The Dentist’s Diary – 665th

Well if any of you managed to wade through last weeks offering here’s another dollop of the same as I continue the serialisation of my books about living in West Hull, the world of school and work and my lifetime obsession with Hull FC.Remember they are not the definitive final draft because these copies come before final proofing etc. but, I’m sure you’ll get the idea. I hope that you and your family are doing your best to stay safe. Man, these are tough times indeed but as promised below, I continue to cover my own younger yearsliving in simpler times, just across the road from the Boulevard. I hope to find something to enjoy. Stay safe and keep believing! 

Pete

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The 664th Dentist’s Diary

So here it is the first Chapter of my life as an FC fan serialised as promised on a weekly basis, as I said last week it’s a bit social history-ish at first, as it’s hard to get to games when you’re in your nappies! However, most of the big FC games and seasons are in there and if you fancy a read bear with me. It’s not ideal and I know many of you will have already read it and won’t feeI much like reading it again. But, its better, I think, with all the doom and gloom and anxiety around our lives and our game at present to look back at more simpler times when perhaps we didn’t know just  how lucky we were. I hope you find something to enjoy! 

So back to those less stressful times!

Try to stay safe everyone!

Pete  

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The Dentist’s Diary – 663rd

Worrying times, No Rugby and a Bleak Future for our Game!

So, the day arrived that perhaps all rugby league fans had dreaded but yet expected, when last Monday all fixtures were suspended, as this crazy situation we find ourselves in, moves from worrying to serious. Of course, the weekly rounds had to be scrapped, because these are dangerous times and we have to do everything we can to protect the staff, players and supporters of our great game. 

However, it was still almost surreal to see all national sport on hold and financially there are certainly some big implications for the Clubs, their owners and their players. It’s hard really in here to know just what to talk about this week, but I’ve had a go below and I hope that you find something of interest!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 662nd

RADFORD’S OUT!!

Words failed me about that performance and I bet they did for you too! 

But the drama that followed for those watching at home, when a chairman actually came out on the pitch and announced he had parted company with his Coach a few minutes earlier and did it, on live TV, was quite unheard of! 

It was certainly another night of drama on Thursday and just like the best Agatha Christie who-done-it, it was predictable all the way through until the final twist took us all by surprise.

He might have been the Bookmakers number One choice for the chop, but make no mistake about it, Lee will go down in the annals of Hull FC as one of the most memorable Coaches we have had. I say that simply because he took us to the Holy Grail on that wonderful summer afternoon in London, when all our dreams came true. Those memories will last forever and for me there should be a statue dedicated to him for that! However, although it’s all very sad, as with the end of the great Arthur Bunting, it just had to be done, his reign had run its course, Adams patience had run out and the fans had stomached enough, for it was all too cosy, as once out on the pitch, the players appeared to be just doing as they liked!!

That drama all followed what can only be described as a poor excuse for a performance. If that was the last game we were to witness at the KCom as fans, for a while, then it was one that could best be described as totally unmemorable and a match with too many ego’s on display and not enough passion and attitude.

Yet as FC fans, at these times when such scary problems surround us and our families, we just needed something to cling onto and to remember, something to at least raise our spirits for a short time, but we all got was more disappointment, more disenchantment and more frustration.  

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The Dentist’s Diary

SNEEEYYYYYYDDDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!

In the end it was all hail ‘The Iceman’ who is the pulse of our team and yet the one that some fans were (quite unreasonably I believe) having a real go at just 5 days ago. Ice cool Marc continue his amazing Golden Point record and he did it on the back of a smart Jones play and an Albert Kelly wonder break, (wonder indeed, from a man who looked absolutely knackered in that last 10 minutes). Those plays manufactured the position from where Sneydy, organising the set-piece brilliantly, dropped a superb 40-yard goal. 

It’s never easy to go to Wakey, particularly on a Friday night as over the years, under the lights, they have saved some of their best performances for games like this one. What’s more, after the last few matches, there is little doubt that everyone who travelled did so in hope rather than expectation. At least both teams had the same short 5 day turn around to manage and the ‘Cow Pat’ pitch (as Lee Radford probably ill-advisedly described it) had dried out somewhat, but there were still no doubt a lot of souls on the terraces who were still smarting from that second half capitulation at the KCom last Sunday. 

