Tag: Castleford Tigers

U19S MISS OUT IN CAS THRILLER

Castleford 22  Salford Red Devils 20                          Match Report

Journeys over into Yorkshire seldom bring great rewards for Lancashire teams in general, but Salford Red Devils’ College Academy came extremely close to doing so, on Wednesday afternoon, when they travelled over to take on Castleford, in their first away fixture of the season.

The closeness in standard of the two teams is clearly evident from the score, and was equally evident by the way the game swung from one team to the other.  For the Salford players it must have been most heart-breaking to have come so close to victory, having taken a late 20-16 lead, to then fall behind by two points from a converted try, and then finally just failing to add one final try of their own, in the dying stages of the match.

It was approaching ten minutes into the game before the first try was scored by Castleford, to give them a four-point lead, but the Red Devils replied almost immediately with second rower, Jimmy Shields, going over, and Adam Tierney converting to put them in front.

It was proving to be a ding-dong battle as the teams went head-to-head, and next it was Castleford who restored their lead with two tries and one conversion to take the score to 14-6.

That would have been a fairly satisfactory lead for them to have taken in, at half-time, but the visitors had other ideas, and dummy-half, Luke Elliott, crossed to bring the Red Devils back into contention, with Tierney again adding the extras.

It was all to play for, then, in the second half, and it was Salford who dominated much of what proved to be a much tighter contest, opening the scoring with prop forward, Lucas Isles, crossing, near to the posts, but surprisingly, Tierney, who has been so reliable so far this season, was off the mark with his attempted conversion, leaving the scoreline reading 14-16.

Those two points proved to be important, for, when the home side was awarded a penalty close to the Salford line, they went for goal and succeeded in drawing level.  The irrepressible Tierney, however, compensated in full by going over for the Red Devils’ final try, too far out for him to be able to add the goal, and Castleford’s conversion to their final try was enough to deliver them the win.

The Salford players will not have long to wait before getting the opportunity to wreak revenge, however, as the two teams will meet again, next week, in the first round of the Cup, and with the Yorkshiremen once again having home advantage.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: CASTLEFORD V SALFORD (2)

It seemed like a cup-tie, it felt like a cup-tie, and it certainly was as important as any cup-tie, yet when watching Bank Holiday Monday’s final away fixture of the regular season, it was anything but that, for cup-ties are usually tight, closely fought encounters, with both sides overly wary of making mistakes.

There certainly was no evidence of that from the Red Devils as they took on Castleford at the Jungle, in what was effectively a preliminary round, play-off, of their own, with both sides needing to win to be certain of a place in the actual play-offs, which start next week.

Throwing the ball around with a seeming carefree abandon, the Salford players, for around fifty-five minutes, ripped into their hosts, in a manner which absolutely stunned them.  Looking back on the game, the thing that is imprinted on the mind, as it so often has been recently, is the avalanche of tries they scored, and the exceptionally high quality of them, yet there were many other aspects of the performance, without which the victory would have been far more difficult to achieve.

Not least of these were the heroic efforts of Marc Sneyd and Ryan Brierley in chasing back, shortly after the start of the second half to overhaul Olpherts, as he hared down the left wing, after having intercepted a Salford attacking pass.  Delicately balanced as the game was, at that point, how it might have unfolded thereafter, had they not brought his progress to an early finish, thankfully does not need to be considered.

The, at times, valiant defence of the whole team, particularly, but not solely, during the latter stages of the first half, was imperative in retaining their lead into the break.  Tries were thwarted, even on occasions when the would-be scorer had crossed the line, a double dose of which came on the 23rd minute, when first Jack Ormondroyd, Shane Wright and Ryan Brierley, and then from the resultant play-the-ball, with the help of King Vuniyayawa, and Shane Wright again, Andy Ackers managed to get his body under the ball to prevent it from being grounded between the posts.

It was not always a tackle which was required.  Sometimes, just the pressure being put on an opponent by a Salford player racing at him, as he was receiving a pass, was enough to force an error from him.  The inside backs have become most adept at this now, and there were a number of these in evidence yesterday, the most notable being the way Eden was rushed into sending out an over-zealous pass to his left wing, which again deprived Olpherts of this opportunity to open his account.

