Chase on the line and Anthony Gelling put a foot in touch under a tackle by Solomona when going for the line in the corner.
The Tigers survived the pressure and increased their lead on 28 minutes as a great set that marched them downfield ended with Paul McShane diving over from acting half on the sixth tackle. Gale’s goal made it 12-0.
Wigan hit back four minutes later when their luck changed as Matty Smith’s pass appeared to hit his team-mate, but after the ball went to ground Sam Powell scooped it up to go over for a try converted by Smith.
The second half saw Wigan come out looking more determined, but it was Cas who scored again when Solomona leaped high into the air to pluck the ball out of the air from Gale’s kick to touch down for a try that was goaled by Gale.
The visitors quickly reduced their deficit to six points, however, as Ben Flower produced a strong finish to take advantage of the first weak tackling of the night from the hosts.
In an end to end contest it was the Tigers’ turn for some forceful attacking play with Dorn inches away from scoring and Junior Moors’ grubber kick forcing a drop-out.
They came up with another try when Solomona produced a typical flying leap for his hat-trick after a move involving Gale and Dorn that may have had a hint of obstruction in the build-up.
A brief melee in a match that was always simmering saw Wigan’s Crosby and Cas’s Oliver Holmes sin-binned. From the resulting penalty, Gale kicked the goal to make it 26-12.
However, this was the cue for Wigan to launch a comeback following a 40-20 kick by Smith.
John Bateman and Lee Mossop both went over tries in the space of three minutes and suddenly it was really game on at 26-22.
Solomona almost got a fourth try when knocking on in the air after getting to another Gale kick first, while George Williams was held up just short of the line as the Warriors threatened.
It was a thrilling finish, but it was Cas who came up with the decisive score as Rangi Chase’s break sent Hampshire over in the corner. It appeared the Wigan loanee had bounced the ball over the line, but the officials gave the try and Gale’s touchline goal made it 32-22.
With the last play of the game Holmes put the icing on the cake when finishing off a crisp left side move and it was Sweet Caroline time.
Scorers - Castleford: Tries Solomona 3, McShane, Hampshire, Holmes; goals Gale 6. Wigan: Tries Powell, Flower, Bateman, Mossop,; goals Smith 3.
Castleford Tigers: Dorn; Hampshire, Crooks, Minikin, Solomona; Chase, Gale; Springer, Milner, Patrick, O Holmes, Savelio, Moors. Subs: Jewitt, McShane, Cook, Millington.
Wigan Warriors: S Tomkins; Charnley, Gelling, Sarginson, Manfredi; Williams, Smith; Crosby, Powell, Flower, Bateman, Isa, Sutton. Subs: Farrell, Mossop, Tautai, Nuuausala.
Referee: Joe Cobb