Rugby League: Hulme leads cast of thirtysomethings

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The Independent Online
Castleford 18 Salford 36

Salford's contingent of thirtysomethings showed that there is no substitute for battle hardened know-how in yesterday's convincing Silk Cut Challenge Cup tie victory at Wheldon Road, writes Dave Hadfield.

Andy Gregory's winter signings, John Cartwright, Andy Platt and David Hulme, are all comfortably into their fourth decades, as is fellow forward Paul Forber but all of them made major contributions to a win that not only takes Salford into the fifth round but also suggests they will not be overawed by life in Super League when it begins next month.

It was the arrival of Hulme from the substitutes' bench that galvanised Salford after an innocuous opening to the match. They immediately looked a better balanced side and two quick tries gave them a lead that was never seriously threatened by a disappointing Castleford.

The first was the result of Mark Lee's dummy and the second came when Darren Rogers intercepted Adrian Voles' pass and was then on hand at the other end of the field to round off a 75-yard move.

With Cartwright and Platt steadily taking control of the middle of the park, Salford killed off their opposition early in the second half, Hulme setting up Rogers for his second and then romping in himself from the base of the scrum.

Castleford managed a token response when their substitute, Adrian Flynn, scored with his first touch of the game, but they were soon put firmly in their place.

Forber's rampaging run set up Peter Edwards for another try and Ian Watson's dart down the right flank gave Rogers his hat-trick.

Hulme, showing more pace than he is credited with at this stage of his career, then opened the way for Fata Sini to turn Graham Steadman inside out.

Salford conceded two late tries but that could not obscure a most impressive display and a confidence boost for over-30 forwards everywhere.

Castleford: Gay, C Smith, Chapman, Anderson, Roach, Vowles, T Smith, Crooks, Russell, Shick, Lidden, Tuuta, Goddard. Substitutes used: Steadman, Smales, Flynn, McVean.

Salford: Laurence, Sini, Naylor, McAvoy, Rogers, Watson, Lee, Platt, Edwards, Eccles, Forber, Cartwright, Randall. Substitutes used: Hulme, Faimalo, Martin, Savelio.

Referee: D Campbell (Widnes).