The immaculate kicking of Sneyd, whether it be from the tee or at the end of sets, is something we now take for granted, just as we do with the energy put into the chases by his teammates.  Life is so much easier for the Red Devils, who usually progress at six points at a time, whereas other teams have to be content with a larger proportion of four points only.

It was good to see his slotting over a couple of early penalties in each half, firstly to give the Reds an early lead, and then later to kick-start the acquisition of points, after a near thirty-minute drought before half time.  In all he was successful with seven attempts out of eight, the one miss coming from a sixty metre attempt post first-half hooter.

Alongside all this there remains the hard yardage made by the forwards.  Alex Gerrard has been most reliable and  unshirking in this throughout the season and was in evidence again yesterday, while Ormondroyd capped one of his forward charges with a try and was unfortunate to have a second disallowed for a forward pass.  Tyler Dupree has made great progress since joining us earlier in the season, and Ackers was irrepressible in sparking attack after attack with his scoots from dummy half, or the speed and accuracy of his distribution from the play-the-ball.

It is from the combination of these, therefore, that the platform is laid for those wonderful, slick attacking moves, with the magnificent Brodie Croft the architect of so many of them.  In the few months he has been with us he has cemented the team around him, and must now strike fear into the hearts of any other club which has to face him.

He is fortunate, it is true, to have a volley of strike players around him who can capitalise on so many of his insertions into the opposition’s half.  These are the players whom we so often name, week after week, for scoring the tries, and absolutely thrilling us in so doing.  They also contribute much that might not be as readily recognised, as might have been the case with Kallum Watkins’s wide right to left pass, which ensured that Ken Sio’s interception resulted in a try, despite his being stopped, short of the line.

Finally, there are our fabulous, fans, many of whom travel to the farthest flung outreaches of the league, and make their presence felt on each and every occasion.  Your contribution is so important to the players, and they respond so magnificently to your encouragement, and in recognition we celebrate this by means of our banner photograph, with a player’s eye view from Monday’s game.

Putting this altogether, one can only rejoice at the outcome of having it all, so far, and that is in  an assured place in this season’s top six play-offs.  Who, back in March and early April would have predicted that – yet it is there to be looked forward to –  and, once they take the field in the first actual play-off, the team might well find, rather as they did recently against Hull, that, whoever it is against, they will have to rely more and more on all of the elements above, because the encounter might well be much more of a cup tie than this one was.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH:  SALFORD V HULL

It was not quite the game we had been expecting.  Looking over the fixture list a few weeks ago, games against St Helens, Catalans, and Huddersfield loomed large on the horizon, but with Hull FC seemingly in free fall, at the time, this appeared to be one game we could possibly look forward to winning with rather more ease, particularly with it being a home fixture, and the rampant form that the Red Devils had shown in their most recent outings

In the event, however, this all proved to be a far cry from the game which ensued, with the visitors arriving with a rather more representative side than had been on view over recent outing and the benefit of this to their performance became increasingly evident.

Salford, themselves, might have been a shade off their lethal best, on the night, which to a certain extent is most understandable when taking into account the energy sapping travels to and from the south of France last weekend, coupled with the extremely short recovery period in the run-up to last night’s encounter.

Consequently, the scintillating attacks, to which have now become accustomed, were in somewhat short supply, and as the game wore on, the players had to adapt to a rather less flamboyant style in order to get the job done and bring home the two vital league points.

The opening exchanges had not, though, signalled anything different as they tore the Hull defence asunder with a blind-side move, which put Brodie Croft in the clear, but, with support available on either side of him, he attempted to dummy his way past Jake Connor, at fullback.  If he were to have that moment again, Brodie would probably take a different option, but with so many players alongside him, he possibly had too many from which to choose, on the spur of the moment.

Having seemingly been able to snuff out such a clear scoring opportunity did wonders for the motivation of the Humbersiders, and they seemed visibly to grow in confidence, from that point on.  It was, consequently, not until the eleventh minute that Salford notched their first points, which came on the back of sustained pressure, courtesy of a Hull goal-line drop-out.

