Rugby League: Orr steals the thunder

Castleford 18 Gateshead Thunder 8
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The Independent Online
THE GAME'S newest club could not mark their debut with a win, but the Gateshead Thunder showed enough in this competitive friendly to suggest that they will be a formidable side when their collection of imports has gelled.

Despite treating the game as an opportunity to give virtually the whole squad a run out, they gave a thoroughly good account of themselves in front of a curious crowd of over 4,000, remarkable for this sort of pre- season fixture.

Gateshead did not make the most auspicious start to their history, the biggest and rawest recruit, the Fijian winger, Epi Taione, allowing himself to be tackled into touch after fielding a kick.

With possession from the scrum, Brad Davis fed Adrian Vowles, who found a gap in a defensive line which had not yet settled into the job.

With Danny Orr's splendid conversion Cas were away to a flyer, but the Thunder also proved capable of forcing and capitalising on a mistake in the opening minute. Jason Flowers lost Craig Wilson's low kick under pressure and Kerrod Walters and Willie Peters moved the ball to the right for Deon Bird to find Daylight Matt, who scored the new club's first try.

The lively work of Walters at dummy half promised further opportunities, but it was Castleford who extended their lead before half-time. A strong run by their substitute, Ian Tonks, sent Davis over the line. Although he was turned on to his back, the continued possession allowed Cas to turn the screw and Dean Sampson's neat pass put Orr over for a try which the young stand-off again improved, this time from the touchline.

With a series of changes at half-time, Gateshead could have expected to become more disjointed, but their Irishman, Brian Carney, almost scored with his first touch, having the try disallowed for offside as he latched on to Will Robinson's kick.

Another chance came and went when David Maiden knocked on with the line open. Maiden did much better to take Walter's clever kick and feed the ball on for Andrew Hick as Gateshead finally made inroads into the lead, although Bird could not land the relatively simple conversion.

Cas had to withstand some pressure after that but made the game safe two minutes from time when Orr, their best player of the night, hoisted a high kick which was spilled by Carney and touched down by Danny Ellison.

Castleford: Flowers; Gay, Eagar, Maloney, Wells; Orr, Davis; Sykes, Raper, Sampson, Harland, Fritz, Vowles. Substitutes: Ellison, Rogers, Tallec, Tonks, Lynch, Dobson, Hill.

Gateshead Thunder: Sammut; Taione, Maiden, Bird, Daylight; Simon, Peters; Green, Walters, Hick, S Allwood, Wilson, Grimaldi. Substitutes: Herron, Robinson, Felsch, Collins, Maher, Towart, Rutherford, R Allwood, Carney, Singleton.

Referee: S Cummins (Widnes).