Shenton hat-trick inspires Castleford

Castleford 28 Bradford 22
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The Independent Online

Michael Shenton claimed a superb hat-trick as Castleford edged a hard-fought encounter to condemn rivals Bradford to their sixth successive defeat.

The England centre, 23, touched down in the first half and then added a superb late double to hand the Tigers their third successive win.

Despite the sweltering conditions, the early pace was unrelenting and Bradford quickly pinned the hosts back, then set up Elliott Whitehead for a try.

The Tigers hit back in style as Shenton collected an exquisite long pass from Dean Widders to touch down in the right corner, then Rangi Chase showed some clever footwork to reach the line and, although the ball was ripped from his grasp by two defenders, the try was awarded.

Chris Nero set up Steve Menzies to scamper over for the Bulls to make it 10-8 at the break but, soon after, the home side were level thanks to a penalty from Kirk Dixon. Paul Sykes and Dixon traded kicks before Bradford forged ahead with a superb score on the hour when Menzies showed some brilliant footwork and ushered Brett Kearney over the line.

Castleford responded within minutes as Dixon touched down from a high kick from Mitchell Sargent and then added the extras. The points looked set to be shared but Shenton had other ideas, bursting clear to run around Kearney, then completing his treble when he collected a high kick from Chase – Joe Westerman converting.

Michael Platt's break away for the Bulls came too late.