Super League: Castleford 32-18 Bradford

Castleford (24) 32

Tries: Lynch, Clare, Dorn, Shenton, Clark Goals: Sneyd (6)

Bradford (6) 18

Tries: Gaskell (3) Goals: Gale (3)

Castleford Tigers eased some of the pain from their Challenge Cup final defeat with a home victory over relegated Bradford Bulls.

Andy Lynch, James Clare, Luke Dorn and Michael Shenton all crossed for the hosts in the first half, with Lee Gaskell replying for the visitors.

Gaskell touched down twice after the break to complete his hat-trick and haul the Bulls back into the match.

But Warrington-bound Daryl Clark went over to seal the win for the Tigers.

Castleford are the only side capable of stopping St Helens from finishing top of Super League.

Bulls coach James Lowes laments slow start

"We were very poor in the first half. Everything about us was poor - slow passes, slow movement, we were soft in defence."

Bradford had won their three previous matches after having their relegation confirmed.

Lynch gave the hosts, beaten 23-10 by Leeds Rhinos in last week's final at Wembley, a dream start when he crashed onto a pass from Clark and forced himself over.

They extended their lead when Clare grabbed an acrobatic score from Dorn's pass before the Australian touched down himself from Shenton's offload.

Gaskell got the visitors on the scoreboard from Gale's pass, but Shenton went over on the stroke of half-time to leave Sneyd to land the fourth of his six kicks and give the Tigers a 24-6 interval lead.

Bradford kept going though, and Gaskell went over again from close in before scoring from 40 metres to complete his hat-trick.

Jamal Fakir could have brought the visitors level, but fumbled when well placed and Clark ran in from 80 metres to secure the two points for Castleford before Sneyd's late penalty in reply.

Castleford coach Daryl Powell:

"It was always going to be tough to back up after a Challenge Cup final, especially after a loss, and it took some responding to.

"It was paramount that we won the game and we did that.

"It was pretty hot out there today and probably the mental exertions as well as the physical ones took some dealing with."

Bradford coach James Lowes:

"We were very poor in the first half. Everything about us was poor - slow passes, slow movement, we were soft in defence.

"We just didn't compete at all in that first half. We were at 50% completion rate and we probably had to make double the tackles Castleford did.

"We never gave ourselves a chance so I'm very disappointed with that and the guys understand that we can't have that.

"Second half I thought we were great - we moved quicker, ran harder and our tackling was better.

Sunday's line-ups

Castleford: Dorn, Dixon, Webster, Shenton, Clare, Sneyd, Finn, Jewitt, Clark, Lynch, Holmes, Hauraki, Massey, Ellis.

Replacements: Wheeldon for Jewitt (28), Lynch for Clark (31), Mariano for Lynch (25), Ellis for Holmes (31), Clark for Ellis (56).

Substitutes: Channing.

Bradford: Kearney, George, Henry, Arundel, Williams, Gaskell, Gale, Manuokafoa, O'Brien, Sidlow, Ferguson, Pitts, Donaldson.

Replacements: Fakir for Manuokafoa (21), Addy for Sidlow (25), Manuokafoa for Donaldson (21).

Substitutes: Blythe, Olbison.

Att: 7,428

Ref: George Stokes (RFL).