Solomona leads Castleford fightback at Widnes

Castleford's hat-trick hero Denny Solomona.
Castleford's hat-trick hero Denny Solomona.

Castleford Tigers stormed back from 18-0 down inside the first 20 minutes to beat Widnes Vikings 34-24 at their Select Security Stadium.

Flying winger Denny Solomona marked his return from injury by leading the scoring with a hat-trick as an understrength Cas side overcame an awful start to dominate on a pitch that is never easy.

It was not looking too good at the start as Widnes were ahead in only the second minute with Patrick Ah Van going over and Chris Bridge kicking the conversion.

Macgraff Leuluai followed up with another home score and Bridge goaled as Widnes started like a house on fire, looking to end their recent losing run.

Cas looked to hit back, but it did not look like their day when Corey Thompson intercepted Luke Gale’s long pass and raced 100 metres for a third home try. With Bridge converting it was 18-0 after just 19 minutes.

But to the Tigers’ credit they improved their defence, tightened up their game and stopped making the handling errors that had put them under pressure early on.

They finally completed a set and were rewarded with a first try as Solomona held off Thompson and Rhys Hanbury to go over in the corner.

A second try soon followed when a long pass from Ryan Hampshire sent Solomona in and Gale’s goal narrowed the gap to eight points.

It stayed 18-10 to half-time with Cas defending much better now and they were relieved to still be in the contest at the break.

They started the second half superbly with Solomona completing his hat-trick after just two minutes, collecting the ball following a brilliant offload by Jake Webster. The conversion by Gale narrowed the gap to two points.

Cas lost Gadwin Springer to another injury after he had enjoyed an impressive spell in the pack, but they maintained their momentum to go in front as Solomona knocked back a high kick by Gale and Ryan Boyle was there to collect the ball and dive over for a try goaled by Gale.

It was Gale himself who was next to cross the line when he produced a strong finish and his conversion made it 28-18.

Widnes hit back though Lloyd White seven minutes from time to make it a nervy finish, but Cas held firm for the remainder and clinched victory as Paul McShane darted over from dummy-half in the final minute.

It was the Tigers’ first away win since beating Hull FC in February and moved them back into seventh place.

Scorers - Widnes: Tries Ah Van, Leuluai, Thompson, White. Goals: Bridge 4. Castleford: Tries Solomona 3, Gale, Boyle, McShane; goals Gale 5.

Widnes Vikings: Hanbury; Thompson, Dean, Bridge, Ah Van; Mellor, Brown; O’Carroll, Heremaia, Dudson, Sa, Houston, Leuluai. Subs: Brooks, Gerrard, White, Whitley.

Castleford Tigers: Hampshire; Monaghan, Minikin, Webster, Solomona; Holmes, Gale; Lynch, Milner, Jewitt, Cook, McMeeken, Massey. Subs: McShane, Maher, Boyle, Springer.

Referee: Joe Cobb.

Half-time: 18-10.

Attendance: 5,018.