Castleford edged a point nearer safety after Michael Shenton's last-minute try, nervelessly converted by Craig Huby from the touchline, earned them the point that was the least their efforts deserved from a compelling, breathtaking game played in intense heat at the aptly named Jungle.
The Tigers are now seven points ahead of bottom club Wigan with 12 rounds of Super League remaining. "It was a really great team effort and I think we deserved better," said Terry Matterson, the Castleford coach. "I'd have been gutted had we come out of that with nothing."
Bradford flattered to deceive with a lightning start that saw them pile up 12 points inside the opening seven minutes with converted tries from Michael Withers and Terry Newton.
For the rest of the first half the reigning champions were continually forced on the back foot by the sheer enthusiasm of the home side, whose props Danny Nutley and Danny Sculthorpe were outstanding in the sweltering conditions.
Sculthorpe's vision gave Waine Pryce a walk-in by the flag after his wonderful lofted pass brought back memories of ball-handling props of yesteryear. Sculthorpe, ironically on loan from Wigan, was then involved in Willie Manu's try before he bumped off Andy Henderson's attempted low tackle to bulldoze over by the posts.
Castleford's 16-12 interval lead was thoroughly deserved and, starting the second half in the same vein, they extended their advantage when Pryce dived over for his second try.
Newton gave the Bulls hope with his second try on the hour and then created the chance for Paul Deacon to dive over eight minutes from time.
Deacon's conversion gave the Bulls the lead for the first time but when he was unable to augment Shontayne Hape's try from the touchline four minutes later it left the door open for Castleford's dramatic reply.
Castleford: Platt; Pryce, Viane, Bird, Shenton; McGoldrick, Lupton; Sculthorpe, A Henderson, Nutley, Ward, Manu, R Fletcher. Substitutes used: Handforth, Huby, Fa'aoso, A Fletcher.
Bradford: Withers; Vainikolo, Hape, B Harris, St Hilaire; I Harris, Deacon; Fielden, Newton, Lynch, Meyers, McKenna, Langley. Substitutes used: Gene, I Henderson, Ferres, Vagana.
Referee: P Taberner (Wigan)Reuse content