The Dentist’s Diary – 708th

Another week, more doom and gloom, more uncertainty and more changes to the season ahead!!!

This last week is traditionally the most depressing’ in the calendar of a normal year, so with all that is happening it was always going to be a dire one for all of us lot craving a bit of rugby to watch, wasn’t it?  However, as another tough week comes to an end, the only certainty in the future is, once again,  that everything is uncertain. The season has now been put back two weeks and although the guys are all in at training, they must wonder exactly when things will get anywhere near normal again and even indeed when they will get playing at all! 

In such a cold and very dark January, things are nothing if not mundane for all of us. Covid continues to ravage the country and it’s certainly ironic that it’s the only thing that I have ever known that was made in China, that’s lasted more than a year!! 

Here at home after another week of asking the three questions I outlined in the last Diary, it’s been a time of not doing anything besides getting up, walking once a day and going to bed. Mind you, I’ve again been guilty of drinking endless amounts of tea and coffee, which usually means that the dishwasher is full by tea time. Then, because there’s no mugs left to drink from, if we’re thirsty, we have to drink wine! And, we always seem to be thirsty these days!!! Every cloud or just a recipe for disaster? Who knows and indeed who at present even cares!!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 707th

I hope like our family you managed to have a good, if not restricted, Christmas and welcome to 2021 and the first Diary of the New Year. 

I’ve purposely refrained from using the ‘Happy’ word above because things are, at present, decidedly far from ‘happy’, but at least we now have some future prospects, as the ‘jabs’ role out and although I really can’t see us all back at the KCom for a long time, you have to hope don’t you?

I’m pretty confident that we will have to start the 2021 season behind closed doors again and what’s more, as I have said before in here, it will be a while before folks like me have the confidence to get amongst big crowds again anyway; for the last year has changed a lot of people, perhaps in more ways than we possibly know. 

With no rugby to watch, the weather doing its January best to imitate the inside of our freezer and with this damn virus again terrorising large swathes of the population, these days life in our household circulates around just three daily questions. Where are we going to walk today? What are we having for tea and what the hell are we going to watch on TVtonight? That’s about it at present, as I’m sure it is for a lot of you reading this. 

The fact is, at these times, we don’t only need books, TV and films that speak of life and give us a lift, we all need sport to do that as well. Now more than ever we all need the sort ofbuzz our great game can bring us and hopefully, after a massive effort from everyone inside and outside the club over the winter that, at our beloved Hull FC, is once more in sightfor us all again. For now however, the proliferation of inane articles in the media and the lack of any sort of substance in the editorial across the game indicates that we are in a sort of state of suspended animation, where everything is in place but nothing is happening. As fans we are all desperate for something to get passionate about again, even if we can only watch our heroes on TV. 

Thankfully, at least the lads are back training, our owner has got over his health problems, the new Coach is getting to grips with the issues and our new ‘Marquee’ signing is here and making all the right noises. So, at least we have a real hope that perhaps despite all the doom and gloom around, ‘things can only get better’.

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The Dentist’s Diary – 706th

Season’s Greetings and thanks to everyone for sticking with the Diary through 2020!!!

So, another year has almost passed us by and Christmas or at least what this year passes for Christmas, is upon us. Thankfully at last there is a light ahead for all of us, but at present, sadly, things all around seem to be getting worse rather than better. That said, despite everything that has gone on, we are still talking about rugby and we still have our Club, our game and our hopes and dreams for the future. 

The nightmare that was 2020 is almost behind us and we have to look to that future and indeed next season with a bit of optimism. We also have to show some faith in those people who can ensure that the sport of Rugby League and our beloved Club keep going until the storm clouds clear, all our  fortunes change and we get back to something like normality (whatever that will be). 

It’s been a quiet old week news wise hasn’t it? However, it usually is at this time of year. But, none the less here in the last Diary of 2020, I’ll try and look at what news there is around rugby wise and indeed at what being a fan is all about for me at times like these, as I reflect on a year and a season that, in both cases, I think we will all be glad to see the back of! 

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The Dentist’s Diary – 705th

We’ve signed a man called ‘Grub’!!

In a week when we saw the arrival of our new ‘Marquee’ signing in the form of Josh ‘The Grub’ Reynolds, there was certainly a deal of excitement about. Meanwhile, our new Coach was settling into his surroundings in the capitol of British Rugby League, whilst back home in Australia the NRL were discussing buying a stake in Super League and introducing another slew of rule changes to their competition, that no doubt many in this country with ridicule and dismiss out of hand; before, of course, we introduce most of them ourselves in 2022. 

