Despite a late comeback attempt Hull FC couldn’t overturn a twenty-four-point deficit as they lost their opening super-eights game at home to Castleford.
The league leaders couldn’t take advantage of Warrington’s loss last night and extend their lead at the top of the table even with Steve Michaels, Danny Washbrook and Jamie Shaul all scoring in the final twenty minutes.
Castleford had ran into a 24-0 lead inside the first hour with Greg Minikin, Ryan Hampshire, Luke Gale and Luke Dorn all scoring inside the first half before Hampshire added a second in the second forty. Adam Milner scored with the last play of the game to seal a tenacious Tigers performance.
Hull came into the game on the back of last weekend’s Challenge Cup triumph over Wigan which sealed their place at Wembley at the end of the month but it looked to have taken a lot out of the league leaders. As for Castleford they didn’t play last weekend and have now moved within seven points of 4th placed St Helens.
Super League’s top try-scorer Denny Solomona played a crucial role in the opening try not once but twice. First Solomona made an eighty-metre break to put the Tigers in a dangerous position before a few tackles later he managed to get an offload away finding Minikin who dived over in the corner.
Castleford continued to dominant play and scored two tries in quick succession either side of the twenty minute mark. Some fantastic fast flowing hands out wide eventually found Hampshire who stepped inside from the wing to score.
Again Cas showed their creativity in attack by flinging the ball out wide before Hampshire come inside and the ball was shifted back across the field. Minikin ended up with possession before somehow wriggling an arm free and offloading to Gale who scooped the ball up yards from the Hull line before crossing with ease.
Hull looked to have finally gotten on the scoresheet when Sika Manu scored however the try was disallowed as Carlos Tuimavave was offside from the original kick. Unfortunately for FC Castleford went down the other hand and extended their lead when Dorn capitalised on some quick hands out which allowed him to step through Hulls line. Gale’s conversion gave Castleford a twenty-point lead going into half time.
Daryl Powell’s side control of the game carried over into the second half as Hampshire grabbed his second of the game. Rangi Chase attacked the line and managed to force his way through the tackle despite being on his knees and offloaded to Hampshire who went over in the corner.
Hull did eventually score and it took sixty-two minutes before Michaels got over in the corner. Solomona had to commit to centre Kirk Yeaman who flicked the ball wide to Michaels had an open run to the line.
Washbrook was next to score as FC attempted to mount a comeback on the back of a Danny Houghton forty-twenty. The second-rower hit the ball at speed and sliced through the Castleford defence from ten yards out. Frank Pritchard followed suit and bust through the Tigers defence and flicked the ball out to Shaul who raced away from the chasing Castleford defenders and scored under the posts. Sneyd converted both tries.
However it wasn’t to be for Lee Radford’s side as they couldn’t create another try-scoring opportunity and Milner would scoot over for the visitors to wrap up an important win for Castleford.
Hull travel to Widnes next weekend whilst Castleford host Wigan.
Hull: Shaul, Michaels, Tuimavave, Yeaman, Naughton; Abdull, Sneyd; Taylor, Houghton, Bowden, Manu, Pritchard, Ellis.
Interchanges: Minichiello, Green, Thompson, Washbrook.
Castleford: Dorn, Hampshire, Crooks, Minikin, Solomona; Chase, Gale; Springer, Milner, Patrick, Holmes, Savelio, Moors.
Interchanges: Jewitt, McShane, Cook, Millington.
Referee: J. Smith.