Castleford 28-32 Hull: McNamara stars as Hull win late

Ben McNamara (35) of Hull FC goes over for a try

Teenager Ben McNamara capped a memorable Super League debut with a try as Hull kept alive their slender play-off hopes with a 32-28 victory over Castleford.

The 18-year-old son of former England coach Steve McNamara was drafted in by interim head coach Andy Last as part of a last-minute reshuffle, and got his chance after 16 minutes when Kieran Buchanan was forced off with a head injury.

The young half-back showed some nice touches and, with his side clinging to a four-point lead, crowned an encouraging debut by finishing off a break by Jake Connor on 61 minutes.

That put Hull into a 10-point lead and, although the Tigers struck back with two tries in six minutes through Grant Millington and Michael Shenton, Connor made sure of the win with their fifth try three minutes from the end.

It was a disappointing first game at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle for six months for Castleford, who can no longer realistically claim a top-four finish.

Hull, led by England prop Scott Taylor on his first appearance for six months, made the best possible start, with Connor gathering Marc Sneyd’s kick out wide for winger Cameron Scott to score the opening try after just four minutes.

Sneyd converted from the touchline to make it 6-0 but Castleford struck back with two tries in seven minutes to take the lead.

Second rower Mike McMeeken finished off a break by stand-off Gareth O’Brien and full-back James Clare linked up with his threequarters to get winger Greg Eden speeding over for the Tigers’ second try.

Castleford went on to dominate the rest of the half but lacked composure, and how it hurt them.

Second rower Junior Moors had a try disallowed for a knock-on and centre Cheyse Blair dropped the ball with the line at his mercy.

Having somehow kept their line intact, Hull drew level in bizarre circumstances 10 minutes before half-time.

Referee Tom Grant allowed play to continue as a fight broke out in back play and Hull hooker Jordan Johnstone, sensing an opportunity to score his first try for the club after watching Connor break free, peeled away from the melee and raced upfield to provide the support.

Castleford coach Daryl Powell, who is already in hot water with the Rugby Football League for publicly criticising referees, reacted furiously to the awarding of the try and his mood worsened in the last five minutes as the Black and Whites regained the lead.

Nathan Massey was punished for a high tackle on Johnstone, which enabled Sneyd to kick a penalty, and fellow substitute Matt Cook was then shown a yellow card for a late shot on Joe Cator.

This meant the Tigers trailed 14-12 at the break despite bossing the show and it soon got worse for them.

Johnstone was denied a second try when he was prevented from grounding the ball over the line, but there was no stopping prop Chris Satae when he made a strong charge for the line and Sneyd converted the try for a 20-12 advantage.

Back to 13 men with Cook emerging from the sin bin, Castleford began to put their game together once more.

Sanderson, on his home debut, had a try disallowed for a double movement before prop Grant Millington dumied his way over on 56 minutes to cut the gap to four points.

The highlight came when Connor juggled with the pass from McNamara before regaining possession and raced into space to send the youngster over for his try.

Sneyd kicked his fifth conversion but missed a 50-metre penalty attempt, and the game was back in the balance when McMeeken forced his way over for his second try and skipper Shenton won the race to McShane’s grubber kick.

O’Brien’s fourth goal nudged his side back in front but Hull regained possession from the re-start and Connor raced onto Sneyd’s kick to score the match clincher.

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