CASTLEFORD TIGERS shrugged off the loss of England scrum-half Luke Gale to dig out a 10th successive win over derby rivals Wakefield Trinity.
The Man of Steel initially carried on after suffering a first-half injury, strapping up his knee, but then failed to return for the second period.
Even though they were already without first-choice stand-off Benny Roberts, it did not deter Castleford, though, who saw Jamie Ellis take greater control of organising and they secured the Adam Watene Trophy.
In miserable conditions at Wheldon Road, Daryl Powell’s side – who kicked four penalty goals with the game tight for the majority – essentially did just enough to get over their opponents; it has been the story of their season so far.
Adam Milner’s 56th-minute try did the real damage, Paul McShane adding some gloss late on, the hooker scampering 50m down the touchline after another Trinity pass went to ground.
Troubled Wakefield have now won just one of their last eight games, a worrying sign for Chris Chester’s team.
He made a raft of changes here after last week’s embarrassing 38-4 defeat at Salford, including leaving out Liam Finn and Scott Grix, and the effort was clearly much improved.
But they lacked control at crucial moments.
That said, they were seething when, trailing 10-4 early in the second period, Max Jowitt had an effort ruled out by video referee Phil Bentham.
The young full-back, preferred to regular No 1 Grix, had exchanged passes brilliantly with Tom Johnstone down the left flank but it was pulled back for yet another debatable obstruction.
Soon after, Greg Minikin thought he was in for his second try of the night but, this time, footage clearly showed the Castleford winger had a knee marginally in touch.
It mattered not for the hosts, however, as, even though Ellis missed a simple penalty goal, Milner popped up for the try that would seal victory.
Wakefield’s defence was much improved on the previous week which made it all the more galling they somehow allowed the loose forward to softly smuggle himself over from dummy-half.
By that point, Milner had switched from loose forward to hooker with McShane moving to half-back to cover Gale’s absence.
In the heavy conditions that seem to have dominated the first half of this season, it has almost become a common trend for sides to take penalty goals when points are on offer early on.
Castleford - with prop Liam Watts in terrific form - did just that last night as Gale slotted three such kicks in the opening 20 minutes to give his side a 6-0 lead.
Wakefield were too erratic in those early stages, both with their ball control and also ill-discipline.
They also saw Chris Annakin, the loose forward making his first appearance for them this season, suffer more wretched bad luck.
His knee was caught in a bad position as he attempted to tackle England’s Mike McMeeken and, so, he had to be helped off the field after just 14 minutes.
Annakin, such a promising explosive forward, missed almost 12 months of action with a knee injury before making his Super League return last July but the 27-year-old has been dogged by injuries and just cannot seem to get a run of games going.
Once Pauli Pauli, playing in his preferred back-row slot, overcame his initial ill-discipline, he did become Trinity’s most potent forward but their chances at Castleford’s end were limited.
That said, even though Tigers forced three first-half drop-outs, they did not capitalise from any.
Their only try came when Jowitt got things wrong trying to deal with Gale’s chip and conceded a scrum five metres out. In the next set, Ellis found a rare moment of clarity with a lovely long pass for Minikin to cross in the 27th minute. Ellis was wide with the conversion.
On the back of a few penalties, Wakefield were able to finally force some pressure towards the end of the first half and they replied via Tyler Randell.
The Australian hooker made a real impact off the bench but the Castleford defence will be furious with they allowed him to dummy over untouched from acting-half. Ryan Hampshire hit an upright, though, with the simple conversion attempt so his side went in 10-4 down. They would not score again.
Castleford Tigers: Trueman; Minikin, Webster, Wardle, Shenton, Ellis, Gale, Watts, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Holmes, McMeeken, Milner. Substitutes: Moors, Millington, Cook, Springer.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Tupou, Johnstone, Miller, Hampshire, England, Wood, Hirst, Ashurst, Pauli, Annakin. Substitutes: Randell, Arona, Huby, Batchelor.
Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).