Jake Trueman’s 17-minute first half hat-trick on his first senior start for Castleford Tigers helped the Betfred Super League Leaders to a fantastic away victory over Wigan Warriors.
Despite being without both first choice half-backs the Tigers ran up a 20-point half-time lead at the DW Stadium and withstood a Wigan fight back to go on to beat their hosts 38-20.
The result means Cas will top the table at the end by at least 10 points - the biggest margin ever recorded since Super League came into existence.
With much less at stake for the Tigers than their opponents, who now stand outside the top four, they could have been forgiven for taking it easier, but they continued their winning rugby in great style in the first 40 minutes.
Teenage half-back Trueman, in the side in place of Luke Gale, who had an appendix operation this week, was quickly in on the action as his grubber kick set up Greg Eden for the opening try, taking the winger to within one of the Castleford tries in a season record set last year by Denny Solomona.
The Tigers showed their determination as they withstood some strong pressure from their hosts in a period that followed the opening score. But after coming through well they crossed the Wigan line again, Adam Milner’s kick this time leading to a try as Trueman pounced on the ball in the in-goal area for his first try in Cas colours. Paul McShane’s goal made it 10-0.
The 18-year-old Trueman, in only his second Super League game, further stunned the Warriors as he raced in for a second try.
And his dream game continued when he completed his hat-trick before half-time when running at the home defence on the last tackle and superbly rounding full-back Sam Tomkins for a brilliant try that made it 20-0 at the break.
Cas continued their good work at the start of the second half as they scored again within five minutes, Greg Minikin completing a good move for a try to which stand-in kicker McShane added the extras from the touchline.
Wigan, desperate for victory to stay in the top four, hit back and finally put points on the board with Tom Davies going over.
A try by Sam Tomkins followed and it was really game on again with about 15 minutes remaining after Thomas Leuluai sneaked over to cut the deficit to 12 points.
Skipper Michael Shenton, ended any Castleford nerves, however, as he forced his way over from close range for a match clinching try.
Wigan kept going and were rewarded again with their former Cas player, Willie Isa, touching down, but it was fitting that the Tigers had the last word when Zak Hardaker’s kick through led to Minikin scoring his second try of the day and McShane’s fifth goal made it 38-20.
Scorers - Wigan: Tries Davies, S Tomkins, Leuluai, Isa; goals Williams 2. Castleford: Tries Eden, Trueman 3, Minikin 2, Shenton; goals McShane 5.
Wigan Warriors: S Tomkins; Davies, Gelling, Gildart, Burgess; Williams, Leuluai; Nuuausala, McIlorum, Clubb, Bateman, Farrell, J Tomkins. Subs: Sutton, Isa, Powell, Tautai.
Castleford Tigers: Hardaker; Minikin, Webster, Shenton, Eden; McShane, Trueman; Millington, Milner, Foster, O Holmes, McMeeken, Massey. Subs: Sene-Lefao, Cook, Springer, T Holmes.
Referee: Ben Thaler.