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Saturday, 12 October, 2002, 19:54 GMT 20:54 UK
Giants bounce back in style
Huddersfield celebrate their Grand Final win
The Giants are back in the top flight
Huddersfield 38-16 Leigh

Huddersfield roared back into Super League at the first attempt with a comprehensive six-try victory over Leigh in Saturday's Northern Ford Premiership (NFP) Grand Final.

A competition-record crowd of 9,051 at Widnes saw the Giants equal Wigan's 15-year-old record of 29 successive victories in style.

Wingers Hefin O'Hare and Marcus St Hilaire each touched down twice.

And London Broncos-bound scrum-half Chris Thorman ended his Huddersfield career with a man of the match performance capped by a superb solo try that put the game beyond underdogs Leigh.

  Match facts
Huddersfield 38
Tries: O'Hare (2), St Hilaire (2), Thorman, Gene
Goals: McNamara (7)
Leigh 16
Tries: Cardoza, Marns, Hamilton
Goals: Turley (2)

The Centurions, who finished 10 points behind the minor premiers and conceded 73 points in their two matches against them, threatened to upset the odds with fiery bursts at the start of each half.

Leigh scored the first try on eight minutes when skilful second rower Simon Baldwin offloaded superbly from a two-man tackle to get the unmarked Dale Cardoza over.

The experienced Baldwin was also the provider for an 18th-minute touchdown from winger Oli Marns, but it was from one of his wild passes that Huddersfield scored their first try.


We're back in Super League and hopefully the club can go from strength to strength
Huddersfield coach Tony Smith

Giants hooker Paul March snaffled the pass and sent the speedy O'Hare racing 40 metres to the line.

And pace was the key factor behind Huddersfield's second try five minutes before the break, when former Leeds man St Hilaire raced onto a kick from Stanley Gene.

Huddersfield survived another onslaught at the start of the second half before extending their lead on 47 minutes.

Leigh's Dave Whittle
Leigh's Dave Whittle contemplates defeat
Thorman, voted player of the year by his NFP peers this week, outfoxed Bobbie Goulding by slipping through the Leigh defence from the base of a scrum for a fine solo try.

The score sparked an outbreak of fighting that saw Huddersfield's Rob Roberts and Leigh's David Whittle sin-binned.

And the Giants were first to make use of the extra space when impressive centre Graeme Hallas went 50 metres before handing St Hilaire his second try.

Gene then got in on the act, collecting Thorman's delicate chip and rounding two defenders for a magnificent opportunist try.


Huddersfield showed us what professionalism is all about
Leigh's Paul Terzis

Substitute John Hamilton gained a consolation try for the Centurions with Neil Turley kicking his second goal.

But, when skipper Adam Bristow was sin-binned for a professional foul, the Giants pounced again, with O'Hare racing in for his 36th try of the season.

"My feeling is one of almost relief really," said Australian Smith afterwards.

"I've got a flight booked home for the 25th and I knew it would be either for a month or forever. I know I'm coming back now.

"I've got to give a lot of credit to Leigh, who played exceptionally well.

"They took the game to us and my heart was pumping a bit. At times I had little bits of doubt here and there.

"But we're back in Super League and hopefully the club can go from strength to strength."


Huddersfield: Cooper, O'Hare, Crabtree, Hallas, St Hilaire, Gene, Thorman, Slicker, March, Wittenberg, Atkins, Roberts, McNamara.
Replacements: Cruckshank, Molyneux, Turner, Rice.

Leigh: Turley, Felton, Cardoza, Roper, Marns, Swann, Goulding, Matautia, Rowley, Bradbury, Baldwin, Isherwood, Bristow.
Replacements: Price., Duffy, Hamilton, Whittle.

Referee: Karl Kirkpatrick (Warrington)

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's David Oates
"Huddersfield are back in the big time"
See also:

09 Oct 02 | Rugby League
08 Oct 02 | Rugby League
07 Oct 02 | Rugby League
06 Oct 02 | Rugby League
Links to more Rugby League stories are at the foot of the page.


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