Castleford hold off Giants fightback to bounce back to winning ways

Jamie Ellis, who kicked six goals for Castleford Tigers against former club Huddersfield Giants.
Jamie Ellis, who kicked six goals for Castleford Tigers against former club Huddersfield Giants.

Castleford Tigers withstood a second half fight back by their Huddersfield Giants hosts to run out 40-28 winners at the John Smith’s Stadium.

At 28-6 at half-time Daryl Powell’s men looked set for their biggest margin victory of the season after dominating despite being without Man of Steel Luke Gale.

It was his replacement, Jamie Ellis - up against his former club - who was one of the architects of an impressively controlled first 40 minutes in which the Tigers scored five tries to one and were completely in charge.

But as in the recent away game against Leeds Rhinos the standards slipped in the second half and Cas needed two tries in the last six minutes to make sure of their two points.

The Tigers made a fast start and after Grant Millington was held up over the line they were ahead from the fourth minute after Paul McShane touched down Ben Roberts’ kick ahead. Jamie Ellis - on kicking duties with Luke Gale missing from the Tigers side - slotted the conversion.

As Huddersfield looked to hit back a great tackle by Grant Millington on Daniel Smith denied the hosts.

The Tigers scored their second try on 12 minutes when Jake Trueman’s fantastic pass sent Greg Minikin over in the corner and Ellis added a touchline conversion.

With Huddersfield on a team warning after a succession of penalties Cas took further charge and went over for a third try, Alex Foster following up McShane’s grubber kick to touch down. With Ellis adding his third goal it was 18-0 after 24 minutes.

The Giants’ chances were further hit as they went down a man with Jordan Turner sent to the sin-bin following his team’s earlier warning.

Cas missed a great chance soon after as Minikin dropped the ball after an overlap had been created on his flank.

They did add to their lead, however, when Jake Webster took Roberts’ pass to blast over for a try that made it 22-0.

Another chance went begging as Ellis could not find Greg Eden with the line looking open, his pass going behind the winger into touch.

Huddersfield regrouped and put their first points on the board with Ukuma Ta’ai going over after juggling Lee Gaskell’s pass before being able to regather.

Jordan Rankin’s conversion reduced the deficit to 16 points, but it was soon back up to 22 again as Eden marked his return from injury with a fantastic dash to the line after taking Ellis’s fine pass. Ellis goaled to make it 28-6 at the break.

Cas were hit by injuries at the start of the second half with Eden coming off. Foster went to centre with Michael Shenton going onto the wing.

It seemed to interrupt their rhythm and it was the Giants who scored when Smith followed up Rankin’s break to touch down.

The Tigers did create a good chance off the back of Webster’s half-break, but Ellis could not collect the centre’s pass.

Huddersfield kept going and were rewarded with a third try, Innes Senior squeezing over in the corner.

But Cas came roaring back and were unlucky as Oliver Holmes and Adam Milner both went close. After they were awarded a penalty in the 64th minute they chose to go for goal with Ellis sending the ball between the posts to make it 30-16.

There were more twists to come, however, with Milner sin-binned after referee Ben Thaler deemed he had used his elbow in wriggling to get free of tackler Adam O’Brien who would not let go of him.

With their extra man the Giants scored again, Senior getting over for his second try and the game was still alive with Rankin converting to bring the score back to within eight.

Once again it seemed the Tigers had put the result to bed when Foster scored his second try after chasing down a kick and Ellis added the goal.

But once again Huddersfield would not lie down as they got the ball back from a short restart and Shannon Wakeman raced over.

They looked set for another score when Wakeman raced for the line again only for Millington to come up with a great tackle to stop him in his tracks.

It was finally over, though, when skipper Shenton raced away to score the final try for Castleford.

Scorers - Huddersfield: Tries Ta’ai, Smith, Senior 2, Wakeman; goals Rankin 4; Castleford: Tries McShane, Minikin, Foster 2, Webster, Eden, Shenton; goals Ellis 6.

Huddersfield Giants: Simpson; L Senior, Turner, Murphy, I Senior; Gaskell, Rankin; Ikahihifo, O’Brien, Ta’ai, Ferguson, Lawrence, Smith. Subs: Clough, Wakeman, Roberts, English.

Castleford Tigers: Trueman; Minikin, Webster, Shenton, Eden; Roberts, Ellis; Watts, McShane, Millington, Holmes, Wardle, Foster. Subs: Moors, McMeeken, Milner, Springer.

Referee: Ben Thaler.

Half-time: 6-28.

Attendance: 5,945.