ESL Roundup

Castleford edged closer to relegation for the first time in their history after a painful 24-22 loss to Salford in English rugby league action over the weekend.

Only a miracle in the shape of wins in their last two matches will save them from the drop after this defeat at home to their relegation rivals.

Tigers winger Paul Mellor scored the opening two tries of a ferocious encounter at the The Jungle and later completed a hat-trick but Salford rallied in the second half to claim the crucial two points.

Castleford, who have lost all bar five of their 26 matches this season, are now four points adrift of next weekend's opponents Widnes.

Reigning champions Bradford Bulls moved ahead of Hull into second place with a 60-18 hammering of London Broncos at Odsal.

The Broncos, who went into the game still not sure of avoiding relegation, had no real answer to the pace and power of the Bulls but are now safe after Castleford's defeat.

New Zealand centre Shontayne Hape led the try-scoring with a hat-trick and there were two tries each for forwards Logan Swann and Rob Parker, while scrum-half Paul Deacon added the polish to an impressive display with an immaculate 10-out-of-10 goal-kicking return.

St Helens inflicted a third defeat this season on Warrington as Jason Hooper's last-gasp try handed them a narrow 26-24 victory.

Then Paul Sculthorpe sunk his old club by landing the conversion to give his side the points and keep alive Saints' hopes of a top-four finish.

But it was agony for Warrington, who scored six tries to four but missed five of their seven goal attempts.

Survival hopefuls Widnes found top-six chasing Wakefield too hot to handle as they crashed to a 40-6 defeat.

Wakefield turned up the heat once again after the break to notch seven impressive tries in total, which kept the Vikings very much in the relegation dogfight while securing the Wildcats' seventh straight home win which virtually sealed their place in this year's play-offs.

Five unanswered tries after the break tore the heart out of Widnes who, to their credit, did finish the game attacking the home line.