Giant killing Hawks start as favourites

Hunslet will start out as favourites when they host Oldham in the fourth round of the Carnegie Challenge Cup at South Leeds Stadium on Sunday – although that has not always been the case in recent years.
 
Seventy six years have elapsed since the current Co-operative Championship One leaders won at Wembley and their last Challenge Cup final appearance came in 1965, when they were beaten by Wigan.
 
In the intervening four and a half decades Hunslet have invariably found themselves as underdogs – but as so often happens in the Challenge Cup, the underdogs have sometimes had their day.
 
Hunslet’s ability to throw the formbook out of the window has been underlined by two of their most famous Challenge Cup tie victories being named in the Top 10 giant-killing acts in the tournament’s 113-year history.
 
The RFL recently asked supporters to identify the greatest Challenge Cup giant-killing act of all time and the results of the official poll are being revealed all this week.
 
At Number Six in the list of all-time shocks is Hunslet’s 18-14 fourth round victory over Huddersfield in 2003, the Giants’ first defeat for 12 months.
 
Bryn Powell, Jonlee Lockwood and Dan Briggs all scored tries for Hunslet and Jon Liddell added three goals as the Hawks dominated the newly-promoted Super League club.
 
Hunslet fan Simon Hirst, one of many people to nominate the tie, recalled: “Huddersfield were on course to break the record of most won consecutive games when they travelled to South Leeds Stadium and were close to full strength.
 
“Hunslet had a few a names missing that day – and were playing in National League, two tiers below Huddersfield – and even had people playing out of position so the odds for them to win was immense.
 
“However, with Danny Fearon and Phil Hasty playing a brilliant game and some fantastic defence, Hunslet pulled off the unthinkable and Huddersfield were visible stunned.”
 
Stunned also describes Hull Kingston Rovers’ emotions when they were beaten 12-11 at Hunslet in the first round of the Challenge Cup in 1983, a match which ranks as the sixth biggest giant-killing act in the Cup’s history.
 
Rovers, who had won the Cup just three years before and been runners-up at Wembley in 1981, would go on to finish second in the Championship that season but were denied by opponents who ended the year in sixth place in Division Two.
 
According to Hunslet fan Paul Bezler: “’Not a chance!’ – that’s what all the pundits said when little Hunslet were drawn against one of the Cup favourites.
 
“I had only been supporting the ‘Huns’ for two years then, mainly because I worked with Graham King the Hunslet scrum-half. He played a blinder!
 
“A man of the match performance saw him save two certain tries in the first half. I vividly remember Peter Roe’s try in the second and that last-minute penalty to Hull KR which missed. Phew!”
 
Further details of the Greatest Challenge Cup Giant-Killing Act Top 10 will be revealed tomorrow. The Top 10 so far is:
 
5 – Hunslet 18, Huddersfield 14 (2003)
6 – Hunslet 12, Hull KR 11 (1983)
7 – Doncaster 0, Siddal 26 (2010)
8 – Runcorn 4, Beverley 27 (1995)
9 – Hull KR 40, Warrington Wolves 36 (2006).
10 – Toulouse Olympique 40, Widnes Vikings 24 (2005)

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