Castleford Tigers ended their regular season tamely with a heavy 48-16 home defeat against Hull FC despite a hat-trick of tries on his debut by winger Tuoyo Egodo.
Daryl Powell’s decision to leave out several first teamers left Castleford without the strength to cope with visitors determined to book their place in the play-offs and they conceded eight tries to suffer only their second home defeat of the year.
The Tigers were not helped by several poor decisions from the officials, but were second best on the night and behind from the eighth minute.
As well as Egodo, the starting Cas side included young half-backs Tom Holmes and Jake Trueman who found it difficult going as the pack struggled to get over the top of the powerful Hull forwards.
Early Cas pressure off the back of a couple of penalties came to nothing, the closest to scoring coming when Mike McMeeken lost the ball in a tackle just a couple of metres out.
Hull opened the scoring when they kept the ball alive on a sixth tackle play and Liam Watts sent Albert Kelly over with a try that looked blatantly forward, but was not spotted by any of the officials. The video referee looked to see if there was obstruction in the build-up, but found none and, of course, could not give the forward pass. With Marc Sneyd goaling it was 6-0.
It was soon 10-0 as Kelly’s kick was taken by Jake Connor, who went over for the second try.
Only great defence kept out Connor and Mahe Fonua before Danny Houghton thought he had got the ball down over the line. He was judged by the video referee to have lost it in stretching to get over and no try was awarded, although everyone could have saved themselves some time as there had been a knock-on in the build-up.
Houghton was not to be denied soon after as he followed up Sneyd’s kick to drop on the ball over the line for a try converted by Sneyd.
Cas briefly fought back and a good move down the right saw McMeeken make a burst then time his pass well to give Egodo the chance to fly in for a debut try. Paul McShane’s conversion from the touchline made it 16-6.
Any thoughts of a comeback were quickly dispelled, however, as Hull full-back Jamie Shaul came up with a superb solo try from half-way, racing past several would-be tacklers on an impressive run.
Right on the hooter Hull scored again as Connor took a suspiciously forward pass to charge over. Sneyd’s goal made it 28-6 at half-time and the game was effectively all over.
Credit to Cas, they made a fight of it after the break and had their opponents rattled for a spell.
Two tries in four minutes by winger Egodo saw him match Trueman from the previous week in scoring a debut hat-trick as he took advantage of good work by Jake Webster and substitute Ben Roberts to race over. With McShane adding a conversion to one of the scores it was back to 28-16.
When Shaul dropped a Roberts high kick from the next set it just briefly looked like game on after all, but Connor put that to bed as he became the second player to complete a hat-trick after Hull had survived pressure at their own end. Sneyd’s kick made it 34-16.
Sneyd then added a penalty to stretch the visitors’ lead to 20 points and soon after was converting after Carlos Tuimavave raced over from Fetuli Talanoa’s break and pass..
Off another penalty Hull scored again when Shaul took advantage of some tired looking home defenders to weave his way over for try goaled by Sneyd..
Scorers - Castleford: Tries Egodo,3; goals McShane 2. Hull: Tries Kelly, Connor 3, Houghton, Shaul 2, Tuimavave; goals Sneyd 8.
Castleford Tigers: Eden; Egodo, Webster, Monaghan, Hitchcox; T Holmes, Trueman; Cook, McShane, Springer, Foster, McMeeken, Larroyer. Subs: Lynch, Sene-Lefao, Roberts, Maher.
Hull FC: Shaul; Fonua, Connor, Tuimavave, Talanoa; Kelly, Sneyd; Taylor, Houghton, Watts, Manu, Minichiello, Ellis. Subs: Bowden, Fash, Green, Washbrook.
Referee: Ben Thaler.