Kallum Watkins, it was, who followed up his brace of surging runs at Catalans, the week before, when he was put through for another great run, to score close in, with Marc Sneyd converting.  Back-to-back tries have not been uncommon for Salford over recent weeks, but any thoughts of that happening in this game, soon evaporated, when it surprisingly turned out to be the visitors who were next to cross the line, after Salford had conceded a penalty to set them up to attack.

The Reds had a great deal to be thankful for goal-line drop-outs, as one having already led to one try, another such restart saw the ball moved along the line to Tim Lafai, who, in the absence of Joe Burgess, fed Rhys Williams, who made just as much of the opportunity as Burgess, himself, would have done to take the score to 10-6.

Finding that their normal routes to the try-line were being well policed by Hull defenders, the Salford players were required to draw upon every individual skill they had at their disposal, and a superb 40-20, on 26 mins, from Sneyd, laid a platform for the Reds, but sadly without anything coming of it.

Not so Sneyd’s opposite number Gale, who had been causing endless trouble for the Reds, with his end-of-set kicks.  Indeed, Hull’s opening try had come from a kick, and so too did their second, though only with the assistance of an extremely awkward bounce – directly into the hands of Fash – which gave the visitors an eyebrow-raising, 10-12, half time lead.

It was a much more determined home side which emerged for the second half, and the patience they needed to accompany this was certainly tested to the full, at vital times.  Six minutes from the resumption they got their reward, in the form of a try straight from a scrum 25m out, which concluded with Ken Sio crossing in the corner to restore their lead, at 16-12, with Sneyd’s conversion.

Deon Cross’s 57th minute try between the posts went some considerable way to settling nerves, especially when Sneyd added on the extras, and there was an air of expectation that this might be  the portender of several more.  Far from that, however, it was Hull, who next got on the score sheet.

A most unexpected Hull downtown kick into touch – usually used by teams in the lead to wind down the clock – worked magically in their favour, when Salford lost the ball inside their own half, and the Yorkshire side opened up the defence on their left wing to bring them back to within four points, and those nerves began to jangle again.

Not for the players, though.  They remained totally calm, and used their experience from previous matches to soak up the sets, and the remaining seven minutes, with a steadiness which must have disheartened their opponents, until a final Hull error from a kick gave possession back to the Red Devils who celebrated with Ryan Brierley’s try, to wrap up the game.

A tough game it most certainly was, but possibly just the right thing to prepare the players for the challenge which awaits them, on Monday, at Castleford.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: SALFORD V CASTLEFORD

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: SALFORD V CASTLEFORD

Three months on, from the opening game of the season, in which Salford surprised many by coming away with a convincing 16-26 win, at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle, the Castleford Tigers arrived at the A J Bell, seeking to reverse the outcome of that initial encounter.  The strides which the Tigers had made in the intervening period, had moved them into the top six of Super League.

Salford, in comparison, had left it somewhat later, until the last three fixtures, in fact, before making inroads into their rather unflattering league status at that time, but those three markedly improved performances had been more eye-catching, coming against the three biggest names in rugby league, Wigan, St Helens, and Leeds, the last of which brought them their first win in their last seven matches.

The 30-16 result of last Friday’s return fixture with Cas was of very little difference from that of Round 1, showing that the Red Devils appear to have maintained their lead in the standard of their performances from the first to this latest encounter.

Not that that was evident, on field, during the opening period of either half, with the visitors being the first to settle and open their account, in both.  The first half saw them going four points ahead, after a mere three minutes, while post interval, it took them only five minutes longer than that to register a try.

As any good coach will espouse, however, it does not matter how you start, it is how you finish that matters most, and that certainly proved to be the case, on Friday, as the Reds gradually took control of the game in the first forty, while then turning the second half into a quite enthralling, and most entertaining, contest

The visitors’ opening four pointer was eventually answered by the Red Devils in the seventeenth minute.  Taking advantage of a penalty which put them on the attack, Marc Sneyd  kicked into the in-goal area on the fourth tackle, and  Tim Lafae was the first to get there to ground the ball, which with Sneyd’s conversion put Salford into a lead they never surrendered, thereafter.

The rain, which had fallen steadily for four hours prior to kick-off, had made both the ball and the playing surface most slippery, so conditions were challenging for both sides, both of which were pleased to turn their opponents’ errors to their own advantage.

