Castleford’s impressive run came to an end at the hands of one of the hottest teams in Super League.
Huddersfield booked their place in the Super 8s with a storming 32-18 triumph to stun the Tigers night.
England winger Jermaine McGillvary led the visitors’ charge with a well-taken hattrick to deny the Tigers the chance to move up to second in the Super League table with one week of the regular season remaining.
The victory made it five wins from the last six games for head coach Simon Woolford’s resurgent Giants, whose form in the second half of the campaign could make them a genuine threat in the play-off scrap to make it to the Old Trafford Grand Final in October.
Castleford set off like a house on fire to tear straight into a Huddersfield side that initially looked way off the pace, racing into a 12-0 lead within 10 minutes.
They opened their account after seven minutes when two soft Giants penalties gave Jamie Ellis the chance to step through against his former club for a try he also converted.
And the lead was doubled just three minutes later when Paul McShane’s blindside burst bamboozled the visiting defence and gave him the space to feed Michael Shenton, who in turn sent Jake Trueman strolling over for a second converted score.
But as the half wore on, the Giants began to wake up to the challenge. Midway through the period they halved the deficit when Danny Brough’s long pass enabled Leroy Cudjoe to put McGillvary over in the corner, with Brough landing the touchline conversion.
Then seven minutes later Jordan Rankin and Adam O’Brien combined superbly for Cudjoe to send McGillvary over for his second. Although Brough failed to add the extras, he was on target with a 32nd-minute penalty to level the scores.
McShane’s neat pass put Junior Moors over from close range four minutes later for converted try number three to restore Castleford’s lead. But, on the stroke of half-time, Brough worked his magic to release Lee Gaskell to dummy his way over and Brough again goaled to make it 18-18 at the break. And within four minutes of the restart, the visitors were ahead for the first time when the Castleford defence failed to react to a Brough grubber and Cudjoe made them pay by touching down in the corner, too far out for the scrum-half to add the extras.
Gaskell then showed real class to send Darnell McIntosh over to make it 26-18.
With the Giants in the ascendancy, it was no surprise when they further extended their advantage with a cracking try. Great approach play paved the way for Rankin’s long, looping pass which put McGillvary over to complete his treble.
McIntosh ‘bombed’ a golden chance to extend the lead on the hour mark by taking the wrong option on the halfway line.
Brough banged over a penalty moments later to take them three scores ahead.
The impressive Gaskell just lost possession of the ball as he attempted to score with 11 minutes remaining, before Eden was denied for a second time by the television match officials.
Castleford: Laulu-Togagae, Clare, Webster, Shenton, Eden, Ellis, Trueman, Watts, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Holmes, Millington, Milner. Substitutes: Moors, Massey, Cook, Clark.
Huddersfield: Rankin, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Turner, McIntosh, Gaskell, Brough, Clough, O’Brien, Lawrence, Mellor, Murphy, Ta’ai. Substitutes: Hinchcliffe, Ferguson, Smith, Roberts.
Referee: Chris Kendall (RFL).