Both sides have been without matches in recent weeks. Castleford’s matches with St.Helens and Huddersfield were postponed with the Tigers picking up two points and a 24-0 win from the Giants fixture. On the other hand they lost the two points from the Saints fixture.
After a controversial and incident packed match with Leeds which Salford lost three players to suspension the Red Devil’s next two matches with Wakefield and Hull respectively were both postponed. The Wakefield match has now been rearranged. Richard Marshall has a least had a bit of time to prepare for this Sunday’s match at Wheldon Road. Castleford have a date at Wembley a week on Saturday in the Challenge Cup Final.
That makes this weekends match that little bit more intriguing. Some may say the Castleford players will want to avoid injury and Salford should get the win. For me though if I was a Tigers player I’d want to have a stormer against Salford to nail down my place in the Cup Final side.
Since Castleford beat Salford in the 1969 Challenge Cup Final they’ve returned to Rugby League’s showpiece occasion a number of times. In 1970 they retained the trophy beating Wigan 7-2. Their next final came in 1986 and an epic contest with Hull Kingston Rovers. Castleford edged a classic match 15-14. Since then the Tigers have visited Wembley twice but have been beaten on both occasions, 28-12 in 1992 against Wigan and in 2014 they were defeated by Leeds at the new Wembley 23-10.
It does feel like the end of an era this year for the West Yorkshire club. Long serving coach Daryl Powell is leaving to join Warrington at the end of the season with Lee Radford taking over. Powell took over in 2013 and has turned Castleford into a real competitive and consistent side reaching the Grand Final, Challenge Cup Final and also lifting the League Leaders shield. The club have been regulars in the end of season playoffs and have always played a nice attractive style of play.
After a fantastic performance at Huddersfield a few weeks ago Salford returned to the AJ Bell Stadium and were yet again disappointing to say the least. Another frustrating afternoon left Salford with just two victories in eleven matches. With three players suspended from their last outing to add to the suspension of Dan Sarginson, once again Marshall will be left with gaps to fill.
The Leeds match was a real bruising encounter, in particular Elijah Taylor took some real hammer off the Rhinos forwards and quite a few cheap shots on the quiet for good measure. Taylor has worked so hard this season and if Salford are to match the Tigers this week we will need to see a solid performance from the men in the pack.
Super League away record.
1997 Castleford 12 Salford 10
1998 Castleford 30 Salford 12
1999 Castleford 38 Salford 10
2000 Castleford 30 Salford 4
2001 Castleford 22 Salford 24
2002 Castleford 24 Salford 2
2004 Castleford 32 Salford 36
2004 Castleford 22 Salford 24
2006 Castleford 28 Salford 26
2009 Castleford 52 Salford 16
2010 Castleford 30 Salford 12
2011 Castleford 52 Salford 20
2012 Castleford 34 Salford 30
2013 Castleford 44 Salford 30
2014 Castleford 14 Salford 10
2015 Castleford 30 Salford 16
2016 Castleford 16 Salford 32
2017 Castleford 38 Salford 14
2018 Castleford 22 Salford 8
2019 Castleford 24 Salford 20
2020 Castleford 37 Salford 30 ( behind closed doors Headingley)
They played for both.
Throughout the Super League era there have been plenty of players who have played for both clubs and quite a few through the 1970s and 80s.
Here is a selection of them.
Paul Fletcher, Paul Orr, Bill Kirkbride, Jonny Ward, Barry Kear, Ron Hill, Ian Bragger, Justin Carney, Chris Charles, Jason Critchley, Luke Dorn, Greg Eden, Jake Emmit, Jason Flowers, Matt Gardner, Ashley Gibson, Wayne Godwin, Weller Hauraki, Lee Jewitt, Michael Korkidas, Francis Maloney, Mike Platt, Darren Rogers, Darren Shaw, Mark Sneyd and Gray Viane.
Ian Bragger had a great season for Salford in 1988/89 scoring 14tries. Pictured here after his move to Castleford.
A match to remember Sunday 18th May 1997.
Castleford 12 Salford 10.
The reverse fixture between the two sides had ended 4-0 to Salford and this match was to be another tense low scoring affair with a dramatic finish.
Salford were playing well and made an excellent start to the 97 season. The Tigers we’re struggling at the foot of the table desperately searching for a victory after losing there first ten matches. The Reds had already won six matches and arrived at Wheldon Road in confident mood.
Cas winger Jason Roach bagged two tries for the home side with young half back Danny Orr converting one score. Salford’s tries came from Steve Blakeley and Darren Rogers with Blakeley converting one also. The sides were locked a 10-10 at half time.
Jason Roach grabbed two tries for the Tigers in 1997.
The Tigers were hanging on going in to the final frantic stages of the match. Salford were pushing to land the knockout blow as they trailed 12-10.
A last gasp high kick out wide landed in Scott Martin’s arms and he was over. Salford’s travelling away fans at the old railway end of the ground were celebrating only for referee John Connolly to disallow it. The hooter sounded leaving Salford to contemplate what might have been.
Ironically just four days later Salford would beat League and Challenge cup winners St Helens 39-26 on an unforgettable night at The Willows.
As we all know and love The Red Devil’s have tended to be a shade unpredictable over the years.
The teams that day were;
Castleford, Flowers, Roach, Critchley, Vowles, Middleton, Orr, Ford, Sampson, Russell, Sykes, Tonks, Harland, Tuuta. Subs, Crooks, Steadman, St Hilaire, Anderson.
Salford, Broadbent, Sini, Martin, Mcavoy, Rogers, Blakeley, Watson, Platt, Edwards, Eccles, Forber, Faimalo, Hulme. Subs, Randall, Lee, Savelio, Southern.
Referee, John Connolly.
Despite having a two week break since their last fixture Salford have had plenty of off field set backs this, in particular with Covid regulations. Richard Marshall told me on Wednesday that he only had six players training. Some were self isolating while some were poorly with the virus. Marshall though remained defiant about putting a team out this weekend and seemed in a positive frame of mind. New loan signing Ellis Robson is expected to link up with the Red Devils towards the end of the week and is set to feature on Sunday. New signing Ata Hingano is awaiting his visa but as soon as it arrives he will be flying over to lin up with his new team mates.
Castleford are expected to name a strong side with Wembley on the horizon next week. As mentioned before the Tigers have missed their last two matches and will want to be nice and sharp for the Cup Final.
Wheldon Road as been a grave yard for Salford sides in the past and our Super League record there doesn’t really make pleasant reading. Turn the clock back to the 1970s and after the Wembley cup final defeat to Castleford in 1969 it was quite ironic when Salford were drawn out to face Castleford away in the third round of 1970. The match ended in a 15-0 defeat. The following year in 1971 another trip to Wheldon Road once again in the third round produced another classic match.
Despite tries from Mike Coulman and David Watkins, Castleford once again had the edge winning the match 9-8.
Mike Coulman, try scorer in 1971.
The two sides have met twice already this season. Castleford were victorious in the league match at the AJ Bell Stadium and also beat Salford in the Challenge cup at Headingley with a drop goal from Gareth O’Brien. It’s fair to say the Tigers will start in Sunday as favourites and all eyes in Salford will be on the squad that is selected this week. Sometimes when your thrown in to adversity in can bring the best out in players and that was certainly the case a few weeks ago when Salford won at Huddersfield. A similar gritty performance this weekend is what the travelling supporters will be hoping for.
The action gets underway at 3pm.
Keep safe and enjoy the match.
Photo credits, cas Tigers heritage project.
History of Salford R.L.F.C.