Playing the game in your opponents’ half was highly desirable and advantageous, something at which Salford proved to be rather the better, during the run up to the interval.  The pressure this put the Tigers under began to take its toll on them, and they began to look quite tired, in that last ten minutes.

Although rugby is predominantly a team game, there are occasions when the individual contribution of one player can have a quite profound effect on the game, and their team.  Joe Burgess was the individual, on this occasion who, as the first half moved closer to its end, completely stamped his authority on the match.

Not only did he latch onto the end of a right to left passing move, on thirty minutes, then wrong footing the defenders for Salford’s second try, six minutes later amid a posse of attacking Tigers, he climbed high to take the ball above his head from and end-of-set kick, and then, outnumbered by four to one he resisted their combined efforts to force  him into touch, thereby both acquiring, and retaining possession for his side.

As if to celebrate all of this, he closed the half with the second try of his eventual hat-trick, by exploiting space on his flank to round the opposition with his pace coupled with a swerve, which kept him completely in the clear, on his way to the line.

It took a full fifteen minutes of an arm-wrestle, at the onset of the second half, during which Castleford appeared to be gaining the ascendency and had narrowed the Reds’ lead to six points, before Sneyd turned the game in Salford’s favour.  Against Leeds it had been a drop-goal which had been so decisive; this time it was a 20-40, the repeat set from which he was to slot over a penalty goal, to restore a two-scores advantage.

That two-scores very quickly became three, after a tremendous break by Andy Ackers was continued by Morgan Escare, and although he was tackled in flight, his quick play-the-ball led to excellent passing along the line via Ackers again, Brodie Croft, and Kallum Watkins, to Deon Croft, who grounded for another Sneyd-converted try.

If the balance of the game had changed with surprising speed, it was about to change again, even more quickly, as the visitors caught their hosts out with a most unusual restart.  The kick went with some force along the ground before bouncing up over the Salford players’ heads , into touch.  Just as the Red Devils had used their unexpected possession from the 20-40 to good effect, so too, now did Castleford, by putting Quareqare in at the corner for his second try of the half.

Salford’s ten-point lead was still sufficient cushioning, however, to keep them comfortable enough to continue playing their fine expansive rugby, and they extended it further with Burgess completing his hat-trick from Lafae’s wonderful final pass.

It is really looking now as though Salford have turned the corner, and rediscovered their early season form, which had, it appeared, deserted them over the intervening month and a half.  Now a free weekend gives them some well-earned respite before an important away trip to take on Hull KR.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: CASTLEFORD V SALFORD

Getting off to a good start in anything, is often the best thing anyone could hope for, so, for Salford Red Devil’s to have travelled into Yorkshire, in the opening round of the season, and to have come away from the Mend-a-Hose Jungle with the points, is as much as anyone could have wished for, and possibly more than many might have expected. That, nevertheless, is exactly what they did, and most deservedly so.

A ten point winning margin, away at Castleford, is a notable achievement in itself, and whilst many people would have been hoping for a win, getting one so comfortably was possibly far from their expectations.  Closer scrutiny of the scoreboard reveals some interesting facts.

With three tries apiece, it was clearly the accuracy of Marc Sneyd’s goal-kicking, which eventually separated the two sides, and he certainly was a popular figure at the end, not just for that aspect of his play, but for his all round performance and impact throughout the game. 

There will be many a team during the coming season, who will lose matches through missing kicks at goal, but in Sneyd we have someone who will invariably put the points on the board, just when we need them most.  His seven successes on Friday will have surely put most teams on guard against the folly of giving him those opportunities, in the way the Tigers did in the second half.

That, however, is the icing on the cake.  Before kicks at goal could ever have been considered, there were key elements which needed to come right, and no-one should forget that purple patch, just before half time, when the Reds went from 10-8 down, to take a 10-20 interval lead.  

Back-to-back tries are hard enough for a team to take, even when the second score comes towards, or, at the end, of the resuming set.  When it comes straight from the kick-off, however, it must feel quite demoralising.  

King Vuniyayawa it was, who set the ball rolling, when one of Castleford’s indiscretions set the Red Devils up in a good attacking position, and his appearance, seemingly from nowhere on the blindside, the angle of his run, allied with his force and strength, all combined to get him over the line.  

