TEAMLIST TUESDAY | Possibly the last ever - and it's the GRAND FINAL edition!
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A classy display from Castleford heaped more pressure on Wigan as Ian Millward?s Warriors were soundly beaten 38-18 at the Jungle.
It had all looked so rosy for the cherry and whites as they raced into a 12-0 lead thanks to a brace from captain Sean O?Loughlin, both neatly crafted by stand-off Danny Orr on his old stomping ground.
However, four tries in less than 20 minutes after half-time saw the Tigers establish themselves in an unassailable position, and leave the Warriors with just one win on the board and a daunting trip to Bradford next weekend.
Wigan got off to the best possible start and it was former Tigers skipper Orr whose creativity opened up the home defence on two occasions.
First his clever kick forward was snapped up by O?Loughlin to touch down under the posts, and then he jinked through and off-loaded again to O?Loughlin for try number two.
Goals from Orr and substitute Danny Tickle made the score 12-0 to the visitors as the home side struggled to get anything going in the opening quarter.
They increasingly got a foothold in the game on the back of impressive go-forward from props Danny Sculthorpe - on loan from Wigan - and Danny Nutley, with Danny Ward coming off the bench to provide more bulk.
And the Tigers pulled a try back after 23 minutes, although it came via a mistake from Wigan full-back Chris Ashton.
The youngster took the ball up well but threw a silly pass inside without looking which evaded his colleagues and fell into the hands of Waine Pryce, who scooted 50 yards to score, with Andy Kain converting.
Four minutes later Mick Higham threw another silly pass inside his own half which fell to Richard Fletcher, but he was hauled down a yard shy.
Wigan nearly extended their advantage on the half hour when Ashton burst through down the left and went for the corner, only for Michael Platt to put him in touch eight yards short.
The Tigers had a couple of tries disallowed for offside in the final few minutes of the half as Wigan held on to the interval, but the home side levelled the scores three minutes after the restart.
Platt took the ball from a scrum 10 yards out, and walked through some poor defence from Dennis Moran to score, with Kain?s second goal tying the scores at 12-12.
And the roof was nearly blown off the Jungle on 53 minutes when Wigan were unable to get a kick away on the sixth tackle because of super pressure from the chasing defence.
O?Loughlin slipped a risky pass to Orr, who was caught in possession and he was forced to throw the ball to ground, with Paul Handforth picking up to score under the posts.
Three minutes later Castleford were in again when Ashton dropped the ball on his own line under no pressure, and Richard Fa?aoso crashed over from the scrum, Kain converting both for a 24-12 advantage.
Kain crossed again on the hour for his side?s fifth try, gliding through yet more non-existent defence, this time from Fletcher, to extend the lead to a commanding 16 points.
Wigan were denied a response on 64 minutes when O?Loughlin?s kick eventually found Brett Dallas to cross in the corner only for the referee to rule a knock on in the build-up, and Kain immediately stretched the lead to 30-12 with a penalty given against the Warriors for failing to play the ball correctly.
Moran?s kick was collected by Pat Richards to score in the corner with just eight minutes left, with Tickle?s super touchline goal reducing the gap to 12.
But Pryce crossed again in the closing stages, with Kain?s conversion and a last-minute penalty from Handforth rubbing salt in the Warriors? wounds.
Castleford: Platt, Pryce, Shenton, Bird, Viane, McGoldrick, Kain, Sculthorpe, Henderson, Nutley, Fa'aoso, Whitaker, Fletcher. Replacements: Handforth, Dyer, Manu, Ward.
Wigan: Ashton, Calderwood, Richards, Brown, Dallas, Orr, Moran, Logan, Higham, Hargreaves, Hansen, Prescott, O'Loughlin. Replacements: Fletcher, Godwin, Seu Seu, Tickle.
Castleford: (6) 38. Tries: Pryce 2, Platt, Handforth, Fa'aoso, Kain. Goals: Kain 6, Handforth.
Wigan: (12) 18. Tries: O'Loughlin 2, Richards. Goals: Orr, Tickle 2.
Referee: P Bentham (Warrington)