Rugby League Round-Up: Ford helps clip Eagles' wings

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The Independent Online
MIKE FORD, the Castleford scrum-half, was inspirational in the early stages yesterday as Castleford survived a late Sheffield onslaught to win 14-8 and continue their pressure for a place in the top three of the Stones Bitter Championship.

The Eagles' Bruce McGuire was sent to the sin-bin after 12 minutes and Castleford took advantage of the extra man to score the only try of the half a minute later. Ford and Tawera Nikau worked a run-around to give Graham Steadman the chance to jink over from 10 yards; Lee Crooks added the goal. However, a promising game then disintegrated into a drab, bad-tempered affair.

Leeds took the points and deepened Hull Kingston Rovers' relegation worries when Gary Stephens's try three minutes from time gave them an 18-16 victory at Craven Road. Rovers refused to be overawed by the Yorkshire side and, despite losing Mike and Paul Fletcher through injury, exchanged the lead several times with Leeds.

Leigh, who beat Wakefield 41-8 a fortnight ago, narrowed the gap on their fellow strugglers in the relegation zone yesterday by completing a successful double, beating Trinity 17-10. One of the Lancashire team's Australians making his debut, Troy Clarke, had an impressive game, putting Duncan Platt over for the final try.

Featherstone Rovers were at their peak, easily beating their nearest rivals, Oldham, and thus taking an important step towards the Second Division championship.

The Yorkshire outfit, already looking certainties for promotion, swept aside second-placed Oldham for the third time this season with a 10-try spectacular at Post Office Road to run out 52-14 winners. The wing Owen Simpson and the Great Britain centre Paul Newlove grabbed a brace of tries, with Ian Smales, Ikram Butt, Francis Maloney, Brendon Tuuta, Terry Manning and Chris Bibb also touching down.