Castleford Tigers produced a brilliant performance to beat West Yorkshire rivals Featherstone Rovers and get to Round Three of the Women’s Challenge Cup.
It was the Tigers who took the lead with their first set of six. From a seemingly impossible position, Lucy Eastwood collected an offload by the try line and managed to burrow down to score. Tara Stanley missed the conversion, but the hosts held the early advantage.
The visitors kept themselves in the game with good defence and earned their reward when Katie Hepworth managed to get in through the tightest of gaps on the touch line to score. Grace Cotton missed the conversion, meaning the scores were level.
The momentum of the tie was starting to swing, and Cas were reduced to 12 women as Stanley was sent to the sin bin for using her elbows in a tackle, meaning Rovers were a woman up for the rest of the first half.
However, the Tigers were able to show their champion material as Shona Hoyle managed to find another gear to get past the Featherstone defence to score. Claire Garner scored the conversion to extend their lead out to six points.
They were even able to add another try in added time before the break as Sinead Peach produced a strong run out dummy half to get over and score. Garner missed the conversion, but the Tigers still extended their lead to 10 points at the break.
The first try of the second half was always going to be crucial and it was the home side who got it as Kelsey Gentles got the ball after some great movement to get the ball out wide. Stanley, who was back on the pitch after her sin binning, missed the conversion but the home side still stretched their lead.
The Tigers were in again just two minutes later, as Gentles got the ball out wide and proved too fast for the Featherstone defence to grab her second try in as many minutes. Stanley was on target this time to grab her first goal of the game and stretch the lead out even further.
It soon even better for the hosts and Gentles as she completed her hat trick. She picked the ball up from the scrum and beat all comers to go in under the posts. Stanley scored the conversion again as the Tigers reached 30 points.
Just when the game seemed to be dying down, Gentles lit it up again when she picked up the ball 10 metres from her own try line, she ran it up the middle, and beat four tackles to go all the way and score under the posts. Garner scored the conversion to all but finish the game.
Reigning Woman of Steel Georgia Roche then got in on the act shortly after, by showing brilliant feet and a dummy to break through the defence and score. Garner scored the conversion again to bring the Tigers over the 40 point mark.
It was then the turn of another player who has started the season in fine form in Rhiannon Marshall who managed to barge her way through a small gap to score. Garner scored the conversion in what proved to be the final kick of the game.
The Tigers have remained unbeaten this season, and now have a week off before they travel to Bradford Bulls on 6th June.
As for Rovers, they now play in the Challenge Shield following their defeat. They return to league action when they travel to Wigan Warriors next Sunday.