Huddersfield Giants produced a strong second-half performance to fend off Wakefield Trinity booking their place in the quarter-finals of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup, the final score 24-14.
Despite their struggling league form, the Giants showed their class with tries from Ukuma Ta’ai, Adam O’Brien, Matty English and Lee Gaskell. Danny Brough kicked four goals on his return, while Ryan Hampshire and Mason Caton-Brown crossed for the visitors.
Caton-Brown opened the scoring through a Jacob Miller kick, yet Liam Finn needed a further penalty attempt to make the scores 6-0.
The home side drew level through fortunate circumstances as Tom Johnstone spilt an attempted intercept into the in goal for O’Brien to touch down.
Wakefield looked to push on late in the second half as a series of penalties saw Kruise Leeming sent to the bin, yet desperate Giants defence limited Trinity to just a penalty goal.
With a narrow two-point deficit to makeup, Huddersfield came out firing in the second half as youngster Matty English crashed over just five minutes after the re-start.
The hosts then moved to tighten their grip on the tie as Ta’ai crossed the whitewash before setting up Lee Gaskell for a further try. Hampshire set up a nervous final few minutes however with a ten-point gap Huddersfield held on for the victory.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Hard work starts now for the Giants
It was the perfect farewell performance for Chris Thorman as the club welcomes Simon Woolford to take over, however, as their injury crisis eases slightly it’s time to start performing and distance themselves from the bottom half of the Super League table.
Knockout competitions provide the platform to go out and put it all on the line, whereas the league is a different beast. Points are at a premium and the Giants need to start picking some up.
Wakefield’s consistency issues continue
It’s been the story of their season so far after a lightning start Trinity have had a stop-start season and with the season whipping into shape dropping out of the challenge cup may not be the worst thing.
Fully focused on the league campaign now, Chris Chester can set his men out to better last years fifth place finish, yet with Scott Grix set for a spell on the sidelines trying to bed the consistency may prove slightly more difficult.
Man Of The Match- Matty English (Huddersfield Giants)
The England academy prop has gone from strength to strength so far this season and shows everything needed for the Giants to get back to their best.
The grit and determination showed in his playing style is a pleasing sight for fans and players alike. Grabbing his first senior try in the tie was the icing on the cake for the youngster as he looks to establish himself further in the first team.
Huddersfield Giants- 24
Tries: O’Brien, Ta’ai, Gaskell, English
Goals: Brough (x4)
Drop Goals: n/a
Wakefield Trinity- 14
Tries: Caton-Brown, Hampshire
Goals: Finn (x3)
Drop Goals: n/a
Huddersfield Giants: Rankin, McGillvary; Gaskell, Mamo, McIntosh, Turner; Brough, Ikahihifo; O’Brien, Clough, Mellor, Ta’ai, Hinchcliffe.
Replacements: Leeming, Lawrence, Smith, English.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt; Caton-Brown, Tupou, Arundel, Johnstone; Miller, Finn; England, Wood, Fifita, Ashurst, Pauli, Horo.
Replacements: Hampshire, Hirst, Arona, Batchelor.