Castleford Tigers' big fightback falls just short in opener at Hull
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Roared on by a 15,383 crowd, Hull charged into a 26-6 half-time lead and increased their advantage with the first try after the break, but Lee Radford’s men showed tremendous spirit in making a real fight of it as they did not concede in the last half-hour and came within a whisker of an amazing win after scoring four second half tries.
Radford was not happy with the way his team defended at times in the first half, however, as a pumped up Hull side including four new recruits were allowed to dominate.
Right from the first set the Tigers looked to be up against it as Jake Clifford forced a drop-out. Brad Dwyer was then held up as the hosts came close to a quick opening score..
Jake Mamo, playing on the wing for Cas, briefly threatened to respond as he raced away down the left flank, but the move ended when Mahe Fonua knocked on and other than that it was all Hull in the early stages.
They opened the scoring in the eighth minute when Tex Hoy's long pass gave Darnell McIntosh a walk-in try.
A minute later Hull were in again as a Dwyer break was backed up by his former Leeds Rhinos teammate Liam Sutcliffe who scored.
A third try followed as a Cas pass went astray and a counter attack was not much better executed, but after a fortunate bounce McIntosh controlled the ball with his feet before gathering to touch down in the corner.
The Tigers briefly hit back when Niall Evalds’ pass sent Bureta Faraimo over.
Their next attack looked set to bring further dividends, but Paul McShane’s kick could not be gathered by Kenny Edwards after the ball took a cruel bounce.
The revival was ended with three back to back penalties awarded to the home team and they stretched their lead again from a scrum with Adam Swift unmarked on the wing to score.
A similar move brought another Hull score as Swift went over again to make it 26-6 at the interval.
The one-way traffic initially continued in the second half with Kane Evans' offload sending Joe Cator racing clear. A kick from McIntosh then bounced off Mamo into the hands of Houghton who produced a strong finish for another home try.
Remarkably that was to be the last Hull score as the Tigers slowly but surely turned the tide.
First, Edwards charged over from Gareth Widdop’s pass then Jacob Miller backed up Mamo’s break to mark his Cas debut with a try. Both efforts were converted by Widdop and suddenly there was a glimmer of hope.
That became real hope of a comeback when Faraimo took advantage of a handling error by Hoy to score his second try and Widdop added his fourth conversion to leave the visitors eight points behind with 11 minutes remaining.
Cas were over again five minutes from time as Mamo came up with a great solo effort on the last tackle and with Widdop goaling it was now 32-30.
There was time to turn the comeback into points, but Hull held on in the closing stages to win what turned out to be a classic opening match.
Hull: Hoy; Swift, Sutcliffe, Scott, McIntosh; Clifford, McNamara; Satae, Dwyer, Taylor, Lane, Griffin, Fash. Subs: Houghton, Lovodua, Cator, Evans.
Castleford: Evalds; Faraimo, Fonua, Turner, Mamo; Widdop, Miller; Watts, McShane, Massey, Edwards, Mellor, Westerman. Subs: Lawler, Griffin, Broadbent, Matagi.
Referee: Marcus Griffiths