Castleford 56-16 Crusaders

Castleford moved back up the Super League table to second after defeating a bare boned Crusaders side.

The Tigers won comfortably in the end, but they were made to work hard in the first half to pull ahead and crucify Iestyn Harris’ men.

Kirk Dixon opened the scoring six minutes into the game after Jason Chan dropped the ball in his own half to set up a Castleford scrum. Dixon converted his own try to give the Tigers the perfect start, and what should have been a sign of things to come early on.

But as the game was coming to the 20 minute mark all hell broke loose in the Castleford half of the field. Richie Mathers collected Michael Witt’s high ball, but was abruptly tackled with one leg still in the air. Mathers took exception to the tackle and this resulted in players running in from both sides, both with intentions to start fighting and to break it up.

Referee Ben Thaler took action after consulting with his touch judges. Vince Mellars and Michael Witt were sin binned for getting involves, while Nick Youngquest was also given a ten minute break for running into the scuffle.

With Crusaders down to 11 men, it still took them nine minutes to take advantage. Daryl Clarke burrowed his way over from dummy half and grounded the ball next to the right hand post. Dixon was easily able to convert the try and Castleford were beginning to look like the side that took them to the top of the league earlier in the season.

Clinton Schifcofske was also sin binned later five minutes later, in one of the most bizarre incidents seen in Super League.

After Castleford were awarded a penalty, the ball was kicked into touch for the restart. As the dead ball ricocheted back into the field of play, Schifcofske deliberately kicked it twenty metres towards the direction of the restart therefore halting the game.

Ben Thaler didn’t see the funny side, and gave the full back time to think about that he did in the dug out.

After that it was all one way traffic for the Tigers. Dixon claimed his second try of the match in similar fashion to how he scored the first, but failed with the conversion attempt.

Five minutes later Dean Widders charged over for his third try of the season which, after Dixon converted, put Castleford 22 points ahead at half time.

It took Castleford only nine minutes to stretch their lead in the second half. Clarke also scored his second try of the game after a breakaway effort from Nick Youngquest.

Youngquest made the break on the far touchline, only to find himself one on one with the fullback but with Clarke in support.

Brett Ferris stretched the Tigers’ lead further, before Willie Isa scored his first try in the black and amber after supporting Danny Orr on the inside to shoot through the Crusaders’ defence.

Richie Mathers also broke his Tigers scoring duck finding a gap out of nowhere to score close to the sticks.

But with 15 minutes left to play Crusaders finally added a touch of respect to the scoreboard. Stuart Reardon dove in at the far corner to make the scores 44-4, and five minutes later Tony Martin waltzed through a lacklustre Casteford defensive effort.

But before any thoughts of a miracle comeback were planted into the minds of the Welsh supporting faithful, Nick Youngquest collected a pass on the wing to cross in the corner less than five minutes after.

Vince Mellars narrowed the gap slightly by scoring with three minutes left to play, but his try was made void when Joe Arundel closed the scoring just before the final siren to make the score 56-16 in favour of the home side.

Castleford: Mathers, Dixon, Arundel, Isa, Youngquest, Chase, Orr, Fozzard, Milner, Huby, Jones, Aspinwall, Ferres. Subs: Jackson, Emmitt, Widders, Clarke.

Crusaders: Schifcofske, Reardon, Martin, Mellars, Tansey, Witt, Sammut, O’Hara, Withers, Bryant, Thomas, Chan, Moore. Subs: Dudson, White, Flower, Murphy.

Castleford tries: Dixon (2), Clarke (2), Widders, Ferris, Isa, Mathers, Youngquest, Arundel.
Goals: Dixon (8)

Crusaders tries: Reardon, Martin, Vellars.
Goals: Schifcofske (2)

Castleford sin bin: Youngquest

Crusaders sin bin: Mellars, Witt, Schifcofske.

Referee: Ben Thaler

Attendance: 6,030

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