Pocklington consolidated their position at the top of the Yorkshire One table with their biggest win of the season at home to struggling Castleford.
The last time Castleford came to Pocklington, in 2009, they blitzed the home side with 42 second-half points on their way to winning promotion. But the roles have been reversed dramatically in the past few months and Cas arrived with trepidation on Saturday at the opposite end of the table and having shipped a century of points the previous week.
Yara-sponsored Pocklington were quick out of the blocks, with Nick Bennett putting them ahead with a second-minute penalty. When Pocklington play their offloading game with pace and tempo it can be very good indeed, and a burst of high octane rugby saw them move impressively into a 20-point lead inside the first quarter of an hour.
Scrum half Ben Rees wrestled free to hand on to flanker Jack Holbrough who dummied and accelerated under the posts for Bennett to convert. Then prop Chris Morton burst forward and popped the ball up to hooker Dave Birch who juggled and dived to the line. The third touchdown came when wing Billy Hardy scythed through the middle, Holbrough provided the link and blind side Tom Peters galloped over in the corner.
Pocklington then took their foot off the gas and the following 15 minutes were filled with handling errors and needlessly-conceded penalties. The scrappy passage was then ended by a scrappy score in the 32nd minute. Strong running from fullback Bennett and returning wing Dan Pickard took play up to the Cas line, and though the ball went loose at the subsequent lineout, enthusiastic young lock James Wilkinson pounced for his maiden senior score, Bennett converting from the touchline.
Straight away another close-range lineout saw the forwards press in the corner, then the backs in the middle, and when the ball came back again, Cas had run out of defenders and Holbrough flopped over unopposed, Bennett converting.
Pocklington finished the first half on a high, with the best score of the day; from the restart quick hands got the backs running free down the right wing and half a dozen slick offloads delivered at pace switched play back infield for the ebullient second row Chris Hyde to race up in support and go under the posts.
Bennett’s fourth conversion success meant Pocklington were out of sight at 41-0 at the break.
Pocklington opened the second period with a 60-yard attack down the right flank, only to lose the ball with the line in sight. Holbrough ducked and weaved to take them back up the middle then the midfield backs shipped the ball smartly wide for Bennett to cross in the corner and convert.
More scrappy play followed, then the home defence had to scramble back to thwart a rare Castleford breakaway. Pocklington got back on track as good threequarter play sent Hardy flying down the left from halfway and he cut back inside the posts for Bennett to convert.
To their credit, weary Castleford never stopped trying, despite having neither the pace nor the finesse to find a finish after a couple of line breaks.
Those brief scares galvanized Pocklington into a strong finish. They attacked blind off the base of a scrum inside their own half to send Bennett slicing through and replacement back row Ben Stephenson charged up in support to score. Then wing Pickard burst out of his half and prop Morton was on hand to run in his side’s tenth try, Bennett converting.
A couple of promising moves ended with the last pass going to ground, before Pocklington finished things off with another score.
Pocklington’s first ten touchdowns had all been of their own making, with eight of them finished by the forwards supporting good approach play from the backs. None had been the result of a Castleford error until the last play of the day when Cas sliced a clearance sideways into the grateful arms of Hardy who strolled unopposed to the posts, where replacement Henry Mitchell popped over the drop kick conversion to the sound of the final whistle.