Eagar's effort proves decisive for Castleford

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The Independent Online

Tries in the last 11 minutes from Michael Eagar and Jon Wells gave Castleford a deceptively comfortably looking victory last night, to take them back into the top five spot they achieved last year.

An evenly balanced game was suddenly tilted by Castleford's ability to get the ball wide quickly - something that Trinity, for all their pressure early in the game, could never quite match.

There was nothing to choose in the first half between local rivals who both, in their different ways, exceeded expectations last season.

Castleford gained an early advantage when a sweeping attack started by Adrian Vowles went via Eagar and Brad Davis, for Darren Rogers to score.

Steve McNamara narrowed the gap with an offside penalty and, after Steve Prescott had a try disallowed, he scored another in spectacular style which did count. It began with a scrum near the Wakefield line, with Gary Price standing out in the back line to send Prescott on an 80-yard sprint to the other end.

McNamara kicked the conversion before Danny Orr missed an easy penalty for Castleford, making up for it with a try just as good as Prescott's. The stand-off side-stepped one way and then the other to open a gap in the Trinity defence, his conversion then putting Castleford back in the lead, although McNamara tied it up with another penalty before the break.

Both sides had tries disallowed early in the second half, but in a game of fine margins it was kicks that seemed likely to decide the outcome. McNamara put one penalty over when Lee Harland was guilty of dissent, but then missed an easier one when Vowles was adjudged to have gone high on Willie Poching. That left the way open for Orr to tie up the scores, which was how they stayed until Davis's charged down kick produced the opportunity for Vowles to send Eagar racing through a series of tackles down the left flank.

Three minutes later, a lost ball came back Castleford's way and this time Orr lofted the pass for Wells to cross on the other wing.

The Wakefield coach, Andy Kelly, refused to blame the club's cashflow problems which resulted in players not being paid last week. "It has an effect but the players have been very professional about it," he said.

Castleford's Stuart Raper paid particular tribute to Eagar's contribution. "He doesn't have blinding pace for a centre and he's not the biggest of guys but he's a tremendous competitor and that is what won it for us tonight," he said.

Wakefield: Prescott; Law, Tatupu, Hughes, P Sampson; P March Goulding; Stephenson, Hudson, Field, Price, Poching, McNamara. Substitutes: Kemp, Masella, Fisher, Jackson

Castleford: Flowers; Wells, Eagar, Campbell, Rogers; Orr, Davis; D Sampson, Raper, Shaw, Harland, Fritz, Vowles. Substitutes: Sykes, Tonks, Purcell, Arnold.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).