Castleford 40-20 Wakefield

Castleford Tigers started the new Super League season with a comfortable 40-20 victory but were made to work hard for it by a dogged Wakefield Trinity Wildcats side.

The Wildcats, who have spent most of the off-season worrying about their future after facing another winding-up petition from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, proved to be stubborn opponents even in the face of adversity.

It was looking like it was going to be a long afternoon when Joe Arundel opened the scoring for the Tigers in the seventh minute. Rangi Chase and Richie Mathers combined to create space for the Castleford academy product, who will have the hard job of filling the boots of England international Michael Shenton.

Cas had the chance to extend their lead further but Mathers could not keep hold of the ball and the Wildcats made them pay a few minutes later.

After winning two successive penalties, Julien Rinaldi showed great positional awareness to step from dummy-half and dive over from short range.

Referee James Child had a busy afternoon with whistle making the game a very stop-start affair and resulting in the early sin-binning of Castleford’s Joe Arundel.

It was from two further penalties that Dale Ferguson crashed over, escaping from the clutches of Craig Huby to push John Kear’s men in front for the first time in the game.

But the Tigers hit-back straight away, a superb Chase offload finding Brett Ferres to beat the attention of two Wildcats players to put the ball down. Dixon missed the conversion again.

And Terry Matterson’s men put themselves in the ascendancy with new recruit Nick Youngquest and Dean Widders crossing to put the Tigers in at half-time 18-10, whilst Wakefield were also reduced to twelve men, Sam Obst also sent to the sin-bin for continual discretions.

Chase again demonstrated his class, dummying several times before firing a superb lobbed ball to put Nick Youngquest in at the corner and Widders showed opportunism to ensure Cas had a cushion at the break, Dixon kicking one of them for his first goal of the afternoon.

Wakefield’s task got much harder when Chase intercepted a wayward pass to score under the posts and it could have been worse had Kirk Dixon’s effort not been chalked off by video referee Steve Ganson.

Youngster Adam Milner, who captained the England Academy side in their whitewashing of Australia last year, soon made up for it, though, making a horizontal run and bursting through the defensive line to extend the lead to 28-10.

Ferguson grabbed his second of the afternoon to stem the tide and give Wakefield a brief glimmer of hope and they were back in the tie once more when Luke George scored a fine solo effort from his own half, making the score 28-20.

But the Tigers ensured victory with Paul Jackson and Widders’ second try of the game scoring to give Castleford a 40-20 victory.

Castleford: Mathers; Youngquest, Arundel, Ferres, Dixon; Chase, Orr; Huby, Hudson, Emmit, Jones, Holmes, Snitch. Subs: Widders, Walker, Milner, Jackson

Wakefield: Blaymire; Veivers, Dean, Murphy, George; Hyde, Obst; Korkidas, Rinaldi, King, Morrison, Ferguson, Lee. Subs: Millard, Henderson, King, Spiers.

Referee: James Child

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