Cas stay on course
A review of the weekend's action in Super League as Castleford swept aside the Bradford Bulls.
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Castleford shrugged off fears of a Wembley hangover as they beat a resurgent Bradford 32-18 despite the best efforts of Lee Gaskell to move up to second in the First Utility Super League.
The Tigers were left heartbroken by neighbours Leeds Rhinos in the Tetley's Challenge Cup final last weekend but remain on course for a first Grand Final appearance after a solid victory at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle.
Wakefield returned to form with an eight-try 42-6 victory that keeps alive their outside Super League play-off hopes while ending those of rivals Salford.
Australian scrum-half Tim Smith, who is on loan from Salford, was at the heart of the Wildcats' 42-6 triumph, only their second win in five matches, which keeps them within four points of eighth-placed Widnes with two matches left of the regular season.
Morgan Escare helped himself to a first-half hat-trick as Catalan Dragons returned to winning ways with a 46-4 success over relegated London Broncos on Saturday.
Laurent Frayssinous’ men were in red-hot form in the opening 40 minutes in Perpignan, Escare running in three of the home side’s six first-half scores.
Fit-again winger Kieran Dixon got the Broncos on the scoreboard in the second half, although it was Catalan who had the final say with Zeb Taia and Daryl Millard wrapping up the scoring.
St Helens took advantage of the first-half dismissal of Leeds Rhinos centre Joel Moon to earn a precious 13-12 win on Friday that takes them a step closer to securing top spot.
The Challenge Cup winners were forced to play for an hour with 12 men after centre Moon was sent off by referee Richard Silverwood midway through the first half for an illegal shoulder charge on St Helens centre Mark Percival, who had to be substituted.
With skipper Kevin Sinfield and stalwart Jamie Peacock at the heart of a superb defensive effort, the Rhinos looked capable of hanging on but the task proved beyond them as Saints came from 12-2 down to snatch a 13-12 victory that takes them five points clear of nearest rivals Wigan.
Stand-off Lance Hohaia was St Helens' hero on his return to the side with a drop goal seven minutes from the end which followed two quick tries against a tiring Leeds defence by Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and James Roby.
Now only Castleford can prevent Nathan Brown's men from clinching the league leaders' shield but they will need to win their last three games and hope Saints slip up in both their last two.
Hull FC produced their best performance of the season to deny fierce rivals Hull KR a piece of history and put a major dent in their play-off hopes.
The Robins went into the contest on a wet night at the KC Stadium chasing a hat-trick of wins over the Black and Whites for the first time in the First Utility Super League era, but left smarting from a 28-0 defeat which leaves their top-eight aspirations hanging by a thread.
The Airlie Birds dominated a full-blooded first half and barely allowed Rovers into their 40, although they only had tries from Fetuli Talanoa and Setaimata Sa and two Jordan Rankin goals to show for their efforts.
Tom Lineham settled any nerves Hull had on 45 minutes and the result was beyond doubt when Jordan Thompson crashed over, with Lineham completing a resounding win with an interception try.
Danny Tickle landed the man of the match award against his old club as Widnes gave their play off hopes a huge lift with a stunning 24-10 victory over Wigan.
Tickle booted six goals from six attempts and turned in a powerhouse display in the pack to dent Wigan's hopes of the League Leaders Shield.
Patrick Ah Van crossed for two of the Vikings tries with Paddy Flynn grabbing the other on a night Wigan will want to forget.