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Thursday 8th May 2014, 20:00 - Round:12
|Kirk Dixon, Marc Sneyd,||T||Ben Jones-Bishop 2, Kallum Watkins 2,|
Marc Sneyd 3,
Kevin Sinfield 3,
Attendance: 9,208 Official: R Silverwood Venue: The Mend-A-Hose Jungle
Forgotten winger Ben Jones-Bishop seized his rare opportunity to score two tries as Leeds Rhinos secured a precious 22-14 derby win at third-placed Castleford Tigers to open up a three-point lead at the top of the First Utility Super League.
Jones-Bishop got his chance at the expense of the rested Ryan Hall and took it with aplomb to take his try tally for the season to seven in just five appearances.
His centre partner Kallum Watkins also touched down twice as the Rhinos condemned the Tigers to back-to-back defeats for the first time in 2014, although it was a close-run affair with opponents who were playing their second game in five days.
In-form full-back Zak Hardaker was another star performer for Leeds, who demonstrated just why they have the best defence in Super League as they blunted the most prolific attack.
Castleford, who were looking to repeat their 14-12 derby win of 2013, got off to a dream start, with hooker Adam Milner exposing a gap on the Leeds left to get winger Kirk Dixon over unopposed for an eighth-minute try.
Marc Sneyd curled over the touchline conversion and extended his side's lead to 8-0 shortly afterwards with a penalty.
Slow-starting Leeds, who began with back-row forward Chris Clarkson in the dummy-half role in the absence of Rob Burrow, gradually worked their way into the contest with Danny McGuire pulling most of the strings.
The Rhinos scrum-half claimed a try after regathering his own grubber kick that rebounded off Dixon only to be denied by video referee Ben Thaler, but Leeds were rewarded moments later when Jones-Bishop squeezed over at the corner for his first try.
And the visitors took the lead on the half-hour when Watkins collected Hardaker's pass and forced his way past a trio of defenders to touch down.
Skipper Kevin Sinfield, who set a new record with his 417th Super League appearance, added both conversions from the touchline to make it 12-8 and Hardaker almost scored from a thrilling free play but Leeds never looked in control against their ever-dangerous opponents, with Daryl Clark and Sneyd particularly threatening.
Twice Clark burst clear and kicked ahead, forcing the Rhinos to scramble the ball to safety, and Liam Finn got to the line only to be denied by a last-ditch tackle from Hardaker.
It was no surprise when Castleford struck two minutes before the break, with Sneyd taking a pass from his half-back partner Finn and keeping his feet on the slippery surface to jink his way over for his side's second try.
Sneyd's third goal made it 14-12 and the home side left the field to a standing ovation at the break but it took Leeds less than seven minutes of the second half to regain the lead.
Hardaker was first to reach McGuire's kick and he worked the ball out for Watkins to get his winger, Jones-Bishop, over for his second try.
The conversion was beyond Sinfield this time but the Rhinos had the momentum and they scored again when stand-off Liam Sutcliffe produced a half-break and Watkins finished powerfully to claim his second try and Sinfield kicked his third goal.
TA: Try assists
MT: Marker tackles
MI: Missed tackles
TB: Tackle busts
AT: Attacking kicks
AG: Av gain
CB: Clean break
DR: Run from dummy half
FT: Forty twenty
MG: Missed goals