Castleford, a top-eight side all season, are in severe danger of missing the Super League play-offs after being thrashed by a Hull side claiming their own place in the semi-finals. Jordan Turner, Willie Manu and Tom Briscoe all scored two tries for Hull, who could finish as high as fifth. Cas's fate will be decided by their last match, against Hull KR, who kept their own hopes alive with a 30-26 win at the Catalan Dragons last night.
Hull have run into decent form after a troubled first half of the season. "We had a really difficult start to the season, but we stuck together and we've struck some consistent form now," said their coach, Richard Agar. "Whatever you put in front of these guys now they will relish the challenge."
They dominated the opening stages and took a deserved two-try lead. The breakthrough came when Danny Houghton worked the blind-side with an old-fashioned set play, Cameron Phelps came into the line to make the extra man and Kirk Yeaman scored in the corner.
Cas thought they had averted a quick second when Joe Arundel got his hand under Lee Radford to prevent him from grounding the ball. It was a temporary reprieve, because Turner scored almost immediately with a good catch from Richard Horne's angled kick. The Tigers needed something special and inevitably it came from their man of the season, Rangi Chase. His chip-kick and regather was typical of his invention and Oliver Holmes was in support to put Danny Orr over. Hull continued to look the more confident side, however, and made that tell in the four minutes before half-time.
There seemed little danger when Briscoe took the ball, idling on the left wing, but he teased and tricked Castleford with his change of pace to go 60 metres and touch down. Then Danny Washbrook got his arms free in the tackle and the former Cas forward Manu finished the job; another ex-Tiger, Joe Westerman, added his third goal.
Cas had almost 10 minutes of unbroken pressure at the start of the second half, culminating in Chase's break from the scrum to set up Ryan McGoldrick to provide the scoring pass to Nick Youngquest. Orr landed the conversion to make it a 10-point gap, but that was as close as Cas could get.
Westerman got the ball out of the tackle for Turner to claim his second, Sam Obst's deflected kick gave Houghton the sixth Hull try, McGoldrick going on report for a high tackle in the process, before Manu went through some weary tackling for his second. Briscoe's second was a length of the field effort, followed by Will Sharp as Hull topped the half-century.
Castleford McGoldrick; Owen, Isa, Arundel, Youngquest; Chase, Orr; Massey, Hodson, Davies, Jones, Holmes, Aspinwall. Substitutes used Widders, Mathers, Snitch, Fozzard.
Hull Phelps; Whiting, Turner, Yeaman, Briscoe; Horne, Obst; O'Meley, Houghton, Moa, Manu, Westerman, Fitzgibbon. Substitutes used Washbrook, Lauaki, Radford, Sharp.
Referee S Ganson (St Helens)