A LAST-MINUTE drop-goal cruelly denied Bradford Bulls Under-19s a point, as they slipped to a 23-22 defeat at the hands of Castleford Tigers last night.
Richard Tunningley’s team started the game strongly and led narrowly at the break.
The tie was neck-and-neck throughout, with little separating the two sides until the final seconds – when Bradford hearts were broken at the Provident Stadium.
Bull Ross Oakes opened the scoring and Kyle Moore was next across the line for the hosts, as Bradford made the most of Castleford's slow start.
The visiting Tigers responded before the break, however, via a Ben Passmore try and a penalty goal.
Castleford took the lead for the first time through Brad Hunter, shortly after half-time, before Liam Blockley raced clear to further extend their advantage.
Hooker Nathan Conroy scooted over from dummy half for the Bulls, though, in the minutes which followed to set up an exciting conclusion.
Jordan Howdon pounced on a loose ball to hit back for the Tigers, but a Brad Adams try gave the hosts a much-needed lifeline.
With the scores tied, Adam Brook – who kicked three goals – saw a late drop-goal attempt sail wide of the uprights.
But Tiger Dan Sowerby found the target with his attempt just minutes later, sealing Castleford's success.
BULLS: Branden Pickersgill, Ethan Ryan, Brad Adams, Ross Oakes, Kyle Moore, Adam Brook, Joe Lumb, Sam Bates, Nathan Conroy, Liam Kirk, James Thornton, Mason Tonks, Emmerson Whittel. Subs: Nat Light, Macauley Barron, Jack Georgiou, Joe Buggle.
TRIES: Oakes (4), Moore (25), Conroy (66), Adams (75)
GOALS: Brook 3/4
TIGERS: Kaw Riley, Liam Blockley, Brad Hey, Brandon Pickup, Brad Hunter, Jordan Howdon, Dan Sowerby, Scott Ellerington, Brandon Moore, Will Maher, Brad Foster, Brad Day, Connor Wick. Subs: Brandon Westerman, Harris Stockdale, Ben Passmore, Josh Fowler.
TRIES: Passmore (31), Hunter (51), Blockley (54), Howdon (71)
GOALS: Howdon 4/5
DROP-GOAL: Sowerby 1/1
REFEREE: Tom Grant