Catalan Dragons kept their playoff hopes alive as Castleford succumbed to yet another home defeat.
Although Castleford rallied late on, the skill of the Catalan halfbacks and the physicality of their pack ensured the French side’s victory.
Castleford scored back-to-back tries to open the scoring. Repeat sets resulting from a failed charge down attempt by the Catalans put Castleford into a strong attacking position. Stephen Bell did not deal with a huge Rangi Chase bomb, and Brett Ferres was able to drop on the ball to score.
Castleford’s second came on the back of a penalty. A clever switch play by Chase and Ryan McGoldrick and a good use of dummy runners put Richard Owen through a gap down the left side as he beat the fullback to score.
Shortly afterwards Castleford could have gone further ahead. Bell yet again failed to deal with a Chase bomb, but fortuitously for the French side Clint Greenshields was able to save him embarrassment.
After a poor start, Catalans began to settle into the game. Their defence stabilised, their big, if undisciplined, pack started forcing Castleford errors and they began earning better field position and possession. Thomas Bosc fired out a huge cut out ball to Jean-Philippe Baille, who bumped Kirk Dixon off and offloaded for Dimitri Pelo to dive over in the corner.
Castleford began to lose their composure. Boyle was caught with the ball on the last tackle, and Casey McGuire, Adam Mogg and Bosc combined to put in Baille to level the scores. Both sides sought to take advantage of their opponents having a forward out of position in the right centre position.
A brilliant offload by Joe Westerman nearly put Owen over in the corner just before the break. Catalans themselves could have scored if it hadn’t been for a Pelo knock-on on the last play of the half.
Persistent Catalan errors and penalties after half time allowed Castleford to take a 14-10 lead with two penalties from Westerman. Castleford took advantage of Bell’s unconvincing way of dealing with kicks. Michael Shenton had a try correctly disallowed for a knock-on after he chased a grubber in the corner.
However, Catalans were able to recover after their bad start to the half. A Bosc chip kick allowed Greenshields to soar majestically over the full back to score by the sticks. Catalans took the lead for the first time in the game when Bosc converted.
After a voluntary tackle by Chase whilst deep in the Catalans half, Catalans took full advantage with a Dane Carlaw try. Bosc and Mogg combined to put Carlaw in from twenty out as he scythed through the Castleford defence and bumped the fullback off.
McGoldrick, Chase, Dean Widders combined in a flowing move that put the impressive Owen in for his second down the right flank. With the successful touchline conversion Castleford were just two points behind going into the dying minutes of the game. However, despite relentless pressure on the Catalan line, Castleford were not able to break it and they continued their drop down the Super League table.