Castleford (8) 28
Tries: Shenton 3, Chase, Dixon Goals: Dixon 3, Westerman
Bradford (10) 22
Tries: Whitehead, Menzies, Kearney, Platt Goals: Sykes 3
Shenton has run in seven tries in 15 Super League appearances this season
Michael Shenton ran in a hat-trick as Castleford beat Bradford Bulls to move within a point of a top eight place.
The Bulls led 10-8 at the break after tries from Elliott Whitehead and Steve Menzies in response to efforts from Castleford duo Shenton and Rangi Chase.
But, after a competitive second-half in which the lead kept swapping hands, Cas hung on for their third straight win.
Shenton's two late efforts to complete his treble, to add to Kirk Dixon's try, sealed the Bulls' sixth straight loss.
It was a victory which takes Cas within a point of eight-placed Bradford - and it was particularly frustrating for Bulls coach Steve McNamara, who, in his other role as England coach, had Shenton on his side scoring two tries against France just a fortnight ago.
In sweltering conditions, Bradford produced the brighter start when, on six minutes, Whitehead collected Paul Sykes' pass to cross the line.
Sykes converted with ease but the response from the Tigers was impressive, Dean Widders executing an exquisite long pass for Shenton to run in his first try.
Joe Westerman's conversion was off target but Castleford continued to press, Chase extending their lead after some clever footwork.
Westerman was again off target with the conversion and that allowed Bradford to hit back and claim a half-time 10-8 lead thanks to centre Chris Nero setting up a second try on 28 minutes through Menzies, Sykes failing with the conversion.
Three minutes before the break, Castleford lost former Bulls forward Brett Ferres to the sin-bin following a challenge which a sparked a flare-up involving players from both sides.
And Westerman's misery with the boot continued on the stroke of half-time when he was wide with a penalty attempt.
An early second-half Dixon penalty drew the sides level before Bradford struck again, Menzies setting up Kearney to put Bradford back in front.
Sykes converted but Castleford were then level within minutes as Dixon touched down from a Mitchell Sargent kick before adding the extras.
The points looked set to be shared before Shenton, out of contract at the end of the season, again added to his admirers by bursting clear to run around Kearney.
Three minutes later the England centre completed his hat-trick when he touched down Chase's high ball, Westerman converting for his only successful kick of the game.
Platt then broke away to hand Bradford hope but Sykes missed with his right flank touchline conversion.
Castleford boss Terry Matterson said:
"Out of the three straight wins we've now had, that was certainly the best.
"It has been a difficult year with injuries and there have been some tough times, but we've just about got everyone back now.
"We've worked hard to keep Michael Shenton before and will do so again."
Bradford Bulls coach Steve McNamara said:
"Michael Shenton has come back from injury and come up with a couple of quality finishes.
"But I was disappointed with both tries as we could have done a whole lot more.
"We would have liked to push on today but every time we did that we gave away a penalty and were punished.
"We got some great opportunities and didn't quite take them. There was maybe a bit of edginess about us, but there didn't need to be. We're still in the mix for the top eight. It's our job to get ourselves out of this lull."
Castleford: McGoldrick, Dixon, Shenton, Arundel, Wainwright, Widders, Chase, Higgins, Hudson, Huby, Ferres, Snitch, Westerman.
Replacements: Sargent, Jones, Jackson, Wood.
Bradford: Kearney, Sheriffe, Platt, Nero, Halley, Sykes, Southernwood, Lynch, L'Estrange, Hall, Whitehead, Langley, Menzies.
Replacements: Kopczak, Worrincy, Godwin, Addy.
Referee: Ben Thaler (Wakefield).