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Rugby League

Nick Youngquest's hat-trick adds gloss to brighten Tigers' day

Castleford 36 Widnes 12

A hat-trick in 15 second-half minutes by Nick Youngquest put a gloss on what had been a drab contest between two poor sides. Castleford were merely the least bad until the Australian winger struck, showing the crisp finishing that had eluded them earlier in the game.

"He was quite astute and clinical the way he got the ball across the line," said the Tigers' coach, Ian Millward.

Castleford's reawakening actually started with the introduction early in the second half of Jordan Thompson. With his second touch of the ball, the outside back-turned-forward took a pass from Danny Orr, created a gap and raced away for a handsome try that put daylight between his side and Widnes.

The rest of the game belonged to Youngquest. His first try had an element of good fortune about it when Brett Ferres charged down a kick, picked up the ball and sent him away. His second came from a long pass by Ryan McGoldrick, as the Tigers continued to probe the area of the Widnes defence that had broken down. Quick hands along the line gave him his third, and the job was as good as done.

It was a remarkable turnaround after Cas had spent the majority of the match doing their best not to score. No fewer than five times they got over the Vikings' try-line without being able to get the ball down.

They had taken a 15th-minute lead through Ferres before Widnes hit back, Paddy Flynn scoring from Joe Mellor's well-placed kick and Rhys Hanbury putting them ahead with the conversion. Daryl Clark sold a lovely dummy for his first try to put Cas back in front, although a Hanbury penalty reduced the margin to two points.

The best that could be said for the Tigers was that they improved after the break. After the Youngquest show, the impressive Clark, surely an international hooker in the making, cut through for his second.

Castleford Owen; Youngquest, Ferres, Dixon, Griffin; McGoldrick, Orr; Massey, Hudson, Huby, Mitchell, Millington, Jones. Substitutes used Emmitt, Clark, Walker, Thompson.

Widnes: Phelps; Flynn, Marsh, DeAn, Isa; Mellor, Hanbury; Cross, Clarke, Cahill, Winterstein, Allen, Finnigan. Substitutes used White, Davies, PIckersgill, Leuluai.

Referee S Ganson (St Helens).