Rugby League: Castleford claws blunted

Click to follow
Castleford. . .10

Warrington. . .13

ALL third-placed Castleford's efforts to claw their way back against a side that started the game third from the bottom of the First Division could not save them from the further disintegration of their season last night, writes Dave Hadfield.

A gusting wind gave both teams problems from the start, but unaccountably it seemed to gust more strongly when Castleford were trying to move the ball.

A lack of cohesion and some dreadful handling emphasised just how badly their season has been blown off course and they often looked vulnerable to Warrington's slightly better controlled rugby.

It took 21 minutes for the visitors to get points on the board, a penalty by Tony Thorniley after Keith England had been penalised for lying on.

On the half-hour, Warrington grabbed a deserved first try, Kevin Ellis passing to Allan Bateman, who broke through some diffident tackling to draw the full-back, Graham Steadman, and put the 18-year-old Lee Penny over for a score which Thorniley improved.

Thorniley, like Lee Crooks at the other end, had a penalty disallowed when the touch judges disagreed on its accuracy.

It was an inspired piece of public relations by Castleford to let the raffle tickets blow all over the pitch at half-time, if only to show that the conditions were playing some part in their dismal performance.

Castleford finally made a move in the right direction two minutes after the break when Paul Cullen was penalised for a high tackle on Tony Morrison and Crooks landed the goal.

A second dose of Bateman's incisive running punished Castleford soon afterwards, however. He took a deft pass from Kelly Shelford and did all the hard work with a 30-yard run before lofting a try-scoring pass to Chris Rudd.

Shelford's obstruction on Mike Ford gave Crooks a chance for a second successful penalty.

And Warrington's tackle on Richie Blackmore from an offside position gave him a third 12 minutes from time. Two minutes later the pressure Castleford had been building paid off again when Ford and Tony Smith out Blackmore in, but Crooks's goal-kick barely got off the ground.

Castleford attacked incessantly, but their last chance of saving the game disappeared when Smith was penalised for kicking almost under the shadow of the Warrington posts and Kevin Ellis potted a drop goal with the last kick of the match.

Castleford: Steadman; St J Ellis, Blackmore, Smith, Wray (Boothroyd, h/t); Coyne, Ford; Crooks, Watson, England (Sampson, h/t), Morrison, Ketteridge, Nikau.

Warrington: Penny; Rudd, Bateman, Thorniley, Forster; K Ellis, Mackey; Harmon (Chambers, 63), Mann, Jackson, Cullen, Sanderson, Shelford. Substitute not used: Darbyshire.

Referee: P Gilmour (Workington).