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Golden point so precious for Rovers
Hull KR 27 – 26 Castleford Tigers (Sunday, August 4)
By Ian Judson
Hull Kingston Rovers secured a precious two Super League points in thrilling fashion, with a Danny McGuire drop goal in extra time ensuring an outstanding come-back win against play-off contenders Castleford Tigers at KCOM Craven Park.
Rovers fought back from a 12 point deficit in the second half to register what could prove to be a priceless win in their relegation scrap.
Rovers coach Tony Smith brought Ryan Shaw back into his starting line-up for the visit of Castleford Tigers for this crucial game.
Former Hull FC duo Dean Hadley and Jez Litten began on the bench, with Chris Atkin chosen at hooker ahead of Litten.
Castleford were without talismanic hooker Paul McShane, coach Daryl Powell placed Adam Milner back into his old position, while Peter Mata’utia moved into the halves, with former Hull FC player Jordan Rankin starting at fullback.
An early penalty gave the visitors chance to set up a position in Rovers’ half, but a very organised defence held them at bay as Adam Quinlan swept round to catch a close grubber kick.
Rovers soon had their first chance from a seven tackle set after a poor kick by Chase Blair, with the resulting set ending with former Robin Greg Eden conceding a goal-line drop-out from a high kick by Josh Drinkwater.
A barnstorming run by Mose Masoe set up another promising position, but a silly penalty for obstruction stopped the Robins in their tracks.
The breathless start continued as Quinlan dealt with a teasing bomb under pressure from Jordan Rankin; then a penalty gave Rovers more territory.
From the chance a teasing kick by Drinkwater was fatally missed by several Tigers defenders and loan player Daniel Murray pounced to give them a deserved lead; Ryan Shaw added the extras.
From the restart, a clean break from Ben Crooks set up a delightful position and a deft grubber by Danny McGuire was touched down by Adam Quinlan; Shaw again added the conversion. However, a knock-on by Masoe 20 metres from his own line then presented Castleford with an attacking scrum.
From the chance, a final tackle kick by Mata’utia was chased by the stand-in half back and he successfully dotted down to get Castleford back in the game, and he then converted his own try.
The game then settled down into more of an arm wrestle, as both sides traded sets, until a controversial penalty went the way of the Tigers for an apparent ball-steal.
However, from their fortuitous position, Mike McMeeken appeared to have time and space, but a stoic Rovers defence dragged him down and the back-rower knocked-on.
A clean break by Craig Hall moved Rovers into the Tigers half and from the position a high tackle on Quinlan presented Rovers with a chance for two more points. Shaw duly obliged from 25 metres out.
Another attacking chance for the Tigers saw Trueman take on the Rovers defensive line and with the defence running out of men, Jordan Rankin forced his way over; Mata’utia again added the extras.
Another barn-storming break forward by Castleford saw them turn the game on its head. With the position set up by Chase Blair, a high kick by Jake Trueman was grabbed by James Clare; Mata’utia added the conversion and a penalty as well for a foul on Clare in the act of scoring.
Despite their double set-back Rovers continued to be industrious and adventurous, with the ball in hand as the half time break approached.
The last act of the first half saw Drinkwater attempt a drop goal from 30-plus metres out, but the half-back was wide with the attempt.
Half Time: Hull KR 14 – 20 Castleford Tigers
The second half started slightly slower than the first half, but Jez Litten was certainly making a big impression on his debut with an excellent deep kick, and a break in midfield in the first five minutes.
A penalty then allowed the Robins to pressure the Tigers line from the 20 metre line and a repeat set then gave them more opportunity.
However, it was the Tigers who drew first blood in the second half after an errant pass went to ground. Mata’utia sccoped up the loose ball and sent Greg Minikin racing away; Mata’utia again added the extras.
The Robins needed points on the board quickly to get back in the game and Litten again sniped at the defensive line close to the posts, but was held up over the line.
A flop on Rankin by Masoe ignited some fisticuffs between both sides, however it all went unpunished as referee Chris Kendall desperately tried to keep control of what was becoming a fiery encounter.
Another stupid penalty given away by Masoe again invited Castleford into the Rovers’ danger zone; however a fortuitous interception brought the attack to an end.
A scrum from 25 metres out from the Rovers line then presented the Robins with a chance, as Chris Atkin showed the Tigers defence a clean pair of heels before putting the supporting Ben Crooks over with 19 minutes remaining. Shaw was on target again from in front of the posts.
Another break from Rovers, this time from Jimmy Keinhorst, set up another promising chance and another Drinkwater kick was gobbled up by Crooks to score his second try in two minutes.
Shaw was on target again, as what had looked a convincing lead for Castleford disappeared.
Backed by a raucous crowd, the Robins were chancing their arm more and more and asking a lot of questions of the Tigers defence., especially when they spread the ball wide.
A kick out on the full by Rankin then presented Rovers with a play the ball inside the Castleford half. However when Danny McGuire received the ball on the last tackle he was agonisingly wide with a drop-goal attempt.
Another break, this time by McGuire, set up another position for Rovers, but this time when the mercurial half-back tried another drop-goal attempt it was charged down by a fast-moving Castleford defence.
A high tackle by Rovers captain Joel Tomkins on former Rovers prop Liam Watts afforded Mata’utia a chance to put Castleford back in front, but he missed the chance putting the kick wide.
The next foray forward by the visitors ended with Watts then dropping the ball in the tackle, giving the Robins a scrum on their own 40 metre line.
Having set-up another position, the ball was thrown back to Drinkwater, but again it sailed wide of the posts.
Next it was the turn of Trueman to have a drop-goal attempt charged down at the other end, before more desperate Rovers defending held them out to force golden point extra time.
A 40/20 from McGuire set up another chance for Rovers, and then the former Leeds Rhinos half-back finally obliged with the winning drop-goal from the position to win an enthralling two points for the Robins.
Hull Kingston Rovers: Adam Quinlan, Ryan Shaw, Ben Crooks, Jimmy Keinhorst, Craig Hall, Josh Drinkwater, Danny McGuire, Mose Masoe, Chris Atkin, Daniel Murray, Joel Tomkins, Weller Hauraki, George Lawler: Interchange: Dean Hadley, Jez Litten, Danny Addy, Robbie Mulhern.
Castleford Tigers: Jordan Rankin, James Clare, Greg Minikin, Chase Blair, Greg Eden, Jake Trueman, Peter Mata’utia, Liam Watts, Adam Milner, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Oliver Holmes, Mike McMeeken, Nathan Massey: Interchange: Grant Millington, Will Maher, Jacques O’Neill, Chris Clarkson
Hull KR: Tries: Daniel Murray (10) Adam Quinlan (12) Ben Crooks (61, 63) Goals: Ryan Shaw 5/5 Danny McGuire Drop Goal
Castleford Tigers: Tries: Peter Mata’utia (16) Jordan Rankin (32) James Clare (35) Greg Minikin (48) Goals: Peter Mata’utia 5/5
Hull KR: 4
Castleford Tigers: 6
Goal Line Drop Outs:
Hull KR: 0
Castleford Tigers: 1
Hull KR: 1 (Danny McGuire)
Castleford Tigers: 0
Man of the Match: Ben Crooks