Veteran Davis guides Tigers away from the trapdoor

Castleford 42 - Widnes 8
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Brad Davis, the oldest player in Super League at 36, went along way towards keeping Castleford in the competition with a virtuoso show at The Jungle.

Brad Davis, the oldest player in Super League at 36, went along way towards keeping Castleford in the competition with a virtuoso show at The Jungle.

Davis might have looked like a panic signing when he was brought back in mid-season, almost four years after being discarded, but he pulled the strings for the Tigers as they stormed to a win that puts them a point behind the London Broncos with a much easier programme of games to come over the next seven weeks.

Widnes, on this showing, can be very thankful that they have probably cobbled together enough points to be safe.

The warmest day of the rugby league season so far greeted two teams who have had the heat on them for most of the campaign. Of the two, Castleford were the more desperate for the points and that was reflected in their greater urgency and enthusiasm from the start.

Their new signing, Mark Tookey, took them forward with a couple of big, old-fashioned charges and his fellow prop Andy Lynch got a lovely pass out of the tackle to send Ryan Hudson away. Even though he was hauled down, the veteran Davis was on hand to go over from the next play with Wayne Godwin adding the goal.

Widnes were awarded a penalty when Craig Greenhill went high on Willie Peters, with Stephen Myler duly reducing the lead.

The Vikings thought they should have had another penalty when Daniel Frame was dumped heavily by Godwin, but the referee, Karl Kirkpatrick, waved play on when the ball was spilled and Cas scored again from that turnover of possession. Davis made the running, Mike Smith formed the link and Paul Mellor went through an overstretched defence.

The substitute Jon Hepworth launched a high kick to the corner, Mellor palmed the ball back and Davis got it to Smith for the try, with Godwin this time successful from the touchline.

The evergreen Davis's tactical kicking was a constant torment to Widnes. One of his kicks pinned Paul Devlin back in his own in-goal to force a drop out and then, at the end of that set, another, threaded through perfectly, gave Hudson the chance to touch down for the fourth Castleford try.

Before half-time, Davis played a big part in yet another, this time throwing the long pass from which Francis Maloney got over.

Widnes applied some pressure at the start of the second half and got one back through Shane Millard and could have had another if Adam Hughes had not knocked on after some good handling in the build-up.

That was sufficient warning for the Tigers, who responded when Davis once more triggered the attack, this time via Damien Gibson for Mellor to score his second.

Godwin underlined Widnes' lethargy by weaving his way through from dummy-half for a try to go with his final tally of five goals.

When Paul Atcheson was sin-binned for pointlessly delaying a restart, it summed up Widnes' feeble effort and Hudson's pass to Darren Rogers completed the rout.

Castleford: D Gibson; T Saxton, M Tony, D Rogers, P Mellor; B Davis, F Maloney; M Tookey, W Godwin, A Lynch, M Smith, L Harland, R Hudson. Substitutes used: N Sykes, C Greenhill, J Hepworth, B Smith.

Widnes: P Atcheson; P Devlin, D Bird, A Hughes, C Giles; S Myler, W Peters; A Hobson, S Millard, D Mills, A Hay, D Frame, S Finnigan. Substitutes used: S McCurrie, T Wozniak, M Whitaker, G Middlehurst.

Referee: K Kirkpatrick (Warrington)