Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, dead but not quite buried six games ago, saved their Super League lives at the last gasp by sending their neighbours back to the National League after one season.
Wakefield completed their mission - to win four of their remaining games under the inspirational coaching of John Kear - with two tries from James Evans proving decisive in sending the majority of a full house home happy. "I am completely knackered and very emotional," said Kear after an achievement he put on a par with his two Challenge Cup triumphs.
"It's been a great two months and the players' response has been magnificent. I feel desperately sorry for Terry Matterson." Matterson hinted heavily that he would be leaving Cas. "I've always considered myself a Super League coach," he said. "I've never thought about coaching in National League One."
They called it Survival Saturday, and the biggest game in the history of the two clubs, and for once the atmosphere at Belle Vuematched the hyperbole.Wakefield took an early lead through Jamie Rooney's penalty but conceded two quick tries. First David Solomona failed to clear Danny Brough's kick into the in goal and Willie Manu dived to touch down.
Wakefield thought they had replied when Ben Jeffries raced in from 60 metres, but was brought back for Kevin Henderson's obstruction on Adam Fletcher. Brough missed the resulting penalty, but Castleford soon had further points when Michael Platt charged through the middle. He was eventually tackled, but Adam Fletcher picked up and went in. Brough stretched the precious lead to nine with a drop goal.
On the half-hour, Wakefield got lucky when Monty Betham stuck out a foot at a loose ball and saw it bounce straight into the arms of Evans, who had a clear run at the line for a converted try.
Wakefield saw Colum Halpenny carried off after being knocked cold in Gray Viane's tackle, but their determination to pick up any available scraps saw them go ahead before half-time when Jason Demetriou wrestled his way through a series of tackles.
That lead lasted seven minutes into the second half when the Castleford captain, Danny Nutley, scored after another outstanding piece of strength and willpower. Back came Wakefield with Betham bouncing over the line from Sam Hobbs' pass. With 17 minutes to play, safety began to beckon when Viane lost the ball in the tackle, Solomona darted up the right of the Castleford defence and sent Henderson over.
Rooney missed the goal kick but landed a drop-goal to edge the Wildcats a little closer to survival, a great escape which was confirmed when Jeffries launched a high kick that bounced wickedly to give Evans his second try.
Wakefield: Halpenny; Demetriou, Evans, K Henderson, Tadulala; Rooney, Jeffries; Watene, Obst, Korkidas, Solomona, MacGillivray, Betham. Substitutes used: March, Elima, Catic, Latu.
Castleford: Platt; A Fletcher, Shenton, McGoldrick, Dyer; Lupton, Brough; Sculthorpe, A Henderson, Nutley, Ward, Manu, R Fletcher. Substitutes used: Bird, Fa'aoso, Viane, Davis.
Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).Reuse content