Castleford Tigers came from 14-0 down to go back to the top of the Betfred Super League with a 43-26 victory over Catalans Dragons at a sun soaked Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Daryl Powell’s men recovered from a shocking start to claim their fifth victory from six games and while they would admit they were not at their best they had too much firepower for the visiting French team in the end.
Castleford could not have made a worse start as they conceded four early penalties to find themselves on a team warning and found themselves 14-0 down on the scoreboard.
Catalans opened the scoring in the third minute after Ben Roberts had lost the ball in a tackle 20 metres from his own line to give the visitors good field position. They took full advantage as Iain Thornley went over on the left edge and Luke Walsh converted.
Walsh’s kick forced a drop-out soon after although there was a hint of Grant Millington being tackled in the air and from the following set Richie Myler backed up Paul Aiton’s smart dart from acting half to score the second try.
Walsh added the conversion and five minutes later kicked a penalty to make it 14-0.
The Tigers did not what hat hit them and they rightly felt aggrieved at some of the decisions being dished out by referee Jack Smith. .However, when they finally got a call from the official the comeback started in the 15th minute when from a trademark left side move Luke Gale sent Zak Hardaker over for a try converted by Gale.
Greg Eden came close to another score when losing his balance and stepping in touch near the line, but a period of mistakes from both sides followed when Catalans now started giving penalties away.
Cas eventually took advantage just before the half-hour as Millington took a pass from Junior Moors and slipped out of a soft tackle near the line to score a try that was goaled by Gale.
Gale’s 40-20 kick kept the pressure on, but Matt Cook lost the ball over the line trying to reach out to score.
However, two more tries late in the half gave the hosts a 22-14 lead as Joel Monaghan dived over well to score after collecting Jake Webster’s back of the hand pass and Eden touched down Roberts’ delightful kick.
The latter try was amazing after Cas won the ball from a Catalans put in at a scrum, a great shove doing the trick. They then saw a pass batted down and from the free play Roberts’ kick did the business.
Catalans hit back immediately after the restart after a set took them down field and from the last play Louis Anderson went over from close range with the home defence holding off. Walsh’ goal made it 22-20.
But within three minutes the home lead was back to eight points as the impressive Moors strolled through a gap near the line and Gale goaled.
Gale kicked a penalty on 55 minutes before the try of the game gave the Tigers the breathing space they had been looking for. A move started by Gale well inside his own half saw Michael Shenton carry the ball well. Eden took the move on and stepped inside to find his skipper who raced over for a thrilling score.
Gale kicked the conversion and soon after took the chance to land a drop-goal to take the score out to 37-20.
He did miss another penalty kick attempt, but another try followed as Eden danced his way over through several would-be tacklers. Gale this time kicked the goal.
Catalans did manage a late consolation try through Vincent Duport with Walsh kicking his fifth goal, but the Tigers were worthy winners in the end.
Scorers - Castleford: Tries Hardaker, Millington, Monaghan, Eden 2, Moors, Shenton; goals Gale 7; drop-goal Gale. Catalans: Tries Thornley, Myler, Anderson, Duport; goals Walsh 5.
Castleford Tigers: Hardaker; Monaghan, Webster, Shenton, Eden; Roberts, Gale; Lynch, McShane, Massey, Millington, McMeeken, Milner. Subs: Moors, Cook, Sene-Lefao, Chase.
Catalans Dragons: Williame; Yaha, Inu, Duport, Thornley; Walsh, Myler; Moa, Aiton, Casty, Bousquet, Garcia, Burgess. Subs: Anderson, Baitieri, Da Costa, Margalet.
Referee: Jack Smith.