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Super League: Daryl Clark's hat-trick helps Castleford beat Widnes
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Castleford pushed themselves into third place in the Super League table with a 40-20 victory over Widnes at the Select Security Stadium.
Hooker Daryl Clark grabbed a hat-trick of tries as the Tigers completed the double over the Vikings, having triumphed 34-22 in the first meeting of the sides at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
Michael Shenton also touched down twice for the visitors, though the final scoreline didn't do justice to just how tight the game had been for an hour. Widnes had fought back from an 18-0 deficit to make a game of it, something they cannot afford to do when the teams meet again in the semi-finals of the Tetley's Challenge Cup.
The Vikings simply weren’t able to recover from the early wounds inflicted by a shocking start that saw their defensive line breached three times in the opening 11 minutes.
Luke Dorn broke the deadlock when he collected a smart offload from Jamie Ellis, starting in the halves in place of Liam Finn, to grab his 12th try of a highly-productive season for the full-back.
A break by Shenton down the left side set up Oliver Holmes for a second Tigers score, with Hull-bound Marc Sneyd adding the extras again to make it 12-0.
When Clark trotted over for a try that had all stemmed from a poor kick-chase by the Vikings at the other end of the field just seconds before, the home fans greeted the ball being grounded underneath the posts with a chorus of boos.
Yet it wasn’t long before the Widnes faithful’s jeers turned to cheers, Paddy Flynn stepping off his right foot next to the touchline to cut inside and get the hosts off the mark.
A forward pass denied Patrick Ah Van a possible try on the left wing but there was nothing wrong with Danny Galea’s second score in as many weeks, sheer power seeing him force his way over under pressure.
Danny Tickle kicked the extras for a second time to cut the gap to six, only for Castleford to strike a crucial blow just before the break through Shenton.
The centre joined Dorn on 12 league tries when he finished off a wonderful piece of skill by Sneyd, the half-back giving an example of just why the Black and Whites will fork out a six-figure fee to acquire his services from Salford as he fooled the defence by chipping over the top, instead of kicking deep on the last as Widnes had expected.
Still, the Vikings struck first after the break, Ah Van fending off Dorn to get across in the left corner, and it seemed they were set to move level when the same player picked off an errant pass to score again.
However, referee Phil Bentham ruled the winger had been offside before intercepting a ball by Dorn that looked certain to set up a team-mate, meaning the Tigers remained six ahead.
The decision, a correct one considering Ah Van had not retreated back onto his own try line, rather sucked the life out of the valiant Vikings, leading to them leaking three more tries in the final quarter.
Clark showed tremendous pace to not once but twice gallop in from long range after breaking free down the middle, his second-half brace sandwiching another effort for Shenton that saw the Castleford skipper go it alone with a dummy rather than use any of the team-mates to his left in support.
Sneyd converted all of them in his own rather quirky kicking style to finish with six goals from seven attempts and although Chris Dean did cross again for Widnes, it was merely a consolation effort. They will hope for a much different scoreline when they take on the Tigers again with a place at Wembley up for grabs.
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First Utility Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||3||2|
|10||Salford Red Devils||3||2|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th March|
|20:00||Hull FC vs Leeds Rhinos|
|Friday 6th March|
|20:00||Wakefield Wildcats vs St Helens|
|20:00||Huddersfield Giants vs Widnes Vikings|
|20:00||Castleford Tigers vs Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:30||Catalans Dragons vs Salford Red Devils|
|Sunday 8th March|
|15:00||Warrington Wolves vs Hull K R|
|Thursday 12th March|
|20:00||Huddersfield vs Castleford|
|Friday 13th March|
|20:00||Warrington vs Leeds|
|20:00||Wigan vs Hull|
|20:00||Widnes Vikings vs St Helens|
|First Utility Super League|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Widnes Vikings 16 - 58 Wakefield Wildcats|
|Hull K R 22 - 20 Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Salford Red Devils 32 - 28 Hull FC|
|Catalans Dragons 38 - 18 Warrington Wolves|
|Friday 27th February|
|St Helens 21 - 14 Castleford Tigers|
|Thursday 26th February|
|Leeds Rhinos 28 - 24 Huddersfield Giants|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wakefield 44 - 24 Hull K R|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Catalans Dragons 13 - 12 Castleford|
|Friday 13th February|
|Hull 6 - 7 Warrington|
|Leeds 38 - 6 Widnes|
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