The Dentist’s Diary – 524th

Well, firstly well done to both Wigan and Warrington for flying the flag for the British game and sticking it up the Aussies; they won’t like that at all!

I’m not convinced that the NRL sides took it at all seriously enough, but they don’t like losing at anything and I just wonder if that’s the last time we’ll see this particular crown competed for. Still, it’s great to have the World Club Champions playing in Super League and I guess Wigan won’t let us hear the end of that one either!! However, although there hasn’t been much to talk about this week FC wise, there’s been plenty going on in the game and off the field it’s hardly been ‘Good News Week’ in Rugby League!

Thanks to an enforced hiatus in our fixtures, we’ve all had a pretty unwelcome break, but the good stuff saw our Club posting some very encouraging accounts for last year and breaking records with the advanced Catalans ticket sales. However farther afield there has been more mixed messages. For a start, in the domestic competition it’s been a crazy few days. This weekend some Super League teams played league games and others didn’t, while all teams were told that they could lose up to 3 players for two matches mid-season to allow for an international trial and then our game was ranked 27th in the country as far as public participation is concerned. Plus, to add a level of levity, Featherstone introduced their new mascot Percy the Pit Pony (yep you heard that right, and a quick look at him leads me to believe that he won’t be available during the pantomime season). It might only be week two of the competition, but already there’s certainly a deal of controversy, most of it thankfully not directly concerning us.

Those instances and a couple of others are I feel a symptom of a bigger malaise that the British game seems to find itself slipping into at present and for me that’s a bit of a worry.

Continue reading The Dentist’s Diary – 524th

The Dentist’s Diary – 523rd

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Dentists Diary.

Before a season starts there are always more questions than answers. The main two unanswered ones on an atrocious afternoon at Wakefield were, could we improve on our late season discipline and would the never say die spirit of 2016 still be there, for it was always going to be a pretty brutal affair. Towards the end of last season stupid penalties cost us points and yet throughout the campaign it was our grit and determination to grind out wins that just got us home so many times. So the big debate in the pubs and Clubs this past week was about the start of the season and whether the history made in 2016 was about to repeat itself in glorious fashion, or whether 2017 would be the equivalent of ‘that difficult second album’?

Thankfully by quarter to five the answer to that question was a positive one and it was another massive fighting effort, capped by a last minute game saver by Talanoa that saw us protect a flimsy lead and get our first two points on the board. At this time of year, that’s all you want isn’t it?

Furthermore, although not proving much of a pointer so early in the season, the game at Wakey was always destined to set the scene for two weeks of deliberation and discussion from the FC fans. I concur with the owner and a lot of the ‘keyboard warriors’ who feel we are perhaps a prop short up front, but yesterday we battled really well, took our chances, kept it tight and with Bowden on the road to recovery for the next game and no further injuries up front, yesterday was all about getting one over a team that are notoriously good starters at home and who had invested heavily in their pack in the closed season. Two points, job done and so we move on!

Continue reading The Dentist’s Diary – 523rd

The Dentist’s Diary – 521st

On these guys we place our hopes for 2017!!!

TorontoPreSeason

So after such an auspicious and quite spectacular start to ‘2017 The Year of Culture’ in the City of Kingston upon Hull, Hull FC yesterday did their bit towards carrying that forward and made their own bit of history as the first Club to host a game against the first truly Trans-Atlantic sports team.

To quote the rather irritating practice of local and national newspapers of late, here are the five things I learned from yesterday afternoons run out against the Toronto Wolfpack.

Firstly, we all found out I think that the RL, (in their rush to appease Bradford by re-instating the Bulls into the Championship with a team that’s still in disarray and with less than two weeks to go to the season starting) really have missed a trick. This Toronto side, with their devil may care approach, would be a real force in the Championship and would have brought a bit of real razzamatazz and a great competitive spirit to the competition. Secondly we also had it confirmed that Albert Kelly is, (providing that he keeps his ‘nose clean’), going to be a real FC star and his signing could well prove to be the best bit of business in Super League this year. Yesterday he finished brilliantly as good a try as we’ll see all season.

