The Dentist’s Diary – 511th

Out played, out smarted out enthused and alas, for once, out coached as well!

I love Hull FC to bits, I always have and I always will, but sometimes when you’re a fan you have to be honest with yourself and on Friday there was simply no getting away from it; Warrington came to the Kcom played a ‘blinder’ and completely spoiled the party. In here I can only write it as I feel it and it can’t be all happy, clappy all the time and for me in the words of Jackson Browne we appear at the moment to be a team that is ‘Running on Empty’

There can be no excuses because for me last Friday, there were no excuses.

As I walked across West Park before the game deep in thought and perhaps visibly nervous, an old guy walking beside me said, “Don’t look so worried mate whatever happens tonight, when the cupboard is opened tomorrow the Challenge Cup will still be in there!” Sound advice eh? Well maybe, but despite all that and me saying in here time and again how happy I was to have just won the Cup, you want more, you can’t help it and so I was upset at the end and I guess now looking back, I’m bloody mad with myself that I was so disappointed. You know, as a ‘fickle fan’, I have such a short blooming memory!!!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 510th

AMAZINGLY, QUITE AMAZINGLY, ITS ALL TO PLAY FOR AGAIN!!!!!!!!

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Sport never ceases to amaze does it? Last weekend it looked all over bar the shouting, but now Friday has become the biggest game of the season, after of course ‘The Special One’, and yet conversely it’s DOUBLE TROUBLE if we fail!!! Win and the ‘hub cap’ is ours and we have a home semi- final, but lose and a third place finish beckons with probably an away play-off game at Wigan to follow!! It’s certainly going to be another tense old night for all of us!!!!!!

If it’s the hope that eventually kills you, then it’s your sports team tying you in such knots that, in the meantime, completely buggers you up!!! But wow after what has gone before isn’t it bloody great!

Who’d have thought it eh? This last weekend the drama wasn’t at Wakefield or indeed that much at Warrington, great though the spectacle of that mighty encounter was, but it was rather in the outcome that those two contrasting games threw up for next weekend. Despite one being a sloppy, listless, barely workmanlike affair and the other a great exhibition of grit, determination and stylish rugby, (I’ll leave you to decide which is which) both played their part in setting up a magnificent finale to the regular season. It was all certainly pretty unbelievable when at 10-00pm last Friday the two points we somehow managed to rescue from Thursdays game of mistakes, brain farts and near calamity became so, so significant. It was I think simply written in the stars.

The RL and Sky lads couldn’t have arranged it any better had they wanted to! They’ve got the two top teams in the competition all year creating a rematch of that brilliant Wembley final and bashing it out on the last weekend of regular rugby in the best Stadium in the competition, all to win the League leaders plate. No helicopters flying about with the ‘hub cap’ this time guys, because all the drama will be played out at the KC!!!

SO THIS FRIDAY IS GOING TO BE MASSIVE!!! As the excitement packed 2016 campaign for Hull FC that keeps on giving, just goes on and on and on!

Boy…..what a blooming wonderful season this is!!

Continue reading The Dentist’s Diary – 510th

The Dentist’s Diary – 509th

“Such setbacks are the stepping stones to greater things.”

You can’t win ‘em all and if it’s important that you use the lessons of such games as Fridays to gain knowledge and strength and move forward, then they are certainly not the time for wasting energy despairing at an opportunity lost!

On many occasions this season it’s been us that were sneaking those last minute wins or just seeing games out, but in an outstanding match that we dominated for 60 minutes we ran out of energy, our go forward disappeared and then just as the tide appeared to be turning, a couple of unforced individual errors saw us slip to a disappointing defeat.

This time fortune did not smile on us and yet that tackle in the corner by Fornua near the end deserved to ‘favour the brave’, before a devastated Hadley was robbed of the ball and the inevitable outcome manifest itself in pretty heartbreaking circumstances.

You know I was disappointed at the end and after Wembley I didn’t think I would be saying that again this year, because I simply thought that it wasn’t going to bother me anymore. The Challenge Cup Final was meant to burn bright in my memory and carry me through any tough times that came, as they inevitably would, in its wake! Yet I saw the heartbreak coming at half time as I mused on the amount of chances we had blown in the first quarter. We could well have had 18 points on the board in that period but in the end, despite going along with a post Wembley ‘open mind’, this supporter got a bit too emotionally caught up in a game that was great for the casual viewer but excruciating to watch if you were totally immersed in it. It was that sort of match wasn’t it and you simply couldn’t take your eyes off the action for a moment, however at the end, despite still basking in the afterglow of that final we were all none the less, pretty disappointed.

I guess that just goes to prove how short lived and fleeting are the best ever moments of your life!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 508th

Predictable, expected and what always happens after a Cup Final win? Well I guess so!!

