Warrington build on sharp start

RUGBY LEAGUE Warringon 31 Castleford 20
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Warringon 31 Castleford 20

Warrington won convincingly enough, if not by the margin their domination deserved in a Stones Centenary Championship fixture where both sides occasionally seemed to be going through the motions.

Warrington looked sharp from the start and it was a sweeping move, only temporarily halted when Lee Penny was tackled on the line, that brought them an early reward. Iestyn Harris kicked for the corner and the ball sat up neatly for Chris Eckersley to score.

A second try five minutes later owed rather more to good fortune, Mike Ford's kick bouncing off a defender and the goal post before he touched down.

Castleford briefly revived with a try by Adrian Flynn, allowed despite an obvious forward pass in the build-up, but Warrington soon asserted themselves again, a run by Harris setting up Ian Knott for a try on his full debut.

The Australian prop, Dave King, then belied his bulk with a fleet-footed break to send Penny over. The only consolation for Castleford was that three goals from Lee Crooks, against two for Harris, left them only a modest 10 points behind at the end of a half in which they had been played off the park.

Warrington underlined their superiority within two minutes of the restart when Manoa Thompson forced his way over. After Penny crossed for his second in almost the same spot, both sides visibly lost interest.

A Ford drop goal against his old club edged Warrington further ahead, before a brilliant flash of Crooks' handling skill kept the ball alive for Chris Smith to go in by the flag for Castleford.

The biggest cheer of the night came when Greg Mackey came off the substitute's bench for a farewell appearance before leaving for Australia. Then Harris kicked his third goal before Andrew Schick went in for a try that flattered the visitors.

Warrington: Penny, Eckersley, Rudd, Currier, Thompson, Harris, Ford (Mackiey, 72), Jones (Hilton 31) Hough (Bennett, 67), King, Cullen, Knott (Barrow, 75), Sculthorpe.

Castleford: J Flowers, C Smith, Goddard (Stephens 30) Flynn, Coventry, Steadman, T Smith, Crooks, Maskill (S Flowers, 49), Sampson (Smales, 75), Harland (Sykes, 49), Schick, Nikau.

Referee: J Connolly (Wigan).