London Broncos 30 Castleford Tigers 30 match report: Tigers roar back to steal point after Gower shines


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The Independent Online

Tigers by name, Tigers by nature. Castleford fought back with 14 unanswered points in the last 10 minutes to limit bottom-of-the-table London and earn a first away point since April 2012.

At 30-16 down Daryl Powell's men looked out of sorts but their fight back was rewarded with a point, which was what Tigers deserved, although London's failure to see out a game that veteran schemer Craig Gower looked to have won for them illustrates why they are bottom of the league.

The dual-code international played a captain's role two days after he stepped down from the captaincy. Perhaps it was the relief of shedding the responsibility that inspired him.

Powell is new to the Castleford job, having left Featherstone to replace Ian Millward. Rather than congratulating his players on their comeback, he pointed out how much work lies ahead for them.

"I thought it was poor from the start to nearly the finish," he said. "We had some good bits in there but we're just not tough enough. We have a really long way to go and we were poor and got a point we didn't deserve."

Gower could not be blamed for Broncos surrendering the draw, which Cas earned with a 79th-minute penalty from Jamie Ellis – an outcome that had looked unlikely as London roared into an early lead when James Mendeika went in from a Michael Witt pass.

London's defence was exposed in the ninth minute as Castleford scored a length-of-the-field effort. The Tigers were pinned on their own line when Justin Carney scooped the ball up but the winger found a gap for Kirk Dixon. He fed Daryl Clark who went 60 metres.

Both sides looked dangerous but vulnerable and London bordered on the brilliant again with 15 minutes gone as Gower's pass sent Scott Wheeldon powering over the line.

Cas struggled to see the ball for some time afterwards, but were given a reprieve when Antonio Kaufusi shot out of the line and poleaxed Dixon with a wild shot which woke up the visitors. They were level minutes later, with the help of a forward-looking pass. Rangi Chase started and finished the move, with his pass to Carney questionable. Carney returned the ball to Chase, who did the rest.

But London ended the half on top, scoring after an error by the full-back Jordan Tansey, who coughed up the ball from a Gower kick. From the scrum that formed Luke Dorn sent Chris Melling in on an overlap.

Penalties early in the second half disrupted the flow until, in the 50th minute, Witt kicked a 40-metre penalty to put the Broncos 18-10 ahead.

Three minutes later London scored a fourth try. Chase's poor pass caught Jordan Thompson napping, Castleford failed to get back in line and Gower cut through before sending in the supporting Chris Bailey.

The Tigers suddenly needed three tries to get anything from the game and Chase duly stepped up, with a brilliant high kick finding Grant Millington who grounded.

They could not sustain the pressure, though, and when Gower ducked his way to the line from close range the game appeared to be up. But Castleford came back again. First Carney showed neat feet to slide down the touchline and score and then, after Nathan Massey bounced over from close range, Ellis slotted the decisive penalty.

London Broncos Dorn, Melling, Mendeika, Channing, Robertson, Witt, Gower, Wheeldon, Fisher, Clubb, Rodney, Bailey, Cook. Substitutes used Bryant, Krasniqi, Bishay, Kaufusi.

Castleford Tigers Tansey, Carney, Thompson, Shenton, Dixon, Chase, Ellis, Millington, Clark, Huby, Holmes, Hauraki, Massey. Substitutes used Walker, Milner, Fleming, Boyle.

Referee Ben Thaler (Wakefield).