However for me, last Friday’s exploits didn’t tarnish what had gone before one bit and it was in the end a game that brought a really big effort from some of our fringe players and if you’re one of those fans who won’t be satisfied unless we win all three trophies, then for you, despite Warrington’s heroics in the sun, our fate is still very much in our own hands.

OK we lost 31-10, but despite the score for 60 minutes it was a great performance from a scratch team in the week after Wembley, when the winners always lose. No doubt it looked to all the neutral supporters picking up their papers next morning as an easy win for the Saints, but we fought hard for long periods and just lacked the grunt going forward and the sleight of hand in attack to control the middle of the field. It was I guess as well just an indication of what might have been, had we been cursed with a bigger injury list this season.

There were mistakes a plenty but we also got some shocking calls and were really unlucky at times, particularly in the way we were treated by a referee that I feel missed a lot. The difference for me between the referee at Wembley and the two pedantry officials we saw on TV on Thursday and Friday was immense, but more of that later.

I’m pretty sure that had we fielded a full team and not had to play a rested Saints outfit in the week that followed the biggest game in our Clubs history, then we would have won. However I take nothing away from the lads who played, because with Pryce and Feke in the side we were obviously down to the ‘bones’ of our squad. Everyone had a real go and the big worry for me, Washy at acting half, never really materialised because he gave a non-stop performance and with Watts and Manu really ran his socks off.

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The Dentist’s Diary – comfortably numb

ALL HAIL THE HISTORY BOYS!!

Johnny Whiteley couldn’t win it at Wembley and neither could Peter Sterling, Knocker Norton, Roy Francis, Arthur Bunting or Brian Smith, but Lee Radford and those 17 heroes won it for us and they did it in the most glorious of circumstances possible!!!

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The moment that said it all for every FC fan, Lee’s face just showed what we were all thinking, what it meant to us as fans as he lifted the Cup and that picture is the moment that will stay with me till the day I die.

That win was for everyone who has suffered for the cause, everyone who has been taunted by our rivals, everyone who kept on believing in the dark days when the light almost went out and everyone who just hoped, despite never ever thinking it would happen. It was also for those who made sacrifices and went into hock to get there, those others who have passed on with their biggest wish unfulfilled and for those who said, “Never again” and yet came back for more.

It was simply awesome to see history made before our eyes. For this ageing fanatic, (who still has tears in his eyes as he writes this), LAST SATURDAY WAS SIMPLY THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE which was then followed by a weekend that I’ll never forget until the day I die and one that when I do, will see me finally flee this mortal coil a happy, happy man.

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The Dentist’s Diary – 506th (Wembley Special 2016)

Without hope we have nothing!

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“Someone needs to fight, someone needs to sacrifice, someone needs to inspire and someone needs to be a hero.”

The weekend games are over, the stage is cleared and all the rest of the cast list are now mere spectators and, as the lights go down and the orchestra strikes up, it’s the Warrington Wolves and my team that are waiting in the wings to do battle!! At last it’s here, at last its Challenge Cup week and for the fourth time in just 12 years it’s the ‘Famous Hull FC’ that’s playing in the Final!

How good is that?? Well it’s good; but it’s bloody Scary!!!!!

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The Dentist’s Diary – Special Edition

HULL 82- CATALAN/WIDNES NIL

Two ‘nillings’ on the trot, 82 points scored, a top 4 place secured 4 games before the end of the season AND the Diary out on a Friday; it’s all happening isn’t it???

What more could you ask for just 9 days before Wembley eh? Of course in any sport you can only play what’s in front of you and if the opposition are off their game or a bit depleted, then it’s all about being ruthless in how you dispatch them. Smart attacking play and ferocious tackling is one thing, but the ability to treat both the under performers and the teams on their game just the same, is a real indication of just how much character and fortitude a team has. So often you see the ‘big time Charlies’ like Wigan and Warrington slip down to an inferior opposition’s level; as of course we have seen Hull FC do so many times over the years. However that display was so focussed and so intense throughout that as a fan you can ask no more really.

I won’t be playing anything down about our performance either because in our current physical and mental circumstances it was without doubt a great showing and as clinical as I have seen at the KC in a long time. Usually, whoever you are playing, games ebb and flow, but with the exception of about 10 minutes in the second half when they tried (unsuccessfully) to batter us, this one just flowed in our direction!! The defensive effort in the last quarter when the game was won (and when you could have forgiven the players for worrying a bit about being injured and for having Wembley on their minds), animates totally for me the spirit that there is in the camp. Catalan were going to be nilled; end of story!

