Rugby League: Fisher catches Warrington out

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The Independent Online
Warrington . . .6

Castleford. . .21

ANDY FISHER, who has still to play a full game for Castleford, was instrumental in putting the scent of Wembley in their nostrils again after last year's Silk Cut Challenge Cup final defeat.

Fisher, a deadline signing from neighbours Featherstone earlier this month, laid on the two tries that got his new team home in a first round tie they could easily have lost. His run on to Tawera Nikau's pass and the way he broke Greg Mackey's tackle to send in the supporting Mike Ford got Castleford off to the ideal start.

Midway through the second half, he was one of a number of Castleford players who spotted that Warrington were severely undermanned on the right wing and it was his long, accurate pass that put Simon Middleton in at the corner.

In between those two Fisher-fashioned tries, Warrington had been given every chance to take control of the game, however. A goal and a try from Tony Thorniley whittled away at Castleford's early eight-point lead and they threw away a marvellous try-scoring opportunity early in the second half when Allan Bateman ran clear only to pass forward.

Nikau played an important part in the second try as well as the first, his jolting tackle on Kelly Shelford preparing the way for Middleton's score. After that, Castleford never looked back. Lee Crooks kicked his second conversion, Graham Southernwood added a drop goal and finally Martin Ketteridge, moved to prop to accommodate Fisher, slipped a late ball out of the tackle and Grant Anderson and Ford were on hand to provide Graham Steadman with the third Castleford try.

Warrington: L Penny; N Kenyon, A Bateman, T Thorniley, M Forster; K Ellis, G Mackey; G Chambers, D Mann, B Jackson, P Cullen, G Sanderson, K Shelford. Substitutes: P Darbyshire, N Harmon. Coach: B Johnson.

Castleford: G Steadman; D Nelson, St J Ellis, T Smith, S Middleton; P Coyne, M Ford; L Crooks, G Southernwood, M Ketteridge, T Morrison, A Fisher, T Nikau. Substitutes: G Anderson, D Sampson. Coach: D Van de Velde.

Referee: J Connolly (Wigan).

Scorers: Ford/Crooks (try/goal, 0-6, 4 mins); Crooks (pen, 0-8, 16 mins); Thorniley (pen, 2-8, 19 mins); Thornily (try, 6-8, 25 mins); Middleton/Crooks (try/goal, 6-14, 62 mins); Southernwood (drop goal, 6-15, 71 mins); Steadman/Crooks (try/goal, 6-21, 78 mins).