7 May 2021

Giants fall short despite gallant performance

Huddersfield Giants 18-23 St Helens.

Huddersfield Giants: Gaskell; McGillvary, Leutele, McQueen, McIntosh; Cogger, Sezer, Yates, Cunningham, Lawrence, Edwards, Jones, Greenwood.

Interchanges: O'Brien, English, Wood, Trout

St Helens: Coote; Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace; Lomax, Fages; Walmsley, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Thompson, Mata'utia, Batchelor.

InterchangesAmor, Welsby, Smith, Paasi.

Huddersfield Giants exited the Challenge Cup at the Quarter Final stage in heart-breaking fashion, as they fell short in a nervy game at Emerald Headingley.

The Giants started brightly, and opened the scoring against the Champions courtesy of a Michael Lawrence try, his first of the year, after a wonderful attacking move. Aidan Sezer added the extras and the Giants had the best start they could have hoped for. 

Huddersfield thought they had added to their lead courtesy of Josh Jones but referee James Child ruled the effort out and the Saints would be fortunate to carry the ball out of their own half. They would get their first score of the match a few minutes later, as Regen Grace got over the line despite fierce pressure from the Giants defence. James Child would refer the try upstairs and after deliberation the try was given. Coote missed the extras, however, so the Giants retained their lead. 

St Helens thought they had scored again with 13 minutes remaining in the half, as Kevin Naiqama hit an outside to inside kick towards the posts and Josh Jones looked to have dribbled the ball to allow the Saints man to score, however after referral, the try was disallowed as Jones had grounded the ball in the in-goal area. 

The two sides would engage in a tense battle throughout the first-half, often with just two points between the teams. Marc Perceval would give the Champions their first lead of the game, before Lachlan Coote converted with just 10 to play, giving St Helens a 10-6 lead, but after applying the pressure for a series of repeat sets, Darnell McIntosh unleashed a magnificent finish to put the Giants on level terms with seconds remaining, before Aidan Sezer, from the touchline, gave the Giants the lead at half-time. 

St Helens would open the scoring in the second half courtesy of the boot of Lachlan Coote, after the Giants conceded a penalty 10 metres out and dutifully dispatched the points. The Saints would continue to press the Giants line and would eventually find their way through after 13 minutes in the second half. 

In a tight, nervy second half, the two sides would continue to test each other, but St Helens began to dominate possession in the game. Theo Fages would drop a goal with 17 on the clock to widen the gap to 7 points, and received back to back penalties leading to the Champions touching down for what they thought was the try to seal the game, but James Child referred the attempt upstairs where it was disallowed. 

Darnell McIntosh found his way over the line after a sustained period of pressure, and Aidan Sezer added the extras to reduce the deficit back to a point as the Giants continued to stay in the fight right up until the final minutes, but Regan Grace would complete his hat-trick with three minutes from time and despite the best efforts of the Huddersfield players, the Giants exit the Challenge Cup at the Quarter Final stage to the Super League champions.