So it’s two more points, top four guaranteed, just one win away from Old Trafford and now…….Wembley here we come!!!!!!!!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 504th

At this point of the season it’s a whole new experience for all of us at Hull FC, as the players, the Club and the fans move into what is in our Super league history, uncharted territory!
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Everyone loses games, but if your genuine contenders after you’ve lost one, it’s just about getting back on the horse again! On Thursday the lads did that in fine style and we not only got back on it, but we rode it to an emphatic win. In fact we dominated the game so much, that in the end it brought us as easy a victory as you’ll get in Super League.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of mental strength and tenacity went into that game, but our defence was imperious and many of the Widnes mistakes that littered their performance simply came from fatigue, brought on by our constant pressure. Attack wise we scored 7 tries and all that without our charismatic play maker Mark Sneyd, but on this occasion we didn’t miss him at all, because Houghton’s field kicking was superb and Jordan Abdull defied all the concerns I aired last week and had a great game at half back.

I commented at the end that at times we looked like the Wigan, Saints and Leeds teams of yore, in that we went there, put a defeat behind us, did the job and without being overtly flashy or having to chance our arm too much, we got the win. In fact, as those teams have so often done in the past, we had the game put to bed by the 60 minute mark and so took the points and move on to the next big challenge on Thursday!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 503rd

Well who didn’t see that coming, because I’m afraid to say I did!!

We had a real dig in the second half but on the whole we were poor and without doubt the best team won, however as I say our lack of intensity was, for me at least, pretty predictable. We don’t win these games, we rarely have over the years and we were always going to suffer a comedown after the emotion, stress and unreserved relief of winning the semi final. You’d better believe it too, that when you’re in that position and mindset, a fresh, rested and ‘carefree’ Castleford side are exactly the sort of opposition you don’t want to be playing!!

They played well, without worries or any pressure on them. They’ll be going to Wembley, but their only concern is where they’ll be sitting! Our players now have the euphoria of a Cup Final appearance and the hopes of a massive FC Army weighing on their minds and it showed on Friday. There were, in the first half hour, when we went 20-0 down, similarities to that debacle at Widnes back in round 5, but to their credit the players dug deep and made a game of it for the rest of the match. That effort showed me that we have at least improved since that bleak night; however by then the damage was done!!

I hope we have got that performance out of our system and it has helped our lot have a long look at themselves and re-group. Several of them were certainly ill prepared and a few, I thought, looked a tad jaded. We are still top of the League and will sit there for another week and even if we were to lose the next two matches, don’t despair, because we still all know what this squad of players can do, for they are, on their day, as good a group as we’ve had for years.

Unfortunately Friday was simply not their day!

However, for me, come the final, those same players give us as good a chance as we have ever had of winning that coveted trophy and as fans we simply have to believe in them!!!

Continue reading The Dentist’s Diary – 503rd

The Dentist’s Diary – 502nd

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We certainly are and just now…..
…Hullsapoppin!!!!!!

A strange expression? Well that was the headline in the Sunday Mirror the day after that wonderful win over St Helens at the Galfarm Stadium in the 2005 semi-final and although a completely different sort of victory manifest itself at Doncaster on Friday night, Hull is certainly ‘a poppin’ again! But boy what a bloody performance that was on Friday!!

For me the semi final was one of those magical nights which come all too infrequently in the life of an average fan, when the unlikely happens, the unthinkable becomes reality and you dare to dream. What a night, what a performance and what an outcome!

What helped to make it so special was the fact that both sides wanted the prize so much and, if the end was indeed ‘magical’, for the long suffering FC fan, the reality of enduring the game up until that joyous final hooter went, saw us fluctuating between a state of panic and one of ecstasy; it was simply heart stopping at times.

The whole thing was draining, tense, excruciating, mesmerising, dour, unbelievable, agonizing and finally just absolutely, absolutely wonderful.  It saw the full gambit of emotions laid bare and what a fabulous night it was for everyone who managed to attend. Those who had to watch at home no doubt hiding behind the sofa, missed a massive occasion and a wonderful atmosphere, but you must have all had a tense time too, on what was a great day to be associated with the famous Hull FC, wherever you were watching them from.

Anyone with an ounce of soul could not fail to be grabbed by the occasion and since then I’ve had a permanent smile on my face and am just so proud to support my Club. It was a pulsating encounter, a fabulous game and a wonderful outcome which for the third time in 9 years sees us just 80 minutes away from total redemption!!

That final excruciating ten minutes will live with me forever as 8000 black and white voices sang the boys home and for now at least the RL press, those BBC commentators, the match officials and indeed anyone else who has doubted our renaissance this season can eat their hearts out, the FC are back, we’re off to Wembley again and this time we ain’t coming back empty handed!!!

Continue reading The Dentist’s Diary – 502nd