Castleford book their place in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals after a strong fightback
Last Updated: 09/04/21 8:55pm
Castleford needed 99 minutes to see off Hull KR and book their place in the last eight of the Betfred Challenge Cup with a dramatic 33-32 Golden Point victory at Craven Park.
Gareth O’Brien, whose long-range drop goal on the same ground helped Salford to a dramatic victory in the Million Pound Game of 2016, was the Tigers hero after he and his team-mates had missed no fewer than eight kicks between them in extra time.
Rovers also had two failed drop-goal attempts after the game had ended 32-32 at the end of 80 minutes.
Hull KR, playing their first competitive fixture at Craven Park for over a year, will be kicking themselves after letting slip leads of 22-6 and 32-18.
Despite starting their Super League campaign with back-to-back defeats, Rovers looked full of energy from the kick-off and, after former Castleford second rower Luis Johnson had been held up over the line, they created an overlap for full-back Adam Quinlan to get winger Ethan Ryan over for the opening try.
As Castleford gradually began to work their way into the contest, hooker Paul McShane broke through in the middle but Rovers scrambled to good effect and, when captain Michael Shenton eventually got over the line, he was brought back for a forward pass.
Hull KR could not relieve the pressure, however, and Jacob Trueman punished some weak defence on 22 minutes to level the scores and Danny Richardson converted his try to put the visitors in front.
The lead lasted only five minutes, though, as Rovers hit their straps with three tries in eight minutes to seize control of the game.
Replacement Jez Litten’s break created an opening for Quinlan while prop Albert Vete used his considerable bulk to crash over from short range for his first try for the club and impressive hooker Matt Parcel stretched out from dummy half to plant the ball on the line.
Jordan Abdull and Mikey Lewis converted all three tries between them to open up a 22-6 lead and leave Castleford shell-shocked at the interval.
Coach Daryl Powell’s pep talk appeared to do the trick, though, as the visitors struck back with two tries in five minutes early in the second half.
Left winger Jordan Turner was held up on his back and then brought back for a forward pass before Richardson’s cut-out pass enabled right winger Derrell Olpherts to cross in the corner and McShane re-gathered the ball from his own grubber kick to score an opportunist try.
Richardson added both conversions to cut the gap to just four points but Rovers captain Shaun Kenny-Dowall put his stamp on the game, using his strength to take two defenders over the line for a try before breaking clear to get Abdull over.
At 32-18, the game looked over as a contest but the Tigers had other ideas.
Olpherts found more space out on the right flank to grab his second try and McShane also doubled his tally for the match by forcing his way over from close range.
Richardson kicked his fourth goal and McShane was held up over the line before carving out an opening for Turner to go over after the final hooter to tie the scores.
Richardson had a chance to win it but he was wide with the conversion attempt to send the game into extra time.
O’Brien had the first opportunity to break the deadlock but his 40-metre kick fell short of the target.
Richardson missed two attempted one-pointers and Abdull was also wide of the target before O’Brien’s second effort was charged down as the stalemate continued to the end of the extra five minutes each way.
When the game was re-started after 90 minutes, Richardson, O’Brien and Trueman all saw further attempts miss the target and Richardson had one charged down until O’Brien finally found the mark.