In the end the loyal FC supporters witnessed a roller coaster of a game, with an almost perfectly controlled first half, an injury and penalty littered shambles of a second half and for the third time since it was introduced a brilliantly executed Golden Point drop goal. It got us the two points we so desperately needed and there is at present a lot of relief around the place. However, there’s a lot to do as well. We did well to hang on in the end when a missed conversion kept us in the game, but we should have had it won long before that. 

However, injury disruption, the loss of Ma’u with concussion, some stupid penalties conceded and an FC line in disarray at time, meant it was real heart in your mouth stuff. Wakey will beat a lot of teams at home this year, but we scrapped and scrapped and just sneaked the points at the death. And, at times like these, a win is all that matters.   

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The Dentist’s Diary – 660th

Well, safe to say that was heart-breaking!

After a capitulation that was as bad as I have seen at home for a long time, we walked out of the ground in silence and followed a couple, obviously not season ticket holders, who I over-heard saying, “They can’t expect us to come again when they play like that” and really you couldn’t argue with their logic. It summed it up completely and the club has to realise how such a reversal effects the supporters, for it was soul destroying for even the hardiest of fans wasn’t it? 

Even vice-captain Scott Taylor described it as, ‘A disgraceful and criminal collapse’ and who can really argue with him, but, what about, ‘the importance of winning our home games’ and what about ‘Fortress KCom’? With just two home wins in the last 8  …..it’s hardly that is it! 

I knew it was a season that, with so many new faces, we would have to build into. So, I was surprised when it started with a great performance against Leeds, before we managed to scramble our way over and past a resolute and scrapping Hull KR, folded in the second half against Saints, couldn’t match the tenacity and resolve of Wigan in the same period and then witnessed a complete collapsed against Catalan, again in the second half. Two things stand out for me from that record a) We are going backwards and b) we simply can’t seem to break the momentum of a team that gets moving in the second half. Yesterday we looked really good at times and incredibly poor at others. Again, we had issues with missing players and injuries, but again, our fringe players didn’t come up to the mark.

That performance, for a Club that has invested heavily, been really supported by the fans, (often against their better judgement) and set their stall out pre-season to be competing at the top of the table, was pretty unacceptable. Writing this as I am straight after the game, I am, even after all these years, really depressed, by what I saw this afternoon. 

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The Dentist’s Diary – 659th

A good effort, with some heart and spirit, but one that was again lacking in ideas, nous and execution and so, not good enough to get any reward!

Did we really expect to win? Well I think initially we were all just looking for us to have a good go, weren’t we? For me it was all a bit like last week really, we saw some good stuff from the lads, but when we were still in it, in that second half, just like in the Saints match seven days previously, Wigan lifted their game and we didn’t or couldn’t do the same. They were more clinical and ‘on it’ than we were, they got the breaks and took them and executed their plays when they mattered. 

Again, we saw a battling, scrambly first half, where we hung in the game, but then came a second period where we were outsmarted by an opposition that stepped up and left us trailing in their wake! It’s both worrying and concerning how other teams have structures that when they have injuries seem to be transferable to whoever is playing, whilst we don’t! 

A huddle of the players with Taylor calling the shots, continued on the field, before the players went in at the end and that showed, I think, that they knew they have to do better. It was not exactly a lock-in in the changing rooms, but a sign that our players realise such showings are not acceptable as well. 

So, a second defeat, another game lacking idea’s and another 2 points lost, but we tried hard and I wouldn’t be too disheartened, its early days and it’s not the end of the world …..just yet.

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The Dentist’s Diary – 658th

A Bit of a Reality Check??

I think so don’t you??

For 40 minutes we scrapped and scrapped and despite showing little idea of how to break down the Champions and constantly shooting ourselves in the foot, amazingly we went in 6-2 up. We had injuries, but both teams had players out and so there can be no excuses, we did it tough in the first half before in the second they drained us and were allowed to score 4 tries on the bounce, without us even touching the ball. 

