Wildcats claw a vital win

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The Independent Online

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats will not give up their Super League status without a fight and they gave their survival chances a crucial boost with a 23-20 win over Salford City Reds.

Tries by Neil Law, Dane Dorahy, Willie Poching and Justin Brooker and three goals and a drop goal from Martin Pearson were just enough to see off Salford's spirited challenge on Saturday.

The Reds went over three times themselves in a close encounter through Jason Nicol, Stuart Littler and Francis Maloney and, although the former Leeds stand-off Graham Holroyd kicked four goals, the visitors fell just short.

The Wildcats led 16-10 at half-time and, although they were always looking over their shoulders, the home side held firm in front of nearly 2,500 fans at Belle Vue.

Leeds Rhinos completed a vital 17-10 win over Castleford that keeps them on course for the play-offs. The Tigers looked set for a sixth successive home win when tries from Michael Eagar and Jon Wells gave them a 10-2 lead early in the second half. But Keith Senior pulled a try back and the Rhinos struck twice in three minutes just after the hour mark to secure only their second win in eight Super League clashes at The Jungle.

Castleford could be about to lose their captain, with the Australian Adrian Vowles rumoured to close to finalising a move to Leeds. Vowles, the 1999 "Man of Steel" who comes off the overseas quota this year, missed the game with a hamstring injury and has rejected a new, reduced contract offer. ''Maybe the time is right for him and, maybe, it's time for Castleford to bring in a fresh face,'' said the Tigers coach, Graham Steadman.

In Australia, Parramatta wrapped up their first minor Premiership since 1986 with an 18-4 victory over the Wests Tigers. The Parramatta coach, Brian Smith, said the minor Premiership was ''an award for consistency''.

''I haven't got the other prize that I'd like but I certainly hope it comes my way this year,'' he said of the league title. ''If it doesn't then I won't give up.''