There was plenty to play for at The Jungle as a Wigan Warriors side seemingly in free-fall after a good start to the season came up against a Castleford Tigers side who are scrapping hard for a place in the play-offs.
A win for the home side would lift them above their visitors and into fourth position in Super League with just three games left until the end of the regular season, but an away win would almost guarantee Wigan a play-off spot.
The Tigers were the favourites with the bookies to continue the Wigan misery with the Warrior having lost their last three matches and not having crossed the whitewash for two-hundred-and-four painful minutes.
Early on it was a real arm-wrestle until with fourteen minutes on the clock Jackson Hastings scooted from acting half back to get the ball on the line and end the Wigan try drought. Harry Smith added the conversion for a 6-0 lead.
Fifteen seconds before the interval Jesse Sene-Lefeo was yellow carded for a high hit and Harry Smith tried a penalty goal from fifty metres but the kick dropped in front of the uprights, Wigan taking a 6-0 lead into the sheds.
Liam Byrne was sin-binned for Wigan just fifty seconds after the restart for a low tackle.
Smith missed a simple looking penalty goal on fifty-three, a kick which would have edged the Warriors into an eight-point lead.
An awful Castleford pass was collected on the bounce by Liam Marshall with the winger cantering ninety metres downfield to dot down under the uprights. Smith added the goal for 12-0 with twenty minutes remaining.
The result was put beyond doubt on sixty-seven when Oliver Gildart somehow managed to get the ball on the ground after reaching over his head to ground after being held on his back over the line. Jackson Hastings took the conversion but his effort went wide of the sticks.
Brad Singleton added the icing to Wigan’s cake as he charged over under the sticks off an Oliver Partington pass just before the final hooter. Hastings added the conversion with a couple of seconds left on the clock for the 22-0 win.
This was only the second time in Super League, and the first since 2006, that the Castleford Tigers have been kept scoreless at home and Daryl Powell will be furious that they have turned in one of their worst performances of the season when they needed one of their best to cement a play-off place. Wigan, on the other hand, were deserving winner for a great defensive effort and they have now made their place in the play-offs a near certainty, while the Tigers drop out of the play-offs.
Castleford Tigers: Evalds, Turner, Shenton, Mata’utia, Olpherts, O’Brien, Richardson, Watts, Milner, Millington, Holmes, Sene-Lefeo (SB on 39), Massey. Subs: Griffin, Foster, Eden, Matagi.
Wigan Warriors: Hardaker, Marshall (T), Gildart (T), Bibby, Halsall, Hastings (T, G), Smith (2G), Singleton (T), Shorrocks, Partington, Farrell, Bateman, Smithies. Subs: Bullock, Byrne (SB on 41), O’Neill, Pearce-Paul.
Referee: James Child.
Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, (SB) : HT : (SB), 0-10, 0-12, 0-16, 0-20, 0-22 : FT.