Castleford Tigers 22 – 26 Hull KR

For the first time since mid-March, the Mend-a-Hose Jungle welcomed a crowd to a game. A lively atmosphere was helped by a try after two minutes. Winger James Clare finished a flowing move that exposed the Robins’ right edge. The last time Castleford hosted a game they beat St. Helens, which happened to be the Saints last defeat across all competitions. In previous meetings between Hull KR and Castleford, it has been a closely fought affair including a 94-minute epic in the Challenge Cup.

A close game looked far from likely when Michael Shenton scored the second try for the hosts, with an almost identical move to the opening score. Danny Richardson won and then scored a penalty to put the Tigers 14-0 ahead just shy of halfway through the first half. In danger of watching the game get away from them, Rovers forged a try after a loose ball reached the hands of Jordan Abdull. Abdull signed a new deal last week and showed his worth with an excellent pass to Takairangi, who found Ben Crooks for a try against his former club. Rovers looked back in contention after Matt Parcell scrambled over the line from close range, Shaun Kenny-Dowall’s offload hit the floor, Parcell dived over. The game was a tight 14-12 as the halftime hooter loomed. Castleford winger Derrell Olpherts shimmied his way past a disjointed Rovers’ defence for the final try of an exciting half. The Tigers lead at halftime 20-14.

 Tony Smith’s men needed a score early second half to keep the game close. Adam Quinlan drew defenders in and flicked the ball wide to Ryan Hall who scored another try yet for the Robins. Crooks got his second try of the game with a sensational acrobatic finish at the corner. By this point in the game, KR was now outscoring Castleford by 4 tries to 3, however, missed conversions meant the game was tied at 20-20. The hosts regained a two-point lead when Danny Richardson converted another penalty. The game stood with a narrow margin for 15 minutes. Jordan Abdull was influential throughout for the Red and White’s and he was the man to score the final points. A wrap-around manoeuvre with Kane Linnett opened some space for the halfback to fend off his opponent with a big paw to the chest. The try in the final two minutes was enough for the win and to spoil Castleford fans return. Head coach Tony Smith had this to say about his matchwinner Jordan Abdull: “I thought Jordan was outstanding. He was a huge influence on the match all the way through. I had no doubts in those last few minutes that we could win the match because I could just see the determination in him to go and get the job done.”

Report by: Simon Bromwich

Castleford Tigers (20) 22
Tries: Clare, Shenton, Olpherts. Goals: Richardson 5.

Hull KR (12) 26
Tries: Crooks 2, Parcell, Hall, Abdull. Goals: Abdull 3.

Published – 18th May 2021