Castleford Tigers 20 Salford Red Devils 18 Match Report
For not the first time this season, Salford’s U19s College Academy side came within a whisker of victory in a contest so evenly matched that it became one long arm-wrestle from start to finish, with each sides having their periods of ascendency, and the hosts eventually taking the spoils by a mere two point advantage.
That appeared most unlikely in the early stages, with Castleford opening up a six-point advantage within the first three minutes, as a consequence of enjoying an abundance of possession within close proximity to the visitors’ line. An end-of-set kick was allowed to bounce and ricocheted to the benefit of the advancing Cas attackers.
Indeed, the Red Devils were somewhat fortunate, a few minutes later, when another end-of-set kick was not regathered and Castleford regained possession to work an overlap on their left flank, only for the final pass to be ruled forward.
Gradually the Salford side forced themselves into the game, and with rather more possession were able to build some attacks of their own, gaining some reward with their first try, on 16 mins. Second rower, Jimmy Shields, hit a good line, and although tackled just short of the line, was able to maintain his forward momentum, rolling over sideways to place the ball firmly over the line, while Charlie Glover brought the scores level with a successful conversion.
There was no gainsaying, however, that the home side had the better of the first half exchanges, with their then going over for two further, unconverted tries, to take the score to 14-6.
There seems to be no writing off of this U19s Salford side, however, and three minutes from half time, after a period of some prolonged pressure of their own, twice denying the Tigers further tries, with, first, a tremendous gang-tackle on the Cas right winger, who at one stage had looked a certain scorer, whilst sufficient numbers were available to prevent another potential scorer from grounding the ball, having crossed the line.
On the back of this, three minutes before half time, a prolonged period of possession brought further reward when prop, Lucas Isles, was unstoppable as he charged towards the line. giving Glover the easiest of conversions to bring the half-time score to 14-12.
The decisive score of the second half, came on 46 mins, from yet another Castleford attacking kick, which eluded the defending players and the resultant try and goal put the hosts two scores back in front.
If the first half had belonged to the home side, it was the Red Devils who dominated the remainder of the second half, as they sought to get back in touch with their hosts, and it was a sucker punch from half back, Sean Murray, who scooted over from a play-the-ball fifteen metres out. Glover retained his hundred percent record with the hardest of his three attempts, to narrow the gap, once more.
With thirteen minutes left on the clock, there was still ample time for them to have scored again, and they did also have sufficient possession with which to do so, but the closest they came was when winger, Myles Paul was held up over the line in the left-hand corner.
After so many away games to start the season, the players can look forward to a home fixture, on Wednesday evening when they entertain Barrow, at Salford Roosters ground, KO 6.15pm