HUDDERSFIELD Giants went down 32-20 to Warrington Wolves in a tough and absorbing Junior Academy First Division Grand Final at Wilderspool.
The visitors went into last night's contest having won their last eight on the trot, but this proved one contest too far.
And, unfortunately, the Under 18s contributed significantly to their own downfall, producing a number of glaring errors to gift their hosts at least three of their six touchdowns.
Yet even in defeat the Giants still had the star of the show in Philip Joseph, who was a clear Grand Final man of the match award winner.
The announcement was greeted favourably by all 800 inside the famous old ground, underlining the impact the powerful centre had on the game.
Warrington found the former Newsome Panthers player too hot to handle, but even his efforts couldn't prevent the Wolves claiming a trophy they fully deserved as their more polished team effort won the day.
But the early signs did suggest that the Giants had the skills to claim the glory.
A magnificent early Thomas Hemingway 40-20 kick and strong running from the likes of prop Jason Southwell, hooker Ben Clare and second-rower Peter Robinson immediately had the home team on the back foot.
And it was no great surprise when Joseph opened the scoring in the ninth minute, breaking powerfully from deep to outpace the cover and race over for a try converted by Hemingway.
Unfortunately, the visitors were unable to build on the bright start and were 22-6 adrift by the break.
Super League squad man Jamie Durbin was having an increasing influence on the game, and the scrum half played a key role in creating tries for Craig Ashall and Steve Sutcliffe, converted by Nick Owen.
That seemed to knock the Giants out of their stride, and their concentration was disrupted even further when Glen Holdsworth - in a clear case of mistaken identity - and Durbin were sent to the sin-bin for their part in a 30th-minute free-for-all.
Mistakes by Marcus George and Ben Feehan enabled the Wolves to score further tries through Ian Wilkinson and Matt Wilson, and the final was slipping away from the visitors.
But this Huddersfield side have always been noted for their battling qualities and never-say- die attitude, and these qualities were once again on show at the start of the second half.
Within four minutes of the restart, the deficit was cut as increasingly influential stand-off Hemingway linked with Robinson to send Symon Sutherland diving over in the corner.
Then in the 55th minute, Feehan collected on his own 40m line, burst past his marker and sprinted clear of the cover to score under the posts for Hemingway to add the extras.
It was now 22-16, and four minutes later it was 22-20.
Hemingway's dart to the line caught Warrington on the back foot and his perfectly-timed pass enabled George to finish off in the corner.
While Hemingway failed to add the conversion, the Giants were clearly the stronger side.
But Scott Wilkinson spilled the ball attempting to collect the kick-off and from the resulting scrum, Sutcliffe touched down from close range on the last tackle.
In an instant the balance of power had shifted and with five minutes remaining, full-back Owen raced into the line to score a match-clinching converted try.
It was a bitterly disappointing end for the Giants, although they did play a full part in what was a cracking Grand Final.
Warrington Wolves: Owen; Pennington, Wilkinson, Wilson, Berry; Ashall, Durbin; Pitt, Sutcliffe, Baines, Grundy, Elston, Jarvis. Subs (all used): Saxon, Johnson, Clarke, Bryers.
Tries: Ashall (16mins), Sutcliffe (27mins), Wilkinson (37mins), Wilson (39mins & 61mins), Owen (75mins).
Goals: Owen 4 from 6.
Huddersfield Giants: Knight; George, Joseph, Feehan, Sutherland; Hemingway, Hawkyard; Southwell, Clare, Holdsworth, Gledhill, Robinson, Samuel. Subs (all used): Mennell, Wilkinson, Dunbar, Watson.
Tries: Joseph (9mins), Sutherland (44mins), Feehan (55mins), George (59mins).
Goals: Hemingway 2 from 5.
Referee: Phil Bentham (Bolton).