Rugby League: Davies kicks to the top

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The Independent Online
Warrington. . .20

Castleford. . .10

WARRINGTON took over as leaders of the Stones Bitter Championship yesterday, a dreadful error nine minutes from time removing any doubt over which of the First Division's recent in-form sides was on its way to the top.

Graham Steadman had never looked remotely comfortable under the high kicks launched regularly by Jonathan Davies. The one that mattered skidded from his grasp to give Paul Cullen a simple try to which Davies added a goal to complete Warrington's match-winning lead.

Warrington had looked to be on their way to a convincing victory in the first half. Robert Myler had put them in command with two fine tries.

His first, an 85-yard dash holding off Steadman and St John Ellis, took full advantage of a Mike Ford pass which fell in front of Lee Crooks. His second was the result of more confusion sown by Davies' boot, Craig Teitzel sending the loose ball out to his wing and Myler chipping precisely over the defence to score.

A Davies penalty and drop goal, against one penalty by Crooks, made up an 11-2 lead. Castleford were well below their form of recent weeks and their recovery to trail by just one point at half-time owed more to the eccentric refereeing of Jim Smith than to their own efforts.

Warrington, always the more controlled side, edged their way into a more secure lead in the second half with a penalty and a drop goal from Davies. Then came the moment when Castleford's collective untidiness caught up with them to put Warrington clear in this contest and two points ahead of St Helens and Bradford at the top of the table.

Warrington: Penny; Forster, Rudd, Davies, Myler; K Ellis, Mackey; Chambers, Thursfield, Tees (Teitzel, 28), Cullen, Gregory (Derbyshire, 69), Elliott.

Castleford: Steadman; St John Ellis, Blackmore, Anderson, Middleton; Smith, Ford; Crooks (England, 77) (Morrison, 80), Russell, Ketteridge, Morrison (Hay, 46), Smayles, Nikau.

Referee: J Smith (Halifax).