An incredible break then, direct from the kick off, by Joe Burgess, saw him slice right through the home side’s defence, and a ninety metre attacking move, resembling the flair which that left edge had shown against Swinton in the first pre-season friendly, ended with Dion Cross grounding the ball near the corner.

Those twelve points, amassed in only a couple of minutes, literally turned the game on its head, and paved the way for Salford to show us all, how they could manage a game throughout second half, by respecting possession, securing good field position thanks in part to Sneyd’s kicks downfield, and taking any chances of scoring, which, apart from James Greenwood’s disallowed effort, turned out not to be tries.

This was all a far cry, however, from how things had looked in the opening stages of the game, when for a full ten minutes, after an early penalty goal,  momentum swung well and truly to the Tigers.  They dominated possession and camped on the Salford line, asking question after question, of the visitors’ defence.  

That was when the Red Devils really had to muscle up and repulse each of those assaults, which they did, magnificently, and it was in the hard graft demanded of them, during that period, that the foundations for their win were well and truly laid.

It turned out to be a full eighteen minutes before George Griffin got his side on the scoreboard, and within four minutes Ken Sio had eradicated it with a typical finish of his own, in the right-hand corner.  

As possession became more evenly shared, the inevitable arm wrestle followed, broken eventually by Derrell Olpherts’s first try in the left corner.  That, though, simply served to inspire the Reds to even greater things, as half time was approaching fast, and with it, was coming the opportunity for them to take control.

A good start can have more far-reaching effects, however. It is the catalyst for generating momentum, forging links and understanding between players, and building confidence.  With their first home game, against Toulouse, coming up next, those benefits could all be strengthened even further.

PREVIEW: CASTLEFORD TIGERS V SALFORD RED DEVILS | FRIDAY 11TH FEB | ROUND 1

Paul Rowley’s Salford Red Devils begin their 2022 Betfred Super League journey with a trip to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle to take on Castleford Tigers, later this evening.

Tonight’s contest presents a fresh start for an exciting squad to test their capabilities against some tough opposition.

The Red Devils have enjoyed a productive pre-season, beating both the Swinton Lions and the Halifax Panthers at the AJ Bell Stadium, before some encouraging academy talent produced a spirited display despite defeat to the Warrington Wolves in Lee Mossop’s testimonial.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference earlier this week, Rowley said: “I’ve definitely learnt about the lads during pre-season. I think at one time they used to say lock them in the dressing room with a load of beers to learn about them, but I think you learn more about them when it’s tough and we’ve certainly done that.

“I think it’s been positive in that respect and I think anything we’ve learned about any of the players has been in a positive way. A little bit of education on our part, what they do under fatigue or what their common traits are and some have just exceeded expectations.”

Castleford, who finished 7th last season and narrowly missed out on the playoffs, have also had a successful pre-season, convincingly beating both Doncaster and the New York Knights.

After leading Hull FC for over six years, this will be Lee Radford’s maiden season in charge at Castleford, after Daryll Powell left his position to take over at Warrington Wolves.

The West Yorkshire-based side are tipped to have a promising Betfred Super League campaign, so they will be a stern opening test. However, the Red Devils boss says he is only focusing on what his side can do.

Rowley said: “I think you do focus on yourself. It’s difficult because you’re obviously looking at Lee Radford’s style of coaching and how Hull played, but again, totally different personnel and you have to throw in the mix how Cas previously played.”

On Wednesday, the head coach named his first 21-man squad of the season, including new faces Tim Lafai, Ryan Brierley and Brodie Croft, who will be aiming to show their talent and get the campaign off to a positive start.

King Vuniyayawa is also in contention following his move from the Leeds Rhinos, while Amir Bourouh is a young player who is creating a lot of excitement with his performances at hooker.

Rowley confirmed yesterday that the only absentees from the squad as whole at the moment, are Kallum Watkins and Harvey Livett – both suffering from injury knocks.

With a full house expected, it’s shaping up to be an electric night of rugby league. Salford will be looking to feed off the energy of the travelling fans and show just what they’re capable of.

Written by: Harry Siddall

Image credit: Steve McCormick

MARC SNEYD RETURNS TO RED DEVILS

Salford Red Devils are delighted to announce that Marc Sneyd has returned on a three-year contract, as Paul Rowley’s first signing as head coach.

