Two tries in injury time confirmed Harlequins as the season's surprising pace setters and left Castleford looking for a first victory.
Quins were trailing by four points when their former Castleford half-back, Danny Orr, snatched a third win in four games. His cleverly disguised kick stopped short, allowing him to get a boot to it for a second time and another ex-Tiger, Jon Wells, to touch down. Henry Paul's conversion put Quins ahead and, deep into time added on, another Orr kick sat up for Rob Purdham.
It was a special effort from Orr. "But he's like that every single week," said his coach, Brian McDermott. "He's involved in everything. It's like there's two of him out there, so it's not a case of extra effort against his old club, but maybe it's a bit more pleasing."
Castleford were a vast improvement on their 60-point humiliation at Huddersfield. "The players are devastated and I'm just as devastated as they are," said their coach, Terry Matterson. "It's just not falling our way at the moment and we came up a touch short."
Cas made a full contribution to an entertaining game. They took an early lead when their man of the match, Ryan McGoldrick, took a sublime reverse pass from Brent Sherwin to go through a gap. Quins equalised when Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook took Chad Randall's pass to force his way over, but the home side led again when Sherwin and McGoldrick paved the way for Kirk Dixon.
The Londoners got in front again when Matt Gafa made the ball available and Orr bounced over. Joe Westerman's penalty sent the sides in level.
In the second half, Purdham lost the ball on the line, then Mark McLinden was sent to the sin-bin for holding on in the tackle. Cas capitalised, scoring through Luke Dorn. On his return, McLinden also lost the ball over the line.
In the middle of that lot, Westerman was within inches before being stopped by Tony Clubb.
"I do feel for Cas," said McDermott. "I thought they played really really well and their first points won't be far around the corner."
Castleford: McGoldrick, Owen, Dixon, Lupton, Wainwright, Dorn, Sherwin, Huby, Moore, Korkidas, Guttenbeil, Haberecht, Westerman. Substitutes used: Leafa, Henderson, Higgins, Fletcher
Harlequins: McLinden, Wells, Gafa, Howell, Sheriffe, Orr, Randall, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Rinaldi, Ward, Purdham, Temata, Paul. Substitutes used: Barker, Clubb, Heckenberg, Haggerty
Referee: B Thaler (Castleford).
* The Bradford prop Joe Vagana broke his arm at Wigan on Saturday and will be out for at least six weeks. Leeds's Danny McGuire has been cleared of a suspected broken collar bone but Clinton Toopi dislocated a shoulder during Friday's World Club Challenge. Leeds say they have heard nothing about suggestions a Melbourne player was bitten during the match.Reuse content