The game swung on a couple of stupid mistakes from which the visitors scored and from then on they never looked back. Their speed and shape simply blew us away, in a game when I guess looking back, we were generally second best. Worrying injuries and a possible appearance at the Disciplinary Committee followed and even more concerning was the apparent lack of any sort of leadership on the field once the wheels came off. 

In hindsight, I guess that losing by 14, to the benchmark team in the league, isn’t, on face value, that bad, but we just couldn’t handle the Champions who were I thought, off it a bitthemselves as well. After that Leeds game, when everyone knew their jobs and penalties were kept to a minimum, poor discipline and disorganisation is creeping back into our game again. 

It’s going to be a long old week ahead and no doubting the fact that already it’s going to be a big ask at Wigan!!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 657th

“It’s a Derby and I’d much rather Win Ugly than lose Pretty!!!!”

On Friday It was always going to be tough playing against a team relishing their under-dog status and running on a wave of adversity inspired passion. 

The game was no doubt hard to play in and it was certainly, at times, excruciating to watch, but we have got four points from our first two games including a win against the old enemy, we produced some well-constructed tries and really dug deep at times and all that after a deal of adversity in the build-up. In addition, two players that were called on to play, hadn’t had a minute of competitive rugby of any type thus far this season! So, it was a pretty pleasing display! 

You have to admit that on Friday night, it was a brilliant atmosphere and a great showcase for the game of Rugby League. No monotonous mind-numbing drums, no bloody screeching trumpets, just tons of passion, anxiety and excitement and for all ages and inclinations, the sort of occasion that our game really needs!! It was a case of flags for the kids, big hearts for the players and sedatives for the rest of us!!

I hate Derby’s!! But you know that anyway! Yet the 236th one was a great event and for the neutral a smashing showcase for everything that is good about Rugby League!! But for me, as I squirmed and stressed my way through another 80 minutes that seemed like 800, it was, as they always are, tough going. In fact I was still catching those kicks aimed at Jamie Shaul, as I lay awake in bed at 2-00am on Saturday morning!!! 

But in the end WE WON, our resilience has come on leaps and bounds over pre-season and you can tell we are now a much more grounded side. In the two previous seasons we have struggled to stay in the arm wrestle in big games, but on Friday despite being below par at times, we showed we’ve found some bottle and ‘the balls’ that could take us a long way this year. 

So, we move on, there are 27 rounds left to go, we squeezed a victory and in the process beat the Dobbins and that, however it comes, is all that really matters. As for me? Well on Saturday tea-time I went out and had a few pints just so I could revel in that wonderful glow that’s has always come after winning a Derby. It’s great that however old you get, there are some things that never change! 

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The Dentist’s Diary – 656th

With our biggest Headingley win in 36 years and where the hell did that come from???

Man, what a great start that was!!! That victory was better than I could ever have hoped for and although some say that Leeds were poor, they only played as we let them, for we controlled just about every facet of the game both in attack and defence in dry conditions and in the rain. At the end the sodden fans danced and celebrated and hoped against hope that at last,  things are on the change!!

At Hull FC, after 5 months of inaction, hope, countless dollops of pretty meaningless rhetoric, speculation, hope, rumour, supposition, opinion making and yep .….. more hope, the talking is over and at last the FC Faithful have witnessed the first-round proper of the 2020 season. 

What a great occasion to open the season it was as well, as the administrators of Super League pushed the boat out to try to create a spectacular weekend to impress those TV companies. The Wigan v Warrington game was a cliff hanger, Saints v Salford was business as usual and as for Hull FC, well what a message that sent out to the rest of the game!!! I thought it was a fabulous performance and the first time for ages that I guess if you stepped back from all the stress and emotion of real time rugby, we never really looked like losing.    

With television deals to be negotiated, a World Cup to be staged, possible private equity investment to be considered and expansion to be handled, it’s most certainly a critical period for the whole game and as for Hull FC well there will be disappointments, injuries and bigger battles ahead, but, just for a couple of days at least, lets enjoy it, for what a start and what a performance that was.

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