Dixon deals 'death' blow to Trinity

Wakefield Trinity 18 Castleford 20 (aet)
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The Independent Online

A long-range kick off the touchline from Kirk Dixon in sudden-death extra time settled a Challenge Cup tie for Castleford that was a good advert for parochial rivalries.

Cas and Wakefield might be the leading candidates to be told to play their rugby elsewhere when Super League licences are finalised in July, but they produced a magnificent contest, full to bursting point with local pride.

After it went into golden-point added time, there were no fewer than six drop-goal attempts, before, at the end of the first 10-minute period, Frankie Mariano and Dale Morton ripped the ball from Willie Isa to conceded the vital penalty.

"I thought it was a penalty. No complaints from me," said the Wildcats' coach, John Kear.

It was still a desperately difficult kick for Dixon, 45 metres out and at the widest of angles, after he had missed one from straight in front that could have precluded the need for extra time.

"But I knew he was going to kick it," his coach, Terry Matterson, said.

"It was a cruel way to lose," said Kear. "But I think it has ignited the Challenge Cup for this season."

Close neighbours they might be, but their seasons have gone in opposite directions, with Cas recently losing all their early impetus while the Wildcats have been clawing their way towards a surprising degree of respectability for a club which startedthe campaign with such problems.

There was an echo of that sort of rhythm in the way they started the first half with self inflicted difficulties and fought their way back.

The Tigers took the lead after seven minutes, when Josh Veivers' loose pass put Dale Morton in trouble. He spilled the ball for Brett Ferres to pick up and scramble over. Trinity levelledwhen Glenn Morrison dived on to Julien Rinaldi's kick.

An old-fashioned, attritional first 40 minutes yielded no further tries – Cas were denied one to Richie Mathers for an obstruction – but Wakefield edged ahead through Veivers' second goal after Stuart Howarth was blocked chasing his own kick.

Trinity built up a 10-point lead early in the second half, with another Veivers goal and a try from Tommy Lee when Kieran Hyde's grubber took a deflection off a goal-post. Cas fought back with an individualist try from Rangi Chase and one from Danny Orr, after Josh Griffin failed to handle Chase's high kick. A penalty each way kept it level pegging to the end of normal time. Then the real drama began.

"It wasn't pretty," Matterson admitted, "but it will do us a power of good."

Wakefield's dancing girls carried placards urging "Keep Wildcats in Super League." Castleford will vouch for the fact that it took an awful lot to kick them out of the Challenge Cup.

Wakefield Trinity Veivers; G.Johnson, Murphy, Griffin, Morton; Hyde, Lee; Korkidas, Rinaldi, P.Johnson, Morrison, Henderson, Howarth. Substitutes used: Mariano, King, Amor, Wildie.

Castleford Mathers; Dixon, Isa, Arundel, Owen; Chase, Orr; Fozzard, Hudson, Emmitt, Holmes, Ferres, Snitch. Substitutes used: Massey, Thompson, Widders, Clark.

Referee R Silverwood (Mirfield).