Castleford Tigers come from behind at Warrington to keep play-off hopes alive
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Victory looked unlikely when Lee Radford’s men trailed 12-0 to the side coached by their former boss, Daryl Powell.
But a storming comeback saw the Tigers go level in the second half then they nudged ahead with a Danny Richardson drop-goal and Darrell Olpherts’ try in the corner followed by Richardson’s superb touchline conversion effectively clinched the game even if the Wolves did manage a late converted try of their own to make the final score 19-18.
With Leeds winning the previous night and Salford beating Hull it was vital that Cas also won if they were to keep their play-offs dream alive. But they did not get off to the start they desired as Matt Dufty went over for the opening try for the hosts following Josh Thewlis’ break.
Stefan Ratchford then weaved his way through and when he added the goal it was 12-0.
That was how it stayed until the second half with Greg Eden going closest to scoring for the visitors as he caught a kick through and ran the length of the field only to be brought down by Dufty inches from the line.
Cas gave themselves a lifeline after the break, however, as Richardson’s clever, well judged grubber kick was followed up by Jake Mamo to score.
Richardson added the conversion and was a key figure again when his excellent pass sent Olpherts over for another try that was well converted to level the scores.
More pressure was rewarded when the inspiring Richardson landed a drop-goal from close range to nudge the Tigers a point ahead.
A further scored followed as Richardson and Mamo combined well to send winger Olpherts in for his second try of the night.
Another superb kick by Richardson made it 19-12 and it seemed Cas were now fully in control.
There was time for a couple more twists, however, with former Tiger Peter Mata’utia following up his own kick to score with six minutes. Ratchford converted and the lead was was back to one point.
With only seconds left Warrington looked to send the game into overtime, but George Williams missed a drop-goal attempt and the Tigers were able to celebrate their crucial win.
Warrington: Dufty; Minikin, Mata'utia, Wardle, Thewlis; Ratchford, Williams; Mulhern, D Clark, Bullock, Holmes, Harrison, J Clark. Subs: Currie, Walker, Mikaele, Thomas.
Castleford: Eden; Faraimo, Sutcliffe, Fonua, Olpherts; O'Brien, Richardson; Massey, McShane, Griffin, Edwards, Mellor, Westerman. Subs: Mamo, Lawler, Watts, Martin.
Referee: Chris Kendall.