Castleford Tigers maintain winning pre-season run

Castleford Tigers try scorer Denny Solomona.
Castleford Tigers try scorer Denny Solomona.

Castleford Tigers maintained their unbeaten run in pre-season games against Championship opposition as they beat Doncaster 32-12 at a cold Keepmoat Stadium.

While the performance had a few flaws in it several Tigers players took the chance to impress head coach Daryl Powell ahead of the season proper with Denny Solomona and Ashley Gibson in particular in the backs showing their speed.

Early on both sides looked rusty, although Denny Solomona showed promise of what he could do with a terrific break that almost brought the first try only for desperate Doncaster defending to keep him out.

Both teams wasted chances with knock-ons near the line before Cas cranked up the pressure and after Steve Crossley was inches away from a score off a nice little pass by young hooker Tom Holmes they did make the breakthrough in the 18th minute.

Ben Roberts’ grubber kick was spilled over the line and Nathan Massey pounced on the loose ball for a try converted by Liam Finn.

James Clare was denied shortly after when he was squeezed for room on the wing and his kick inside was dealt with.

Back came the hosts and they came up with a well created try, Tom Holt charging over after following up a fine break by scrum-half Richard Wilkinson.

Stewart Sanderson added the conversion and surprisingly it was 6-6.

The game was only level for three minutes, however, as the Tigers got good field position again and Roberts sold a clever dummy to create space for a solo try close to the home line.

Finn’s conversion hit the post and it remained 10-6 to half-time with more pressure from Cas, but the lack of a cutting edge in some of their attacking play.

In the second half, the Tigers came out with more intent and after a good break by Andy Lynch took them close to the home line, Finn nicely created space for Tom Holmes to go over for a try his performance had deserved. Finn goaled to make it 16-6 two minutes into the half.

Another try followed on 53 minutes when Ashley Gibson produced a decent finish after good work close to the line by substitute Jake Webster. Another sub, Luke Gale, goaled to stretch the lead to 16 points.

Doncaster were not done, however, as their first pressure of the half off the back of successive penalties saw Josh Kittrick go over after a hole suddenly appeared in the Cas defence when he was given the ball by Danny Cowling on a sixth tackle powerplay. Sanderson added the conversion.

The comeback hopes were soon ended, though, with Solomona charging virtually the length of the field, showing great pace for a spectacular solo try on 64 minutes after picking up near his own line. Gale’s goal made it 28-12.

Cas then had the final word near the end when young debutant Will Plimmer made good ground down the left work and a nice pass sent Gibson away with the centre showing terrific pace to collect his second try.

There was no conversion from Gale, leaving the final score at 32-12.

Scorers - Doncaster: Tries Holt, Kittrick; goals Sanderson 2. Castleford: Tries Massey, Roberts, Holmes, Gibson 2, Solomona; goals Finn 2, Gale 2.

Doncaster: Scott; Doherty, Gilbey, Welham, Sanderson; Kittrick, Wilkinson; Spiers, Kesik, Carbutt, Foster, Kelly, Wilson. Subs: Cowling, Robinson, Clark, Waller, Waterman, Palmer, Holt.

Castleford: Tansey; Clare, Channing, Gibson, Solomona; Roberts, Finn; Boyle, T Holmes, Crossley, McMeeken, Westerman, Maher. Subs: Gale, Moor, Howden, Sheehan, Massey, Plimmer, Wheeldon, Webster, Lynch.

Referee: C Kendall.

Half-time: 6-10.