Rugby League: Castleford catch up with late tries

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TWO late tries earned an inconsistent Castleford a share of the points in their derby match with Wakefield Trinity at Wheldon Road yesterday.

Richie Blackmore and Tony Smith collected their second tries in a dramatic last four minutes to snatch a draw that keeps Castleford, three points behind Wigan and St Helens, firmly in the championship hunt. Lee Crooks, meanwhile, failed narrowly with the goal that would have robbed Trinity of a well-deserved point.

The draw was tough on Trinity, who dominated the game for long spells as Castleford struggled to cope with the lively runs and clever distribution of Geoff Bagnall and Billy Conway.

Trinity took the lead inside two minutes when the Australian prop Darren Fritz swapped passes with Phil Eden and sent Andy Wilson over for Peter Benson to add the goal.

A Crooks penalty cut the gap inside a minute before Trinity deservedly extended their lead when Bagnell put Gary Spencer in for a try.

Then, five minutes before the break, Tawera Nikau and Graham Steadman gave Blackmore room to dummy over in the corner and Castleford trailed 10-6.

Wakefield hit back when Bagnell kicked through for Michael Jackson to score a minute into the second half and Benson's goal made it 16-6.

Castleford replied in the 58th minute when Trinity failed to gather a high kick and Smith dived on the loose ball.

The goal from Crooks took Castleford to within four points. Nigel Wright looked to have made the game safe for Wakefield when he gathered his own kick to score with 16 minutes remaining. However, he reckoned without Blackmore and Smith's late fightback for Castleford.

Yesterday's other two scheduled First Division games fell victim to the frost. Sheffield's game with Halifax was called off in the morning, with the night match between Widnes and St Helens surviving a 2pm inspection but not the one at 6.30 - an hour before kick-off.