Castleford see off valiant Rovers

Castleford kicked off their preseason campaign with a 42-28 victory over local rivals Featherstone Rovers at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Sunday.

The Super League side were 36-0 up at one point but Rovers fought back in the second half to make the final score line more respectable.

Tigers new boys Ben Crooks, Greg Minikin, Joel Monaghan and the impressive Ryan Hampshire all touched down, with the Wigan loanee amassing a personal haul of 18 points.

Mike McMeeken scored twice and sponsors Man of the Match Ash Robson one as Cas ran in seven tries in total.

Crooks got the scoring underway after just five minutes from a McMeeken pass before former Warrington captain Monaghan crossed for his first Tigers try.

Minikin, a close season signing from Championship One side York Knights, was the next debutant to score before Hampshire collected a Will Maher offload for his first four-pointer in Tigers’ colours.

The former Normanton Knight junior then offloaded to McMeeken to score on the hooter and then maintained his 100% record with the boot to put Cas 30-0 up at half time.

Robson, who was playing at full-back, scored the first points of the second half, collecting his own grubber kick to touch down before head coach Daryl Powell made several changes to his team.

Sam Day scored the visitors’ first try of the afternoon just before McMeeken forced his way over and Hampshire succeeded with his seventh conversion attempt to move Cas 42-6 in front with 30 minutes still to play.

The changes to the Tigers halted their momentum and Rovers rallied with four unanswered tries of their own.

Ex-Tiger Anthony Thackeray intercepted a Hampshire pass before racing 70 metres to score before Colton Roche added another try.

Another former Tiger Michael Channing then set up Kyran Johnson to cross for his first try of the game.

Channing was again involved for Johnson’s second as the Tigers began making errors in the heavy, wet conditions.

However that was an end to the scoring and Cas held on to claim the victory, although Powell was less than impressed with his side’s second half performance: “I don’t think we handled the second-half at all,” he told the PontefractandCastleford Express.

“We have learned a few lessons about individual players and about combinations and the team mentality itself.”

The Tigers continue their preseason preparations with a trip to York City Knights on January 22nd while Rovers take on amateur side Featherstone Lions on January 3rd.

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