Rugby league is a cruel sport at times, and Castleford will feel slightly dejected after seeing their superb efforts ended with a penalty from Leeds Rhinos‘ Kevin Sinfield with just three seconds remaining on the clock.
Terry Matterson’s men had recovered from an early 16-0 deficit to claw their way back to 22-16 and when Michael Shenton scored, the Tigers looked to have held the advantage.
However, Leeds – picking up their first win at The Jungle since 2004 – fought back and with just a few seconds minute, referee Ian Smith awarded an invaluable penalty after Shenton was caught offside scooping up Brent Sherwin‘s fumble.
The Tigers had opened the game brightly in torrid conditions, with thunder, lightning and torrential rain hampering play.
But the Tigers made several errors in their first half performance with points often coming successively after.
But Castleford started to form some sort of renaissance after Hall gifted Stuart Jones a try, and that was soon added to minutes later when Rangi Chase‘s kick was pounced on by Kirk Dixon, grounding the ball just before the in-goal line.
And they drew level with Chase’s effort shortly after half-time, the New Zealander showing a superb dummy and run to scythe his way through some weak Leeds defence.
But McGuire restored the Rhinos’ lead when his kick rebounded off Sione Faumuina‘s boot and back into his arms for a somewhat fortuitous score.
Castleford pushed the visitors all the way and had several sets of six on their opposition line, but failed to break through.
But the pressure finally told when Michael Shenton made light work of a mistake from Brent Webb after Brent Sherwin‘s high bomb was fumbled by the talented full-back and the youngster – celebrating his England call-up – was on hand to score.
But Shenton’s elation was soon turned sour as with just a minute remaining on the clock, Leeds attempted to drag the ball down field in a vague attempt of getting a drop-goal following Sherwin’s failed effort earlier.
Leeds’ kick was fielded by Sherwin only to see it squeeze out his grasp in the soggy conditions, and with Danny McGuire chasing eagerly to try and grab his hat-trick, Shenton had no choice but to pick up the ball from an offside position, giving away a penalty. Sinfield duly converted, and Leeds picked up a massive victory in their quest for Super League success.