A product of the Salford youth system, Sneyd made his Betfred Super League debut for the Red Devils in June 2010 against Warrington Wolves and went on to feature for Salford for the next four years before departing for Hull FC in 2015.

The scrum-half, who also spent a year on loan at Castleford Tigers in 2014 during which he played in a Challenge Cup Final, is 9th in the leaderboards for most conversions and penalty goals in Super League history.

A proven winner, Sneyd has lifted the Challenge Cup twice in the last five years, winning the prestigious Lance Todd Trophy on both occasions with Hull FC.

Speaking on returning to where his rugby league career started, Sneyd said: “I’m really excited to be coming back to Salford. They’ve made some great signings and the squad looks like it’s taking shape.

“I’m excited to get on the field with the lads now and get stuck in with them.”

Director of rugby and operations Ian Blease said: “To have Marc return to where it all started for him is a fantastic example of how a true professional never forgets where they came from.

“He’s a proven winner and will bring with him a plethora of skill and experience to a squad that is already packed with talent.”

Burke – “It’s somewhere we can go and express ourselves”

Salford Red Devils forward Greg Burke believes tomorrow’s Dacia Magic Weekend opener against Castleford Tigers at St James’ Park, provides the perfect tonic to put on a display for the travelling fans.

Burke, who has shared the armband with Kevin Brown over recent weeks since Lee Mossop’s retirement, has revealed that the mood in the camp this week has been positive, as the Red Devils look to build on their Bank Holiday bruising over Hull FC, in Newcastle tomorrow afternoon.

Burke said: “It’s a showcase for the Super League and we have spoken about that this week, about how it’s somewhere we can go and express ourselves.

“All the games are on Sky and we want to put in a good performance first and foremost for ourselves, but also for the fans and the viewers watching.”

Recently surpassing 200 career appearances, Burke has been a Salford player for two years now, excluding his loan spell in 2018, helping the side reach the 2019 Betfred Super League Grand Final in his first season as a permanent Red Devil, and the Betfred Challenge Cup Final last year.

Salford’s number 16 is one of the more senior players in the camp and has stepped up since Moose’s retirement.

Speaking on captaining the club recently, Burke said: “It’s been a massive honour to be seen as a leader.

“To be asked to be captain, I was happy to accept that. I’ve been really happy to be honest.”

Burke revealed that the team have been fully focused on tomorrow’s opponents, who will be fielding an almost full strength side in Newcastle, compared to the last Tigers side that were on the receiving end of a 70-18 thrashing at the hands of Marshall’s men in July.

Speaking on Castleford, Burke added: “It’ll be a massively different challenge this week. It’s a Cas team that are at the best strength they can be.

“We know we have to be on this week to give ourselves a chance, and that’s what we’ve spoke about.”

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: CASTLEFORD V SALFORD

It might well be an old adage to say that you can only beat whatever is put in front of you, but it could never have been more true than of Salford, last Sunday, in their Round 14 encounter with a much depleted Castleford side, comprised, in part, of players from the Tigers’ Youth system, but with a number of first teamers in the pack to give them some stiffening.

In that prior knowledge, it would be easy for anyone to look at the scoreline and to dismiss the result as a mismatch.  That view, however, pays scant respect to the difficulties Salford themselves had had to face, and overcome, in order to be in a position to turn out at all, after covid, and its associated isolating, had sought to inflict its ravages on the team.

The Red Devils had only seven players in training up until 48 hours before their trip to West Yorkshire, with 11 players in isolation and seven positive COVID-19 cases. For the first time this season, Marshall was unable to name a 21-man squad for a fixture and had to draft in two Saints players last minute to field a team.

Running up seventy points in any match, as was accrued by the Red Devils, however, really does take some doing, requiring, as it does, intense concentration and focus, considerable reserves of energy, together with high levels of desire and commitment, all of which the visitors to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle showed in abundance.

Once they had got into their stride, the Salford team looked most impressive as they dominated possession and field position.  The well-structured approach work, with ball in hand, alongside strict adherence to their game plan, which has been evident rather more spasmodically in other recent games, served them well as they launched attack after attack on the Tigers’ line.

