Despite originally having a free weekend, the Castleford Tigers faced Wigan Warriors at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in this rescheduled round 10 fixture, with the Warriors looking to extend their lead at the top.
The fireworks between the two sides started in the first minutes as Danny Richardson and Jackson Hastings grappled after a late hit on the Tigers half-back from the Wigan man.
In the ninth minute, Liam Marshall stepped off his right foot, and it buckled before being clobbered high by Liam Watts.
The worse was feared, but the winger managed to stay on the pitch for around another ten minutes
In the very next set for the Warriors, both Hastings and French went close but Richardson claimed Tommy Leiluai’s fifth tackle kick.
12 minutes into the game, Oliver Holmes should have scored the first try of the game, but knocked the ball on after collected an offload from Gareth O’Brien who’d gathered the high bomb.
Ill-discipline from the Warriors allowed Castleford to camp inside the 20-metre line.
After a small break in play for an injury to Nathan Massey, the Tigers spread the ball to the left-edge and Gareth O’Brien beat Leuluai on the outside and accelerated through the gap to slide over.
Marshall was now off the pitch for the Warriors, causing the home side to reshuffle in the backs.
The Tigers looked to have extended their lead after 20 minutes as Massey picked up a short pass from Paul McShane and was too strong for the tackle of Morgan Smithies, to crash over the line.
Five minutes later, Sam Powell picked up from dummy-half and burrowed beneath Holmes and Massey to slide onto the line and score.
The try was confirmed by the Video Referee after a hint of double movement.
In the very next set, the Warriors pulled further back.
Hastings made a half-break and offloaded to Liam Farrell who created and two-on-one against O’Brien, and released Joe Burgess who raced away and score.
Zak Hardaker missed the second conversion attempt to remain two-points behind.
A third Wigan try came quickly afterwards after small wrap-around from Sam Powell created the space to put Ben Flower through the gap and score on his return.
With a few minutes to go until the half, Morgan Smithies was lucky to get away with a heabutting movement on Grant Millington in the tackle, which was missed by James Child, the referee.
HALF-TIME: Wigan Warriors 16-12 Castleford Tigers
The second half didn’t start too brightly for the Tigers as James Clare was caught in a crusher tackle by Smithies, and the winger had to be carried off the field.
Smithies was shown a yellow card for the tackle, but was lucky to not have already been off the pitch.
With the mad advantage, Castleford hit back with a sweeping play from left to right, over the Derrell Olpherts on the outside who ran over from ten-metres out.
With just under half an hour to go, the Tigers were penalised for stripping the ball out of the arms of Liam Farrell.
This allowed Hardaker to kick them back ahead with two-points from the boot.
Just after the hour mark, the Warriors pushed ahead again after a mistake from McShane and McMeeken.
Liam Farrell strolled into the space after Leuluai held the ball for a split second longer than usual and popped the ball onto the second-rower to score.
An error from Leuluai from the kick-off gave Cas the opportunity to hit straight back.
However, the stern defence from the homeside meant the score remained 24-16.
The game then looked to have been settled with 12 minutes left when Joe Bullock charged over a few tackles after a 40/20 from Harry Smith.
The game was far from over in the eyes of Castleford though as Jake Trueman’s grubber kick into the corner bounced awkwardly for Hardaker and Michael Shenton gathered and grounded.
A poor pass from Jesse Sene-Lefao was awkward for Shenton to clean up and compose, which gifted the Warriors back the ball.
FULL-TIME: Wigan Warriors 30-22 Castleford Tigers
French, Marshall, Hardaker, Bibby, J. Burgess, Leuluai, Hastings, Bullock, Powell, Byrne, Isa, Farrell, Havard
Interchanges: G. Burgess, Flower, Smith, Smithies
Tries: Powell, J. Burgess, Flower, Farrell, Bullock
Goals: Hardaker (5/6)
O’Brien, Olpherts, Foster, Shenton, Clare, Trueman, Richardson, Watts, McShane, Griffin, Holmes, McMeeken, Massey
Interchanges: Millington, Milner, Sene-Lefao, Smith
Tries: O’Brien, Massey, Olpherts, Shenton
Goals: Richardson (3/4)
Referee: J. Child
Touch Judges: T. Grant, A. Martin
Video Referee: C. Kendall
Image Source: @WiganWarriorsRL (twitter)