Flying winger Denny Solomona set a new Super League try record as he added two more to his collection in Castleford Tigers’ thrilling 34-28 win away to Catalans Dragons.
Daryl Powell’s men kept their hopes of a fifth place finish alive as they survived a late Dragons comeback to get a deserved victory after they had led 34-10 with 15 minutes to play.
Solomona, Paddy Flynn and Ben Crooks all scored two tries with Luke Gale kicking five goals and all the Tigers points coming in the first 54 minutes.
Along the way Solomona passed Lesley Vainikolo’s Super League try record of 36 in a season and put himself within one of the all-time Castleford tries in a season record held by St John Ellis.
Catalans threatened first when Remi Casty was held up over the line in the second minute, but it was Cas who took the lead as they survived the early pressure to score from their first serious attack.
Ryan Hampshire, playing at half-back, threw out a long pass to the corner where winger Flynn caught the ball and finished strongly for a try well converted from the touchline by Gale.
Glenn Stewart’s grubber kick forced a drop-out as the Dragons looked to hit back and the hosts levelled the scores on 17 minutes as Oliver Elima barged over from close range and Tony Gigot goaled.
It was then the Solomona show as two tries in two minutes saw him set the Super League try record.
The 36th league try of his fantastic season came as he collected Gale’s superb pass over the top and his 37th followed following quick hands and a brilliant flick pass by Luke Dorn.
With Gale converting both it was 18-6.
Cas turned down the chance of a kick when awarded a penalty for a high tackle on Hampshire and the decision proved a good one as from the following set Gale’s pass sent Crooks over for a try with his first touch after coming off the bench. Another Gale goal made it 24-6.
Catalans hit back to score four minutes before the break, Stewart powering over on a strong run. But Gigot could not add the extras, leaving the score at 24-10 at half-time.
Cas got back on top early in the second half as Crooks ran onto a clever bouncing kick from Gale for his second try and Gale converted.
Greg Minikin then made a 50-metre break and Gale followed up with a quick corner that forced a drop-out.
From the following set, the ball was moved smartly right where Dorn, Hampshire and Minikin combined to give Flynn an easy run in for the Tigers’ sixth try of the evening.
It looked all over when Catalans had Ben Garcia sin-binned for a sly punch on Jake Webster on the ground.
Crooks looked to increase the lead with a pacy break, but with three men to his right unmarked his final pass was knocked to the ground by Dragons last man Gigot.
From that point on cas seemed to switch off and two tries in three minutes for the hosts made a game of it.
First, Eloi Pelissier scampered over with the Tigers defence stretched then Louie Anderson powered over from close range. With Gigot converting both tries it was suddenly 34-22.
Cas held out to further pressure before the defence cracked again four minutes from time. Gigot’s low kick was dropped on over the line by Richie Myler and Gigot’s goal brought the scores to within six points.
In a nervy finish Gale sent two long range drop-goal attempts wide, but Castleford held out for their first win in France since Powell took over as head coach..
Scorers - Catalans: Tries Elima, Stewart, Pelissier, Anderson, Myler; goals Gigot 4.. Castleford: Tries Flynn 2, Solomona 2, Crooks 2; goals Gale 5.
Catalans Dragons: Gigot; Sigismeau, Garcia, Duport, Broughton; Stewart, Myler; Casty, Aiton, Elima, Anderson, Horo, Mounis. Subs: Taylor, Bousquet, Pelissier, Seguier.
Castleford Tigers: Dorn; Flynn, Minikin, Webster, Solomona; Hampshire, Gale; Cook, McShane, Patrick, O Holmes, Savelio, Milner. Subs: McMeeken, Crooks, Maher, Douglas.
Referee: Phil Bentham