This weeks Blast From The Past see’s Castleford take on the Widnes Vikings in the 2001 National League 1 Grand Final. The Winner would return to Super League. The Question is would it be the Tigers or the Vikings?
The Castleford Tigers had been relegated from Super League in 2006 after a last round defeat by the Wakefield Wildcats which sent them down and they are looking to return to their former glory and get back to the promised land. Widnes were relegated in 2005 and had failed to get back to Super League in 2006 could this be the Vikings year. The Tigers had topped the table losing just one game whilst the Vikings finished second.
Both sets of players came onto the field in front of 20,000 passionate fans willing both teams on. Castleford where the favourites to win at Headingly however Widnes knew that they had the strength to upset the odds and beat the Tigers but could they do it? The Referee Phil Bentham blew the whistle with Danny Brough kicking off the game for the Tigers to get the game underway. The Tigers opened the scoring within two minutes thanks to a penalty kick which Danny Brough kicked to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. Their lead was then extended to 4-0 thanks to another penalty. The first try of the game didn’t come till the 20th minute and was scored by Michael Wainwright who capitalised on a Widnes mistake, the try was missed by Brough which kept the score at 8-0.
The Tigers managed to increase their lead when they scored a drop goal thanks to Danny Brough yet again this made their score 9-0 with 16 minutes of the first half to go in the first half. Castleford then scored their second try of the game in the 28th minute thanks to Australian Ryan McGoldrick , the try was assisted by Danny Brough after he kicked a brilliant 40/20. Yet again Brough failed to convert the try leaving the Tigers score at 13-0. Widnes then went over for their first try of the game 5 minutes from half time thanks to Mick Nanyn to make the half time score 13-4.
Castleford scored the first try of the second half when a brilliant grubber kick by Danny Brough found Awen Guttenbeil who touched down for the Tigers to increase their lead to 17-4 with Brough converting the try to make it 19-4. The Tigers then continued their onslaught of the Vikings in the 51st minute when Tigers Veteran Michael Shenton scored in the corner and secure their place in Super League. Danny Brough then kicked a drop goal to take Castleford’s score to 26-4. Youngster Joe Westermen then increase Castleford’s score to 30-4 with Brough kicking another conversion to take the score to 32-4.
The Tigers scored yet another try to take their score to 36-4 with 15 minutes left , chants of Yorkshire began to ring out from the Castleford fans as they new that promotion was secured. However Widnes scored their final try of the game in the 65th minute thanks to Wilkes to make the score 36-10. Castleford then rubbed salt in the wound by scoring their final try of the game in the 75th minute to give them promotion to the Super League.
Since gaining promotion both teams have gone on highs and lows with Widnes joining the Super League in 2012 thanks to the RFL gifting them a License and since then both teams have become dark horses of the SL and could one day become champions.
Thanks for reading our 5th Blast From The Past join us next week for our 6th edition. Feedback would be much appreciated and don’t hesitate to like and share with the Rugby league community.