A fantastic fight back in the second half saw Wakefield Trinity Wildcats steal the win in the dying minutes at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle in front of 10,728 fans.
The home side looked certain to come away with the spoils after a brace from Denny Solomona and further scores from Luke Gale and Justin Carney saw them cruising at 22-6 with just 18 minutes remaining.
However, three late tries in the second half from Pita Godinet, Ali Lauitiiti and Danny Washbrook added to Paul McShane’s first half try, sent the visiting side on their way to victory.
Wakefield looked almost certain to get the first score of the game within the opening few minutes when a pass from Jacob Miller released Washbrook. Unfortunately the second rower couldn’t hold on to the ball as he tripped just inches away from the line.
That invited Castleford to get to grips with the game and the home side looked the strongest team in the first half, with Jordan Tansey causing a lot of problems for Trinity.
The Tigers full-back was key for the games opening try when he received the ball five metres out from Wakefield’s line and played a great miss-out pass to Solomona who coasted his way to the try line. Gale failed to convert but Castleford had 4-0 advantage.
Cas continued to pile the pressure on with Junior Moors creating havoc down Wakefield’s left hand side for most of the first-half and his carry attracted two defenders but neither were able to prevent the Samoan offloading the ball to Jake Webster who set Solomona free for his second of the game. This time Gale added the extras and the Tigers were 10-0 up.
On 20 minutes, Wakefield looked like they were going to break back into the game when McShane gave Dan Smith the ball just metres away from the try line. However, the home sides defence held up strong and held him up.
James Webster’s men responded well though as McShane fooled the Castleford defence with a smart dummy to cross and when Craig Hall converted Wakefield were only facing a four point deficit.
That deficit was soon 10 though as the impressive Gale caught the Wakefield defence out with a dummy and step to grab Castelford’s third score of the game. He then converted his own try to make it 16-6.
In the final few minutes of the first half Lauitiiti had the Wakefield fans about to start cheering as it looked as though he had scored but he couldn’t get his hands free to ground the ball and that closed proceedings for the first half.
HALF TIME: Castleford 16-6 Wakefield.
Castleford came back out in the second half with the same strong mentality they had shown within the first 40 minutes and when Gale put in a teasing kick, the Tigers were inches away from scoring again, only for Washbrook to knock the ball dead and save Wakefield.
The Tigers looked set to score again just four minutes later but a fantastic tackle from Richard Owen stopped Michael Shenton from extending Cas’ lead.
Owen had just saved the visitors on his own try line and moments later he could of got a crucial try that would’ve brought Trinity back into the game but Castleford somehow managed to put him into touch to deny the winger scoring.
Danny Kirmond looked very strong in defence holding Castleford up on the line on a few occasions, keeping Wakefield in the game. Liam Finn however, did well to step past one defender and he kept composure to throw a pass out which sailed past three defenders before it landed in Carney’s hands. He made no mistake in turning it into four points. Gale converted the try from the touchline and Castleford were 22-6 ahead after 58 minutes.
But that was as good as it got for Daryl Powell’s side when another fantastic display of defending from Owen forced Carney to drop the ball after he had received an offload from the impressive Tansey.
From then on it was all Wakefield and a kick from Tim Smith was pounced on by Godinet to bring Wakefield back into the game. Hall converted to make it 22-12 with 15 minutes remaining.
Dean Collis thought he had scored the most easiest try he will ever get but that proved not to be as the referee brought play back for obstruction.
Wakefield didn’t let this affect them though as an offload from Hall found Lauitiiti and the big guy just had enough pace to get to the line. When Hall converted the Wildcats were trailing by only four points.
At this stage, Trinity had their tails up and Washbrook broke the line and chipped a kick over the head of Tansey but Castleford managed to get back and cover.
Washbrook was again highly involved with four minutes to play, this time getting over for the match winning try as he received the ball from Tim Smith and knocked two defenders away to go under the posts much to the delight of the travelling Wakefield fans. Hall converted to put the visiting side ahead for the first time in the game, 22-24.
That try proved enough for Wakefield as they held on to record a fantastic comeback win and take home the Adam Watene Trophy.
FULL TIME: Castleford 22-24 Wakefield.