Report by Dave Whalley, Images by Bob Brough.
Warrington Wolves Under 19s suffered a defeat in their final game of the regular Under 19s Academy when they were beaten by Castleford Tigers at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Saturday afternoon.
The Wire went into the game two points clear, and with a superior points difference, over fifth placed London Broncos and, with the Broncos losing their final game at Wigan, it confirmed Warrington would finish in fourth place and earn themselves a semi-final play off game at Wigan Warriors next weekend.
The tie will be played at Robin Park Arena on Saturday 14 September, 12.30pm KO.
The other semi-final sees second-placed St Helens entertain Leeds Rhinos, who finished third, on Friday evening.
Castleford opened the scoring in the sixth minute when a strong drive from prop forward Robbie Peachey saw him power his way over under the posts. Full back Jake Sweeting converted and 11 minutes later second row Robbie Storey forced his way over on the right from close range despite the attention of three defenders. Sweeting added the conversion.
Just after the midway point of the half the Tigers moved further ahead when an error from a kick return by the Wire gave the home side a scrum in a great position. They took full advantage as Storey twisted in the tackle and grounded the ball over the try line on the right. Nine minutes later the Wire finally got on the scoreboard when a chip into the in-goal area on the last tackle by substitute George Roby saw scrum half Joe Barnes react first to get to the ball and touchdown at the side of the posts. Stand off Riley Dean added the conversion.
Five minutes before the break Sweeting added a penalty for the Tigers after the Wire were guilty of lying on in the tackle to give his side an 18-6 half-time lead.
Eight minutes into the second half quick passing from the Tigers stretched the Wire defence and Sweeting stepped round the cover to score on the right. Three minutes later the Wire hit back when a short ball from Roby found substitute Karlton Bates who stretched out to score under the posts from close range. Dean added the conversion.
Just before the hour mark Roby scooted from dummy half on the halfway line and shot through a gap before rounding the full back on a 50-metre run to score at the side of the posts. Dean converted to reduce the Wolves deficit to just four points.
The Tigers were in no mood to surrender their lead and shortly afterwards a strong run from substitute Iwan Orr got his side close to Wire line and a quick play the ball saw centre Jordan Bull go through a gap to score wide out on the left. The ball was then sent out wide to winger Jacob Doyle who raced a way before passing back inside to Sweeting who scored on the left and then added the conversion.
Five minutes before the end the Wire gained a consolation try when Dean made a break down the middle and managed to offload to centre Callum Green who sliced through the defence to score on the left. Dean added the conversion and a minute from time Barnes was sin binned along with Tigers substitute Nathan Adamson-Carter following a minor flare-up as the Tigers recorded a 32-24 win.
Jake Sweeting, Jacob Doyle, Jordan Bull, Kieran Carr, Lewis Carr, Josef Fella, Ben Howe, Ninian Donnelly, Shay North, Lewis Peachey, Daniel Attley, Robbie Storey, Joe Summers.
Subs: Iwan Orr, Nathan Adamson-Carter, Dominic Dyson, Adam Horner
Tries: Peachey (6 mins), Storey (17, 22), Sweeting (48, 70), Bull (63).
Goals: Sweeting: 4
Josh Thewlis, Reece Hamlett, Callum Green, Lewis Hall, Aaron Pimblett, Riley Dean, Joe Barnes, Daniel Harper, Jamie Abram, Tayler Brown, Ellis Longstaff, Connor Wrench, Cole Oakley.
Subs: George Roby, Ben Ivory, Karlton Bates, Alex Pendlebury.
Tries: Barnes (31 mins), Bates (51), Roby (59), Green (75).
Goals: Dean: 4
“The performance was well below what we expect of the group; we were second best for most of the first half and even though we improved slightly after half time it wasn’t enough and Castleford deservedly claimed the win. Despite the loss we have finished in fourth place and earned a play-off semi final at Wigan Warriors next weekend, but we will need to improve considerably on this display if we are to give ourselves a chance of defeating them and making it to the Grand Final.”