Thirdly, the youngsters showed in the last quarter that despite what we thought we learned about them at Castleford and against Rovers, they can tackle and for the final 22 or so minutes they defended magnificently and force the opposition to chance their arm and lose possession a time or two. Fourthly, if the Canadians wanted a run out in conditions akin to those of their country of origin, then they couldn’t have picked a better day; it was bloody perishing! However, they still played some lovely expansive rugby in that first half. And fifthly I think our attacking combinations looked really promising and if we can get them the ball early, our backs are going to be absolutely deadly this coming season.

Continue reading The Dentist’s Diary – 521st

The Dentist’s Diary – 520th

Welcome back to the Dentists Diary, a Happy New Year to all Hull FC Supporters and here’s to an exciting and successful 2017! If its half as good as 2016 I’ll be very happy indeed!

It’s a funny old time to be writing this weekly diatribe and one that has me a bit lost when it comes to what to make of things. I say that not because I won’t be totally immersed in Hull FC once the proper 2017 season begins, because I certainly will, I always am! However, it’s more a case for me that unlike last season when we played at Donny, took on Rovers, had a 12 day build up period and then were throw headlong into the new season and a big home clash with Salford, this year, with the first trial game being played 48 days before the first match of the season the whole pre-season process seems to be going on and on and on.

I guess however I should be grateful that is all I have to grumble about and that everything at Hull FC seems a bit mundane at times because the reality is that with relegation, departures, retirements and injuries in training at Hull KR and the absolute debacle that is Hull City at present, the state of our Club compared with the rest of those in the City of Culture 2017 is boringly stable. For us FC fans that certainly makes a change and long may it continue!

Even our coach resisted the pressure of wringing every last pound of passion out of the local Derby game by playing it down as just another trial match against Championship opposition and by fielding a team of mainly fringe players in an effort to protect our starting 13 from what will be as long and as gruelling a season as any Club has experienced in the Super League era. For me the Club have now to decide whether to stick with this fixture and take it seriously as far as putting out a competitive team is concerned in future or scrap it. The fact remains that no one likes losing to Rovers at any time, so some were a tad disgruntle last night.

I’m trying just to see the pre-season games as a means to an end, furthermore I’m doing my best to understand why it all seems to be so drawn out, but with still 35 days to go to our first game its hard! Our Club is doing well and continuing to evolve and although after two years of turmoil followed by a wonderful 2016 season things are at present progressing smoothly on the playing side. However, the administration arm of the Club continues to adjust and re-invent itself in the face of changing circumstances within the sport, as they recognise the need to capitalise on our recent success and the impact it had on the fans.

Continue reading The Dentist’s Diary – 520th

The Dentist’s Diary – 419th

It’s:
The most wonderful time of the year.
The one day in a Year when you and all your friend are happy!
The one day that peace and joy is everywhere!
And, the one day that its brilliant to just be there with the whole of the family!

 

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OH, AND ITS CHRISTMAS AS WELL!!!!! 

You know the further in time I get away from that glorious day in August, the more I marvel at just how good it was. What a memory eh? I just have to look at that lot and I’m enjoying it all over again!!

For once at Hull FC everything seems to be going really well and the Club is thriving. Everywhere the players and officials go the Challenge Cup goes with them and what better Christmas present could we all have than the fact that the amazing Trophy that we craved for so long, is with our club for another 8 months….at least?

The cash is flowing in and everyone is really up for the forthcoming campaign. In fact, everyone seems quite content with our current status, both at the Club and on the terraces. That won’t last long of course, because at Hull FC it’s never plain sailing, but if any indication of our demeanour of late is required, then look no further than the fact that with days going by on the RL fans message-board without anyone posting an at all, it’s just so quiet, even as far as the grumblers are concerned!

Continue reading The Dentist’s Diary – 419th

The Dentist’s Diary – 518th

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Well, Christmas is coming and so too thankfully is some live rugby!!!

Welcome to another closed season Diary after what has again been a fortnight of interesting developments at our Club and in the wider Rugby League. There is certainly no lack of support for the Clubs retail and ticketing efforts and the response to the new shirts and the season ticket scheme has been nothing short of phenomenal. Although much of the enthusiasm can be put down to the ‘Wembley effect’, in the end the supporters have come good again and everything augers well for a great season with some big gates at the KCOM Stadium in the offing for 2017.

Adam and Co may lament the loss of the Derby games but personally, as it’s not my pocket that the Dobbins relegation is hitting, I find their absence quite refreshing. As fans we have over the last few years simply just had too many of them and after the annual tradition of the two clubs wringing every ounce of cash out of the cross City rivalry, the resurgence in interest in our club (as proved by ticket and shirt sales) displays for me that Derby games are not ‘the end all and be all’ of rugby in Hull.

