Castleford 27 Harlequins 12: Sculthorpe takes Tigers away from the trapdoor

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The Independent Online

Castleford moved alongside Harlequins on 19 points and into the category of sides now unlikely to be relegated from Super League with a deserved victory, highlighted by two moments of sublime skill from their prop forward, Danny Sculthorpe. It means that last year's promoted club are three points ahead of Wakefield with two games to play. They could still go down, but their supporters, players and coach were celebrating last night.

"I don't tend to show a lot of emotion but it's been a really tough month," said the coach, Terry Matterson. "The players knuckled down and did the job."

The first half was a strange affair, with Cas dominating for long periods but doing their best to be behind at the interval. They took the lead when Ryan McGoldrick gave Luke Dyer a clear run to the line, and took their advantage into double figures when McGoldrick got to Sculthorpe's kick ahead.

Harlequins then scored from their first real attack, Chad Randall and Luke Dorn setting up Paul Sykes for the try in the 25th minute. Five minutes later, Solomon Haumono and Rob Purdham slipped out passes to enable Danny Williams to score. Sykes' second goal gave the visitors an unlikely lead, but Castleford's blushes were spared by a crafty kick from Danny Brough to set up a try for Peter Lupton.

Cas extended their lead nine minutes after the break when Michael Shenton set up the position from which Willie Manu ploughed his way over. A try of the highest quality then made the game safe. It began with a wonderful backhanded pass from Sculthorpe, continued with a slide-rule kick from Brad Davis and was completed by Adam Fletcher. There was plenty of defending to do after that, but the urge to survive was strong and the Tigers edged a little further towards safety with a drop goal from Sculthorpe.

"Castleford had a script about how they were going to perform and we did nothing to alter that script," said the Harlequins coach, Brian McDermott.

Castleford: Platt; A Fletcher, Shenton, McGoldrick, Dyer; Lupton, Brough; Sculthorpe, Henderson, Nutley, Manu, Ward, R Fletcher. Substitutes used: Bird, Viane, Fa'aoso, Davis.

Harlequins: McLinden; Stewart, Luisi, Smith, Bradley-Qalilawa; Sykes, Dorn; Mills, Randall, Heckenberg, Purdham, Hopkins, Paul. Substitutes used: Williams, Haumono, Noone, Budworth.

Referee: P Bentham (Warrington).