HUDDERSFIELD Giants' two Academy sides suffered major blows in their bid for play-off glory this weekend.
The Senior Academy side missed out on an automatic place in the First Division Grand Final after being blown away by Leigh Centurions, eventually going down 48-12 at The Coliseum.
They will, however, have a second bite of the cherry, with a win at Featherstone in the qualifying semi-final on Thursday (7.30) guaranteeing a return to Leigh in the Grand Final itself. The date to be confirmed.
The news was a little better for the Junior Academy, although they had to settle for a 14-14 draw at Featherstone, when a win would have secured a top-of-the-table finish and an easier route towards their First Division Grand Final.
But, unfortunately, the tough nature of that Rovers contest took its toll on the Senior Academy side at Leigh.
Because of the injury crisis at first-team level, it meant nine members of the Under 18s side had to back-up for the Under 21s, who have obviously lost several players to make up the numbers in Jon Sharp's Super League squad.
As a result, the outcome against a vastly-experienced Leigh side was inevitable.
Huddersfield did get off to a very promising start, with Danny Samuels giving his side an early lead with a try, converted by Danny Garside.
By half-time, however, Leigh had taken complete control and were in the driving seat at 22-6.
The home side maintained that momentum in the second half, with the Giants grabbing a late converted consolation try from Karl Mills.
But in the Junior Academy game, it was a case of Huddersfield conceding a late try which resulted in the sides sharing the spoils.
Thomas Hemingway gave his side a flying start with a superb solo try in the opening minutes and then landed a superb touchline conversion.
Featherstone hit back to make it 6-4 at the break, but when James Martin grabbed a converted try and half-back Hemingway added a penalty to make it 14-4 with 10 minutres remaining it looked as if the Giants had triumphed.
But two Rovers tries and a conversion in the closing moments denied the visitors an excellent win.