Table-topping Tigers survive late Hull rally


Runaway Super League leaders Castleford Tigers made it third time lucky against Hull FC by surviving a late scare to triumph 24-22 at The Jungle on Friday.

Although Cas have been the competition's standout team in 2017, they were beaten by Hull in April and also lost to Lee Radford's men in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup earlier this month.

However, the Tigers were not to be denied again as they opened up a 16-point lead at the interval before remaining in front as the visitors fought back gamely in the final 15 minutes.

Castleford have now won 17 out of 20 league matches this term and sit eight points clear of nearest rivals Leeds, with Hull a further point back in third.

A flash of brilliance from Jake Connor enabled Mahe Fonua to open the scoring for Hull, the centre throwing a superb inside pass behind his back just before he was forced into touch, but it was not long before Castleford were in control.

Luke Gale pounced on a loose pass from Marc Sneyd to surge over and the former's kick to the right flank was then spilled by Fetuli Talanoa, giving Mike McMeeken the chance to dot down.

The game looked to be beyond Hull when home full-back Zak Hardaker, who completed a permanent switch from Leeds Rhinos earlier this week following a successful loan spell, stormed through a gap from inside his own half for a terrific solo score.

Fonua's second try and a late brace from fellow wing Talanoa set up a nervy finale, but the Tigers held on with Gale's six goals from as many attempts ultimately proving crucial.