Victory fails to rescue Huddersfield

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The Independent Online

Huddersfield's players were in tears yesterday after discovering that their battling 28-24 victory over London Broncos was not enough to keep them in Super League. The Giants' four-year stay in the top flight came to a dramatic end with relegation rivals Wakefield's victory at Salford.

Huddersfield, who lost their first 15 matches of the season, went close to producing a great escape with a 13-point haul from their last 13 games, but still finished a point adrift of Wakefield, who had two points deducted for breaching the salary cap.

The Giants coach, Tony Smith, confirmed he would be staying on to coach the side in the Northern Ford Premiership but added: ''There are some people worried about their futures. It's very sombre in the dressing-room. It's the weirdest feeling I've ever had. You win a game and play your guts out and get news like that."

Huddersfield, the first team to be relegated from Super League since Oldham in 1997, will receive a ''parachute'' payment and are hoping that wealthy chairman Ken Davy will continue to support the club. Davy was unavailable for comment but Smith added: ''He's a lovely man who has put his heart and soul and more into this club and everybody feels for Ken at this moment. I don't think he deserves this.''

The Giants chief executive, Ralph Rimmer, said the club would accept their fate, despite nagging doubts over Wakefield's ability to sustain a Super League team.

"I am assuming we will be relegated," said Rimmer. "We will have to restructure the club and there is a lot of work to be done. We run ourselves very professionally but we left success on the field too late. Tomorrow we'll get up and start again and rebuild."

* England won the inaugural Student Europa Cup in the former Soviet state of Tartarstan with a 34-16 victory over the host nation in the final in Kazan. The full-back Andy Poynter scored two tries for the victors.

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