Huddersfield Giants 16 Workington Town 14

If sheer tenacity was enough to win promotion, then Town would be up there with red-hot League One favourites Toronto Wolfpack come next September on the evidence of their second pre-season friendly in a wintry West Yorkshire.

Dave Clark’s rapidly knitting-together part-timers gave as good as they got for 80 minutes against a largely full-time Huddersfield side, boasting nine players with Super League experience.

The hard-working west Cumbrians led three times and were never behind until a rare lapse in concentration five minutes from the end resulted in a try and subsequent conversion which snatched victory from their grasp.

Still without 2017 testimonial man Jason Mossop (hand) and Alex Szostak (knee), plus unavailable duo Kris Coward and Jamie Doran, Town’s new mix of eager youth and experience blended well into a tight knit unit from the start.

The men in blue and white might have taken the lead as early as the third minute had a flowing move to the right not ended in 18-year-old Seaton amateur Billy Southward being forced into touch as he dived for the corner.

At no stage were Town’s third-tier hopefuls overawed, either by their salubrious hosts Huddersfield, who topped Super League as recently as 2013, or the plush surroundings of the John Smith’s Stadium, which offered arguably the best surface they are likely to play on this year.

Ever enthusiastic work in defence forced the home side into errors which gave Town the lion’s share of early possession.

When the Giants did press, some titanic scramble defence kept out recent recruit from troubled Bradford Adam O’Brien as the hooker tried to dive over from dummy-half.

Town’s tough-tackling tactics did earn captain Brett Phillips a warning after three penalties were conceded in quick succession, but still their line remained unbreached as prop Nathan Mason was this time held up at the end of the last set.

Former Wakefield, St Helens and Salford hooker Stuart Howarth came off the bench and announced his arrival with a big hit on Giants young full-back Darnell McIntosh.

The deadlock was finally broken midway through the half when a break by trialist Ben Milburn was quickly followed by the powerful figure of Stevie Scholey forcing his way through two would-be tacklers to score near the posts.

Carl Forber had the easiest job of converting and Town’s lead was maintained by a try-saving tackle by full-back Tee Ritson on a breaking Tyler Dickinson.

But, four minutes before the break, Australian forward Daniel Smith barged his way over straight from a close-range penalty and young stand-off Isaac Farrell converted to level the score.

Shortly after the restart, and on the back of good field position gifted by a needless late challenge on Callum Phillips, Forber sent Ritson scampering through a gap and over to restore Town’s lead.

Forber’s conversion attempt drifted well wide in the swirling breeze that Huddersfield’s Scotland captain Danny Brough, rested prior to next Wednesday’s visit to fellow Super League side Warrington, repeatedly makes such potent use of.

As steady rain added further to problems already caused by cold hands, McIntosh put Sam Wood clear to score near the corner flag, although Farrell, like Forber, failed to judge the wind as he attempted to edge the Giants ahead with the goal.

Still hunting in numbers whenever a claret and gold shirt threatened, Workington weren’t shy with the ball in hand.

And just after the hour mark, Callum Phillips and Howarth created the opening for Brett Phillips to give Town the lead yet again although, once more, Forber’s boot couldn’t maximise the score.

However, with barely five minutes remaining, Giants’ academy product Jon-Luke Kirby barged over from close range and Farrell kicked the Giants ahead for the first time.

And, despite successfully regaining possession from the short kick-off, Town immediately knocked on to waste what proved to be their last real chance of a surprise attack.

Huddersfield Giants: McIntosh, Mellor, S Wood, Woollard, Ormsby, Farrell, Pinder, M Wood, O’Brien, Mason, Roberts, Johnson, Dickinson. Su bs: Greenwood, Smith, Young, English, Hayes, Kirkby, Hewitt, Richardson, Madders.

Tries: Smith (36), S Wood (50), Kirby (75).

Goals: Farrell 2/3.

Workington Town: Ritson, Rooke, Chamberlain, Hambley, Southward, Forber, C Phillips, Scholey, Dowsett, Curwen, B Phillips, Milburn, Singleton. Subs: Richie, Howarth, Mewse, Barker, Reid, Cameron.

Tries: Scholey (21), Ritson (44), B Phillips (64).

Goals: Forber 1/3. HT: 6-6

Penalties: 8-9

Referee: Steve Race

crowd: 560

Star Man: Tom Curwen