Super League: Castleford Tigers 22-26 Hull Kingston Rovers

Ben Crooks
Ben Crooks scored twice against his old club and almost ran in a hat-trick
Betfred Super League
Castleford (20) 22
Tries: Clare, Shenton, Olpherts Goals: Richardson 5
Hull KR (12) 26
Tries: Crooks 2, Parcell, Hall, Abdull Goals: Abdull 3

Hull KR spoilt the homecoming return of fans with a last-gasp win over Castleford Tigers in front of a raucous crowd at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle.

Cas had a narrow 20-12 lead at the break as James Clare, Michael Shenton and Derrell Olpherts scored, with Ben Crooks and Matt Parcell replying.

However, Rovers reduced the arrears with tries from Ryan Hall and Crooks, and the game remained in the balance.

Jordan Abdull came up with the crucial play late on to secure a precious win.

This atmospheric old ground was the last to hold a crowd back in March 2020 when champions St Helens were beaten by an in-form Tigers just before the country went into the first coronavirus lockdown.

Even with just 3,600 inside there was a spine-tingling buzz, with every tackle, hit-up and try greeted with real enthusiasm, and initially it looked like a positive influence for Cas.

They burst into life with two tries down the left side created by Niall Evalds teeing up Clare and Shenton, while Olpherts was released on the right by more crisp hands.

But Rovers, inspired by Abdull's ball-playing and creativity, fashioned their own tries and Crooks twice profited from the soft hands of Brad Takairangi down the right.

It was a slightly subdued crowd the more the game wore on and the more the lead was whittled away, and Abdull's late try was a hammer blow after the optimism of being back in the ground for the Tigers' faithful.

Castleford boss Daryl Powell:

"Quite a lot of the players need to take a long hard look at themselves, because they are not going to be successful playing like that so we need to step up.

"We were eight points in front at half-time and we came out and played so far away from a team that has got any control about it that it's untrue.

"We did some ridiculous things at times that players at this level really shouldn't do. There needs to be an honest discussion and then we have to move on. It's a short turnaround to our next game and we need to be a lot better than that.

"It's great to have an atmosphere in but we just didn't do the fans justice. They have gone home disappointed and that's the last thing we wanted."

Hull KR boss Tony Smith:

"I thought they dominated us physically in the first half - they were just way too quick for us and we gave away too many penalties.

"So we weren't on the front foot but having said that we still felt confident of bringing it home and I thought we were very good in the second half.

"We certainly need to improve in a few areas - some of our defending wasn't good enough again but it doesn't mean we roll over and get our belly scratched - we dig in and we keep on fighting.

"I thought Jordan was outstanding. He was a huge influence on the match all the way through. I had no doubts in the those last few minutes that we could win the match because I could just see the determination in him to go and get the job done."

Castleford: Evalds; Olpherts, Mata'utia, Shenton, Clare; Trueman, Richardson; Massey, Milner, Griffin, Holmes, Turner, Martin.

Interchanges: McShane, Sene-Lefao, Smith, Peachey

Hull KR: Quinlan; Crooks, Takairangi, Kenny-Dowall, Hall; Milnes, Abdull; Lawler, Parcell, King, Linnett, Johnson, Hadley.

Interchanges: Sims, Litten, Storton, Maher

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