The basis for them all was the hard work undertaken by the forwards.  Skipper for the day, Greg Burke, played a captain’s role, leading by example with his incisive running, as too did Oliver Roberts, upon his introduction, while Ryan Lannon, had one of his best games in a Salford shirt.

If there were any criticism to be found in their performance, it was in their conceding of eighteen points.  The coaching staff might well be disappointed by all three of Castleford’s tries, but, for we fans, it was probably just one more than we really would have liked.  Twelve points seems something of a triviality in such a high scoring game, but, when it becomes eighteen, it becomes rather more significant.

Furthermore, whilst those first two came at the start of each half, when the Castleford players were fresh, eager, and energetic, the final one came ten minutes from the end, when a lapse in Salford’s goal-line defence allowed a second try in their right-hand corner, both of which were converted from out wide.

For the bulk of the game, though, it was all Salford, as they ran in a total of twelve tries.  The last fifteen minutes of the first half saw them run in three, which put them in a quite commanding lead at half time.

The last thirty minutes of the game saw the Reds cross no less than seven times, spaced out with only a few minutes between each.  It was particularly good to see winger, Rhys Williams, who has been one of our stand-out players all season, rewarded with a brace, the second of which was reminiscent of both his length-of-the-field effort at Wembley, and also his immediate solo score, straight from a restart, against Toronto Wolfpack in 2020.

Probably the one which should give us real hope for better things to come, was the absolutely crucial half back pairing of Dec Patten and Chris Atkin, which had done so much to put Huddersfield to the sword, combining, through slick inter-passing between the two of them, to put Atkin over between the posts.

After all the team has been through over the past couple of weeks, this win was the tonic that they really deserved, not to mention the extra percentage benefit it brings.  They now have the opportunity to build on this over the coming weeks and produce further victories to bolster their improving league position.

MATCH REPORT | CASTLEFORD TIGERS 18-70 SALFORD RED DEVILS | SUNDAY 11TH JULY 2021

Salford Red Devils picked up a comfortable win against Castleford Tigers at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle this afternoon, after what has been a difficult two weeks in the Salford camp.

Despite the scoreline, it was the hosts who took the lead early on through Grant Milligan, after the Tigers reacted first to a loose ball.

Jack Ormondroyd powered over in the 12th minute however, to put Salford on the scoreboard.

Ollie Roberts put Salford ahead for the first time shortly before the half-hour mark and two minutes later, Morgan Escare danced his way through the Castleford defence to pick up a try of his own.

Three minutes from the interval, Rhys Williams picked a Chris Atkin kick out of the sky and grounded the ball in the left corner.

Halftime: Castleford Tigers 6-22 Salford Red Devils

The hosts started the second forty the same way they did the first, scoring early through Brad Martin this time.

However, the second half at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle belonged to Salford, who took real control of the arm wrestle.

Ken Sio darted over down the right in the 47th minute, before Escare got his second of the afternoon five minutes later after some great play from Salford to work the ball from left to right.

Dec Patton then barged over for a try, before Matt Costello grounded the ball in the 59th minute after a great kick chase by the number 24.

Man of the Match Chris Atkin strolled over under the sticks five minutes later and the hosts responded with their last try of the game through Alex Foster.

Saints loanees Ben Davies and Dan Norman both helped to extend Salford’s lead in the last few minutes and it was our Welsh Winger Williams who summed up what had been a brilliant display, breaking the Castleford line and picking up his second try of the afternoon between the sticks.

Fulltime: Castleford Tigers 18-70 Salford Red Devils

Castleford Tigers: Qareqare, Jordan, Blair, Foster, Clare, Sadler, Richardson, Hepi, Robb, Millington, Sene-Lefao, Martin, Bienek, Peachey, Hall, Rusling, Magee.

Castleford tries: Millington, Martin, Foster

Castleford goals: Richardson (3/3)

Salford Red Devils: Escare, Sio, Inu, Costello, Williams, Patton, Atkin, Johnson, Ackers, Ormondroyd, Livett, Lannon, Burke, Roberts, Norman, Pauli, Davies.

Salford tries: Ormondroyd, Roberts, Escare (2), Williams (2), Sio, Patton, Costello, Atkin, Norman, Davies

Salford goals: Inu (11/12)

Referee: Tom Grant