I just hope that now our administration will adapt to the lack of games against the Dobbins and make a lot more of the home games against Leeds and Wigan etc. turning them into real occasions once more. They used to be you know and if we can get that focus back, I can honestly see gates of 12,000 being a regular feature again at the KCOM in 2017.

Continue reading The Dentist’s Diary – 518th

The Dentist’s Diary – 517th

Well, here we are again, it’s been quite a busy two weeks really and thanks for returning again to the Diary, as I attempt to make some sense of what’s happening at the Club as we all start to get a bit twitchy awaiting some rugby coming our way in five weeks’ time, on Boxing Day.

This last fortnight there’s been plenty going on with Kelly arriving, Frank ‘tanking’ it back to the NRL, Abbo going out on loan to help ‘the basement boy’s’, rumours of a possible departure on the management side of things, the Wolf Pack coming to town and our progress, or otherwise, with season ticket sales. So here’s a quick look at what has come to pass in the last fortnight through, as usual, the eyes of this ordinary fan.

Continue reading The Dentist’s Diary – 517th

The Dentist’s Diary – 516th

So…… while it was quiet I decided to take a bit of a sabbatical and run these Diaries every two week, but just as I try to have a break and do a bit of writing, lo and behold everything kicks off!

Despite the fact that Adam has been away and Lee Radford only returned from holiday last Friday, news has still been coming thick and fast and when no one has been around to confirm or deny it, the media and the fans have just been making it up!

Season ticket sales, Albert Kelly, Frank Pritchard, Jordan Abdull, International games at the KC, a new exciting and yet pretty controversial strip, a great traditional shirt etc. etc. etc. and so it just went on and on. As for me, well, I’m still enjoying the break, but finding it hard to get too excited about this International stuff. I guess I have also to admit that whilst scouring the media for information on the above issues which seem to be occupying the minds of the sports writers and the fans alike, I’m again starting to look forward to next season. Trouble is, no one at the Club is around to comment and with even our Marketing and Communications Director taking a well-deserved break last week the rumour mill has been going wild.

Continue reading The Dentist’s Diary – 516th

The Dentist’s Diary – 515th

THE GREAT RUGBY LEAGUE SWINDLE!!

Whether you sit in the ‘WE don’t need it’ or the ‘Bring it on’ camp is quite rightly a matter of opinion, but the way that the World Club Challenge has been handled is for many I have spoken to this week, just that… a swindle.

I highlight this at the top this week because so many people have talked to me about it since last week’s announcement. Quite rightly the team that won the Grand Final, takes one place, but the other match has been allocated to a Club that lost that game and the Wembley final and won little else than a makeshift trophy that the Rugby League themselves failed to recognise or award until a few seasons ago. In the mean-time the winners of the country’s other Cup competition, which is possibly the most historically relevant trophy in the world, are ignored and that in a week when another concocted and contrived fixture list for the Magic Weekend suddenly appeared.

Only in British Rugby League eh??
Continue reading The Dentist’s Diary – 515th

The Dentist’s Diary – 514

We thought it was all over ……it is now!!!
offseason
No games to watch, no trophies to win and because my Mum always said that you shouldn’t mock the afflicted, no Dobbins to bait either!!

But how are you feeling? Well, there is little doubt that after what was the season that none of us expected or could hardly dare dream of, the roller coaster has ground to a halt a bit. There is certainly little doubt that inertia has become the staple diet for most fans while we await the players returning from a well-earned break on the beach, to start pre-season training on 14th November. Some readers contacted me this week to say that the withdrawal symptoms have kicked in straight after our last game, while personally I guess I feel pretty deflated too. But, although designed specifically for such times, I’m also finding it hard to get enthusiastic about the manufactured nature of our International end of season tournaments and there’s more of that one later.

However, all that said, the City’s only Super League Club still had a few interesting stories to impart this week, as the Player of the Year Awards took place, the details of season tickets for 2016 were released, some speculation about future signings continued, that England squad was announced and the media was stuffed with post season appraisals, reflections on the campaign past and some hopes for 2017.

Nevertheless, all that said it’s still a fact that the closed season seems now to have arrived with a bang!

Continue reading The Dentist’s Diary – 514