The delayed kick off at the Totally Wicked Stadium, due to issues on the M62 before the earlier kick-off between Hull KR and the Castleford Tigers, pitched the Huddersfield Giants and the Wakefield Wildcats in a bottom half of the table clash.
The Giants still have a remote chance of making the top four, but they knew that a defeat at the hands of bottom club Wakefield would end those hopes. Wakefield’s own quest for 2020 was now to avoid ending the season with the wooden spoon and after KR lost earlier in the evening a win would put them level with the Robins.
The Giants were big favourites with the bookies, Trinity getting a fourteen-point start on the coupon.
It took seventeen minutes for Wakefield to make their dominance count when Matty Ashurst collected a Jacob Miller grubber kick as the Giants defence failed to turn and get back to defend. Ryan Hampshire added the conversion for a 6-0 lead.
The Giants were back on level terms on twenty-two, after the benefitted from a couple of quick penalties. Aidan Sezer took a pass on the ten-metre line and dummied right before dipping the shoulder and going in. Lee Gaskell added the extras for 6-6.
A Sezer cross-field kick was collected by a leaping Ben Jones-Bishop who passed to Jordan Turner to go in on the overlap for the four pointer. Gaskell was unable to add the extra two, but the Giants hit the front, just four minutes before the interval.
There was very little to choose between two scrapping sides, Trinity bossed the opening twenty minutes but the second twenty were taken by the Giants as they fought back to level before taking the lead.
Both sides could, and probably should, have scored within the opening five minutes of the second half.
On fifty-one Sam Wood extended the Giants lead taking the miss-out pass wide on the right wing and fending off the tackler to go down the wing and ground by the corner flag. Gaskell again missed the extras, the Giants eight points ahead.
Three minutes later and Wakefield got themselves back in the game. Ben Jones-Bishop picked up a loose Giants pass and as the ball was moved wide left from Max Jowitt to Tom Johnstone found space wide on the overlap to go over on the touchline. Hampshire added the conversion to put his side back within two.
Ten from time Jones-Bishop had a try ruled out by the video referee for an offside decision on Kyle Wood. But on seventy-five Jacob Miller stripped the ball from Sam Wood and then picked up the loose ball, passing it out to Tom Johnstone to walk in for his second of the night, rounding closer to the sticks to improve the angle for Hampshire to kick the goal for an 18-14 lead.
The Giants pushed in the closing minutes but an embattled Trinity held on for the win.
It was a see-saw game, not of the highest quality, but there was plenty of grit and determination from both sides. Chris Chester’s side won for the first time in ten games and went level on points percentage with Hull KR. Any hope that the Giants had of the play-off are now in tatters, both sides looking to put 2020 behind them and move on to see what next year brings.
Huddersfield Giants: Senior, Wood (T), Turner (T), Cudjoe, Wardle Jake, Gaskell (G), Sezer (T), English, Moore, McQueen, Edwards, Wardle Joe, Lawrence. Subs: Russell, Gavet, Matagi, Taai.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt, Johnstone (2T), Croft, Lyne, Jones-Bishop, Hampshire (3G), Miller, Arona, Crowther, Tanginoa, Ashurst (T), Batchelor, Battye. Subs: Wood K, Fifita, Tangata, Aydin.
Half Time: 10-6.
Full Time: 14-18.
Venue: Totally Wicked Stadium, St Helens.