Castleford beat Wakefield 45-20 to claim first League Leaders' Shield in their history
Last Updated: 18/08/17 8:24am
Veteran centre Jake Webster produced four tries to help Castleford claim their place in history as they beat Wakefield 45-20.
The 33-year-old former New Zealand international scored half of his side's tries as the hugely impressive Tigers duly lifted the League Leaders' Shield for the first time in the club's 91-year history.
An ultimately comfortable 45-20 victory over neighbours Wakefield in front of a raucous, near-capacity 11,235 crowd at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle enabled Castleford to get their hands on the elusive trophy with four games to spare.
It guarantees Daryl Powell's men a home semi-final, putting them just 80 minutes from a maiden Grand Final appearance at Old Trafford, and also earns them a place in the prestigious 2018 Dacia World Club Series.
The Tigers were at full strength for their biggest match of the year, with the return of skipper Michael Shenton, prolific winger Greg Eden, long-serving prop Andy Lynch and star second rower Junior Moors, but they looked nervous at the start.
Greg Minikin and Webster came up with uncharacteristic handling errors inside the first two minutes and former Castleford scrum-half Liam Finn nudged Wakefield ahead with a penalty goal.
It was against the run of play when Castleford scored their first try, Zak Hardaker taking Ben Roberts' pass to glide over for his 10th of the season, and that calmed their nerves.
Luke Gale kicked the first of his six goals to make it 6-2 but Wakefield drew level on 15 minutes when Dean Hadley, deputising at hooker for the injured Kyle Wood, combined with Reece Lyne to get winger Ben Jones-Bishop over for his 19th try of the season.
A crucial one-on-one ball steal by hooker Paul McShane then created the position for England second rower Mike McMeeken to stretch out of a three-man tackle to plant the ball on the line. Referee James Child had his doubts but
video official Phil Bentham awarded the score after studying slow-motion replays.
That roused the crowd and the old ground physically shook on 32 minutes when Hardaker demonstrated his silky skills to carve out an opening and Webster ran onto his pass superbly to score his first try.
Gale's third goal made it 18-6 and the home supporters began to party.
However, Trinity were in no mood to lie down and they struck back with tries either side of half-time to once more put the game in the balance.
Powell will not have been impressed by his side's defence as centre Mason Caton-Brown went over three minutes before half-time while Gale was at fault as Wakefield captain Danny Kirmond skipped out of his tackle to go over seven minutes into the second half.
Finn's second goal cut the gap to just two points but the game was put beyond Trinity in a decisive four-minute spell in the third quarter.
Eden collected Gale's cut-out pass to grab his 35th try of the campaign and Webster went over for his second of the match after Wakefield winger Bill Tupou knocked down Hardaker's pass into his grateful arms.
As the game opened up in the final quarter, Webster completed his hat-trick on 62 minutes and proved unstoppable eight minutes later as he charged over from Roberts' pass for try number four.
Wakefield's young full-back Max Jowitt grabbed a consolation try for his side but Castleford deservedly had the final say when Hardaker romped over for his second try to put the finishing touches to a landmark victory.