Catalan are too strong for Castleford Tigers

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CASTLEFORD'S departing players did not get the home send-off they desired as the Tigers were beaten 46-26 by Grand Final contenders Catalan Dragons at a flat Probiz Coliseum.

After conceding two early tries the Tigers battled back to 18-12 and came within a whisker of levelling the scores, but two Catalan tries in the last five minutes of the first half effectively ended the Super League contest.

The French visitors took command initially through tries by Vincent Duport and Damien Blanch, both converted by Scott Dureau, before Cas got a foothold in the game.

Rangi Chase, back after injury, put in a low kick, which Ryan Hudson pounced on over the line to celebrate his final home game before retirement with a try. Another set to retire, Danny Orr, added the 18th minute conversion.

Back came Catalan with a try by Setaimata Sa after he collected Dureau's kick, but the Tigers responded and got to within six points with a try by Stuart Jones from Chase's pass and Orr's second conversion.

They were agonisingly close to another try soon after when Nick Youngquest could not take Steve Snitch's pass with the line open and paid for the miss with the Dragons scoring two tries in the last five minutes of the half. Clint Greenshields and Blanch both took advantage of weak defending to cross the line and with Dureau making it five from five goals it was 30-12 at the break.

In the second half, Catalan stretched their lead when Greenshields charged over twice to complete his hat-trick and one more conversion by Dureau made it 40-12.

To their credit, Tigers kept battling to the finish and were rewarded with tries for Youngquest on his last home match before retiring, Grant Millington and Richard Owen.

But it was the Dragons who had the last word with the last play of the game as winger Blanch broke away from half-way to complete his hat-trick. With the last kick of the game Dureau landed his seventh goal.

Fittingly Orr was awarded the official man of the match for Castleford.

Scorers - Castleford: Tries Hudson, Jones, Youngquest, Millington, Owen; goals Orr 3. Catalan: Tries Duport, Blanch 3, Sa, Greenshields 3; goals Dureau 7.

Castleford: Chase; Owen, Thompson, Jones, Youngquest; Ellis, Orr; Massey, Milner, Huby, Millington, Hudson, Snitch. Subs: Clark, Mitchell, Holmes, Nash.

Catalan: Greenshields; Blanch, Millard, Duport, Pala; Bosc, Dureau; Mounis, Henderson, Casty, Sa, Anderson, Baitieri. Subs: Pelissier, Fakir, Maria, Larroyer.

Half-time: 12-30.

Referee: Tim Roby.

Attendance: 5,005.