Castleford win League Leaders’ Shield in style against Wakefield

Castleford Tigers celebrate Mike McMeeken's try against Wakefield Trinity. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Castleford Tigers celebrate Mike McMeeken's try against Wakefield Trinity. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Castleford Tigers supporters are set to celebrate long into the night after seeing their team end their long wait to win the league in fantastic style against local rivals Wakefield Trinity.

After 91 years Castleford can all themselves champions as they proudly sit 12 points clear at the top of the Betfred Super League.

It was somehow fitting that the clinching win should come against a Wakefield team that previous doomed them to relegation.

Trinity, with hopes of a top four finish themselves, made sure it was never easy, but the Tigers produced a scintillating second half display to record a 45-20 win.

Jake Webster led the way as he charged over for four tries while Zak Hardaker also scored twice in a performance that turned from nervy to brilliant.

In their big game Cas could not have made a worse start as they dropped a high kick, lost the ball in a tackle and gave away a penalty, which allowed Liam Finn to put Trinity ahead in the second minute.

When Zak Hardaker’s restart went out on the full it was already looking like one of those nights, but they survived further pressure then on their first serious attack opened their account.

Hardaker ran a good line and broke through a weak looking tackle to charge over for a try converted by Luke Gale.

Wakefield hit back immediately and after Greg Minikin dropped a Finn high kick from the following set the visitors scored their first try, Reece Lyne putting Ben Jones-Bishop over in the corner to level the scores at 6-6.

From their next attack Jacob Miller’s high kick to the corner was taken by Bill Tupou ahead of Minikin, but he was tackled and his attempted offload went forward.

Relieved Cas charged back into attack and Mike McMeeken used every inch of his height to stretch out to get a try, confirmed by the video referee after onfield official James Child had said no try.

Wakefield were next to go close as Matty Ashurst was tackled just short of the line and another promising attack ended when Max Jowitt’s kick went over the back line.

Cas were being hampered by conceding too many penalties, but they did put another good move together and scored again when Hardaker made a great break and passed inside to Jake Webster, who charged over. Gale’s goal made it 18-6.

Gale’s 40-20 kick kept the Tigers on top, but dropped ball in contact lost them their field position and it was Trinity who scored just before half-time as quick thinking by Mason Caton-Brown saw him dive over from dummy-half. There was no goal from Finn, leaving the interval score at 18-10.

Wakefield gave the home fans a few nervy moments as they started the second half strongly and cut the deficit to two points with Danny Kirmond taking Finn’s short pass to charge over for a try converted by Finn.

The key moment followed when Gale’s long looping pass tempted Jones-Bishop out of his line in a bid to intercept. He did not get there and taking the ball with glee was Greg Eden to race in for a try on his return from injury.

Within three minutes the Tigers scored again when Hardaker’s long pass came off Tupou before being collected by Webster who grounded the ball under pressure. Gale’s touchline goal made it 28-16 and the Champagne was coming out of the ice bucket.

It was Castleford producing the Champagne rugby when Roberts’ clever delayed pass sent Webster over to complete his hat-trick.

Gale added a drop-goal from the next set and virtually before Trinity could blink Webster had his fourth try following McMeeken’s strong run and offload.

Jowitt grabbed a consolation try for Wakefield after taking Tupou’s offload, but it was the Tigers who fittingly had the last word with Hardaker backing up Roberts’ fast break to score his second try. Gale’s goal completed the scoring at 45-20.

Scorers - Castleford: Tries Hardaker 2, McMeeken, Webster 4, Eden; goals Gale 6; drop-goal Gale. Wakefield: Tries Jones-Bishop, Caton-Brown, Kirmond, Jowitt; goal Finn 2.

Castleford Tigers: Hardaker; Minikin, Webster, Shenton, Eden; Roberts, Gale 6; Millington, McShane, Sene-Lefao, O Holmes, McMeeken, Massey. Subs: Lynch, Milner, Moors, Foster.

Wakefield: Jowitt; Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Caton-Brown, Tupou; Miller, Finn; Fifita, Hadley, England, Ashurst, Kirmond, Arona. Subs: Williams, Huby, Annakin, Hirst.

Referee: James Child.

Half-time: 18-10.

Attendance: 11,235.