HUDDERSFIELD Giants Under 20s held off a late Hull KR revival to secure a thrilling 30-28 Valvoline Cup triumph over Hull KR at Laund Hill.
With 10 minutes remaining, the home side were 30-16 ahead and looked in a very comfortable position to build on last week’s stunning win over leaders Hull FC.
But in the 70th minute, Ben Hardcastle raced over for a solo score and added the conversion before releasing former Bradford Bulls back-rower Matt Cook to charge away and touch down under the posts three minutes later.
Hardcastle again added the extras and, all of a sudden, the Giants were clinging on to a precarious two-point advantage.
Only last-ditch defence was able to hold Rovers out at that stage.
But with 30 seconds remaining, the visitors were awarded a penalty just inside the Huddersfield half and 10m from the left of the posts, giving Hardcastle the chance to level the scores.
However, unlike Brett Hodgson in the thrilling Super League clash the night before, the Hull KR man was unable to land the goal and earn his side a point – a point the Robins had for so long never looked like bagging.
For much of the contest the Giants had been the dominant power, with scrum half Gregg McNally pulling most of the attacking strings.
Within five minutes they had taken the lead as winger Greg Johnson raced across the front of the defence and popped up a pass for Adam Walker to charge over with ease for McNally to goal.
It was a further 15 minutes before the hosts struck again as McNally took the ball to the line and fed the supporting Jacob Fairbank to crash over.
And four minutes later the lively McNally intercepted a stray KR pass on halfway and strolled his way to the line to make it 18-0.
By half-time, however, the tide looked to be turning as Josh Wilson and Aaron Ollett crossed for scores and Hardcastle landed a conversion to make it 18-10.
The first of Jermaine McGillvary’s two tries from a McNally kick put the Giants back in control at 22-10 10 minutes after the restart.
But Wilson’s second try gave Rovers renewed hope, with McGillvary’s second and a McNally penalty to make it 30-16 in the 65th minute far from wrapping up the contest.
Huddersfield’s next Under 20s clash was scheduled for Castleford on Thursday.
But it is now being played on Sunday at 12.45pm in a curtain-raiser to the Tigers v Giants Super League clash at The Jungle.