Castleford hope and expect to be told tomorrow that they are still in Super League. What they know for certain is that they are still in the Challenge Cup, thanks to a fiercely committed display in a thrilling quarter-final yesterday.
"We made it hard for ourselves, but we managed to guts it out. We were outstanding – and that's what you've got to be against these teams," said the Cas coach, Terry Matterson.
The Tigers had heroes all over the pitch – both half-backs, Ryan Hudson and full-back Ryan McGoldrick. They were also indebted to a former Cas player, Danny Brough, who missed three conversions in a row.
"Danny hasn't kicked well today but we could have given our half-backs a chance with some better field position," said the Huddersfield coach Nathan Brown, who admitted the result was "heart-breaking."
The game was cagey and strategic for a quarter of an hour, until Rangi Chase decided enough was enough. He went to dummy-half, darted away on one of his familiar cross-field runs and put Kirk Dixon through half a gap. There was still work to be done, but the winger typified the Tigers' determination by grounding the ball despite three defenders hanging on to him.
The second try came six minutes later. This time it was Danny Orr who was the architect and Jordan Thompson who refused to be denied, planting the ball after coming on as a sub.
The Giants finally asserted themselves before half-time. Cas had dealt particularly well with Brough's formidable kicking game, but when he made Youngquest to bring one back from deep, he was forced into touch.
At last Huddersfield had an attacking position and they exploited it when Robinson sold a dummy and sent Scott Grix over to halve the lead. It was whittled away further by a glorious 100-metre try from Jermaine McGillvary, but Brough missed for the first time and Orr restored Castleford's lead with a lovely side-stepping try.
Back came the Giants, through Leroy Cudjoe's leap to take Brough's kick, but brilliant handling put Hudson over in reply and Michael Lawrence's late effort could not quite put Huddersfield within striking distance.
"We didn't give ourselves our best chance," said Brown. "We didn't put our opposition under enough pressure." The other way of looking at that was Castleford's defence was quite magnificent. The spirit that made them unlikely Super League leaders early in the season was back.
Castleford McGoldrick; Dixon, Youngquest, Arundel, Owen; Chase, Orr; Jackson, Milner, Parker, Ferres, Jones, Hudson. Substitutes used Massey, Thompson, Clark, Davies.
Huddersfield Grix; McGillvary, Wardle, Gilmour, Hodgson; Cudjoe, Brough; Crabtree, Robinson, Mason, Lawrence, Patrick, Ferguson. Substitutes used Faiumu, Griffin, Kirmond, Wood.
Referee P Bentham (Warrington).Reuse content