Written by Callum Walker
Photo by Sky Sports
Prior to Sunday’s fixture against London, Castleford fans were worrying about being dragged further into a relegation battle after just two wins from nine. Yet, a breathtaking 17-minute spell, where the Tigers scored five tries, quelled any fears and brought the Yorkshire club back into the top five with a 42-10 thrashing.
It wasn’t just the victory that was impressive, it was the manner in which Castleford did it. After all, Castleford have just squeezed past their opponents in 2019 rather than demolish them. But, Sunday was another story.
London, a side on a three-match winning run and defying all expectations this season, came to the Jungle buoyant and confident of upsetting the applecart as they have done so frequently in 2019. But, from the first whistle, Castleford were all over the capital side and, in reality, the 16-4 half-time score should have been much more.
It was the 17-minute hammering that London was on the other end of that impressed the Castleford faithful. After waiting 19 rounds for just a glimmer of the rugby the Tigers produced in 2017, the majority of the 6,860-strong crowd had their prayers answered at the beginning of the second-half.
A blistering performance from the likes of Mike McMeeken, Jordan Rankin, Jake Trueman and Cory Aston ensured the Tigers took the two points that elevated them to fourth in the Super League table.
A superb break from McMeeken set up the first try of the second forty minutes, bulldozing over Jordan Abdull and drawing the defence before setting Rankin away. Then came the procession; a second for Tuoyo Egodo off a fine, cutout Trueman pass was added to with a lovely solo score from Trueman himself.
A brilliant James Clare finish and a sensational runaround from Paul McShane and Adam Milner which gave Chris Clarkson the space to score, ended the game as a contest before the hour mark. This was what Castleford fans had been waiting for; the town had been crying out for moments of magic, well this time the players provided.
Yes, Castleford were only playing London – a promoted Championship side predicted to finish bottom by almost all before the season began – but this was a London side that had chalked up seven wins and was tenth before the clash with the Tigers.
Playing free-flowing rugby, the Broncos had taken the league by surprise, but they were “suffocated” as Castleford head coach Daryl Powell stated, restricted from playing rugby like they have recently. Their only points came via an interception – when Castleford looked like going three tries ahead – and a try with six minutes left and the game gone.
London boss Danny Ward has his work cut out to revitalize the Broncos ahead of their clash with Warrington. But, motivation has been far from lacking at London. They are still very much in the fight to stay up, but this was a performance in which they were second best throughout. For Castleford fans, it was the performance they had been crying out for.