Castleford RUFC 1XV suffered their first Yorkshire Three defeat of the season last weekend, away at West Park Leeds, so it was imperative they got back to winning ways away at Halifax Vandals, to maintain their momentum to climb back up the league table.
Their cause was hindered by large periods of torrential rain that made open play virtually impossible.
With skipper, Jamie Owen, side-lined, centre, Mark Poppleton assumed the captaincy.
Vandals had first use of their sloping pitch, and from the onset it became quite clear, their game plan was to pepper the visitors with surging, powerful runs down the middle.
Intensive, defensive tackling from front rowers, Millar McCoy, Alex Gummerson and Robert Walker stemmed the onslaught, with second rowers, Gareth Grant-Mills and Steve Parkinson able assistants.
The visitors were caught offside on numerous occasions in their eagerness to defend their line but Vandals spurned three gilt-edged penalty opportunities, instead kicking to touch in search of that elusive style. This was to prove their downfall.
Despite having flanker, Kean Hiscock, yellow carded, Castleford held firm until just before half time, when back-rowers, Jonathan Fox and Karl del Rosario combined in one of their rare incursions upfield. The ball was recycled and a try-scoring opening created but, unfortunately, the scoring pass was poor and the greasy ball was spilled and the chance squandered. However, the visitors survived to the interval.
The second half proved a different kettle of fish. It was not long into the half when Castleford were awarded a penalty for offside which outside half, Ian Mattison, accepted the opportunity to edge the visitors in front. A second penalty quickly followed and his trusty boot catapulted the visitors into a six-point lead.
Vandals were pinned in their own twenty-two for long periods and it was only a matter of time before the visitors added to their points tally.
From a scrum, ten-metres out, scrum half, Ben Mayes, skilfully nudged his opposing half-back's arm causing him to give his stand-off a poor pass. Flanker, Hiscock, making up for his first half dismissal, seized on the mistake to kick through and over the line for the try at the side of the posts, . Mattison added the conversion for a 3 from 3 kicking game.
Vandals scored a consolation try close on full time, but it was yet another combined, cohesive team defensive stint that set the platform for the well-deserved victory in challenging conditions.