Hull FC defeated Castleford thanks to Curtis Naughton's scoring
Last Updated: 16/05/15 7:29pm
Curtis Naughton scored his first senior hat-trick as Hull FC held off a spirited fightback from Castleford to book their place in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-finals with a 40-14 win at the KC Stadium.
The 20-year-old winger was making just his fourth appearance for the Black and Whites since his off-season move from the Sydney Roosters but he could be set for a run in the side after his match-winning contribution.
Hull eased to a 26-0 victory when the sides last met in the cup in 2004 and it looked as if there would be a repeat of that scoreline after Naughton crossed twice and Mickey Paea added a third inside 17 minutes.
But the Tigers came storming back and finished the half on top, although they only had Ashley Gibson's try to show for their efforts.
Castleford carried that momentum into the second period and got back to within two points of the Black and Whites thanks to tries from James Clare and Mike McMeeken.
Jordan Rankin's try swung the tie back in Hull's favour and former Tigers half-back Marc Sneyd slotted over a penalty to give the hosts an eight-point cushion.
Naughton scored a stunning third to make the game safe before Rankin and Kirk Yeaman crossed to add gloss to the result.
The Black and Whites hit the front on four minutes when Naughton beat Clare to a loose ball on the ground before regaining his feet and squeezing over in the corner.
Castleford began to work their way into the contest but fell further behind courtesy of Naughton's second try, which came on the back of a barnstorming run from Liam Watts after taking Paea's offload.
The Airlie Birds were flying and soon celebrating another try after Paea crashed onto Danny Houghton's drop-off from dummy half and proved too powerful for Castleford's goal-line defence.
Oliver Holmes was brilliantly held up by Fetuli Talanoa and Sneyd at the other end as the Tigers searched for a way back into the contest.
Castleford got the lifeline they were striving for in the next set after Jordan Tansey kept to his cool to give Gibson a simple finish in the corner.
The momentum was suddenly with the visitors and they went close to halving the deficit when Clare was taken into touch with the tryline beckoning.
The Tigers continued to pile pressure on Hull as half-time approached but the home side stood firm to take a 16-4 lead into the break.
Castleford picked up where they left off at the start of the second half and needed just two minutes to cross the whitewash, Clare finishing well in the corner at the end of another flowing move.
Luke Gale converted from the touchline to bring the Tigers back to within six points but they were on the back foot immediately after Holmes knocked on in front of his own sticks.
Leon Pryce let Castleford off the hook by dropping the ball over the line and that looked as if it would prove crucial as the Tigers went straight down the other end and scored again through McMeeken from Liam Finn's high kick.
Hull remained in front after Gale sliced his conversion attempt but they lost Jordan Thompson to injury soon after.
That lengthy stoppage in play halted the Tigers' momentum and they were left to rue a mistake by Finn as Hull hit back. The half-back kicked out on the full to gift the hosts field position and they took full advantage as Rankin hit the ball at pace before reaching out to score.
Sneyd missed the chance to put Hull two scores in front but he made no mistake from a penalty after Castleford were penalised for interference.
Naughton scored a stunning 70-metre effort to put Hull out of reach before Rankin went over for his second and Yeaman crossed on the final hooter as Castleford fell away badly.