However, before you switch off completely on those rules, it’s perhaps worth considering that their current list of changes have been led by the fans and their views on how the game can be improved. For us lot in this country who have existed under the stoic, autocratic and sometimes bombastic  stewardship of the RFL for so many years, is that refreshing or what??

In a statement the NRL rules commission said, and this is the really important bit for me, “You’ve got to give the customer what they want. We want to attract new fans to our game and we want our current fans to keep coming back to watch games live at the ground or on TV. It was important to understand what they want. It is clear the new innovations last season were a success. You only have to look at the data, there were more tries, more line breaks and more minutes of ball in play and the response from our fans and players has been positive. In  particular, the six-again rule has addressed the biggest issue that was in the game and that was the wrestle. The changes have speeded up the ruck and made the game more free-flowing which is exactly what the Commission wanted to see.”

At a time when, as I say, we are told tentative talks are taking place with regard to the NRL buying a stake in Super League and some in this country are already turning their noses up, you have to at least listen to what they have to say for their attitude towards the game is certainly refreshing!!!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 704th

‘All is calm all is Bright!’

It’s certainly been a quiet old week and I’m not sure at present (Friday night) if our new Coach has even arrived in this country at all. That said, I’m not sure either whether he has to go into quarantine or not on arrival anyway? What’s more, at the time of going to press it’s certainly been quiet on the transfer front and on what Andy Last has decided to do with his ‘job offer’ as well. Paul Cooke had some strong thoughts on that last one this week in the `Mail’ and I’ll be dissecting that article in some detail in here.

However, here we are with just the first of no doubt a lot of shorter closed season Diary’s, but I do hope you find something to interest you, on these wet, dreary and short winter days.  

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The Dentist’s Diary – 703rd

Welcome to Hull FC. Brett Hodgson.

The waiting is over, the result didn’t appear to suit everyone at first, but at times like these I have always said in here that whatever you think as changes are made, we should never forget that Coaches come and Coaches go, Players come and go and owners come and Owners go but the fans go on forever!

That said, for me this is an important moment in the history of the club and the most important thing Brett said on appointment was this, “Whether it’s a win or a loss, I think the effort is what fans want to see and what fans and supporters will appreciate at the end of the day. It’s a big part of English rugby and we’ll be striving to make sure they’re happy”.That’ll do for me, for a start!

So, as predicted in here 4 weeks ago, Hodgson’s got it and as always, the Diary is (and will be) 100% behind him. That said, I’m a fan and as such allowed my opinion. So, I have to say that, as an unproven Head Coach it was still a bit of a surprise and a lot of fans reading this will have shared a bit of an initial feeling of being a tad underwhelmed when the announcement was first made. 

One or two on social media went spare, but some would go on a rant if we won the Grand Final, but no one had polished the trophy properly beforehand. However, what I would say to them is that there’s been an expression around the place for years that goes, ‘In Adam we Trust’ and after what he’s done for all of us that’s just how it should be. It’s his money and his risk. Furthermore, taking on board the year we’ve all had and the state of the game in general, Hull FC can in many ways be described as being in, if not the last chance saloon, at least a bit of a worrying state. So, we all have to do just that! Trust our Owner, for he has been pretty canny over the years and in many ways at present he has a lot more to lose than any of uslot. 

Now the new Coach is in place and good luck to him, he’s looking good and making all the right noises, so let get behind the bloke and move forward again together. 

To the sceptics I would just say no-one had even heard of Brian Smith before he came to the Club, but I can to this day still see him leading his players to the adoring fans at the Boulevard as we got to our first Premiership Final for years, as  ‘Keeping the Dream Alive’ rang out from the stadium speakers. Let’s hope that Brett can emulate that.

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The Dentist’s Diary – 702nd

What a Difference a Week makes eh?

We were outplayed at times and pretty well mastered throughout and that by a Wigan team that simply out thought us! Had we been neutrals watching, we would have been full of praise for how they controlled the whole game, but when you’re the ones being done in a semi-final, it’s hard to have an objective view on things at all really.  

I think we all dared to dream and got a bit carried away with it  all and perhaps in the end it was all that we as FC fans should have expected. Wigan had all the play-off experience and were simply far too good for us at managing the game. Of the 4 that remained, they’re the best team in such situations by far and they proved it last night. 

They came out to control things from the off, went toe to toe with us when both sides were fresh, took their chances when they came and then just contrived to disrupted our game throughout. They held that stranglehold to the end, grabbed a couple of late tries that flattered them on the score board and so ran out easy winners. 

We gave it our all, never shirked a tackle and tried so hard to get right in their faces, but we didn’t get the breaks when the margins were fine, or the rub of the green when it was close, nor could we change our game once we fell behind. All through the last three seasons, form has come and gone, but we have never had a ‘plan B’ once the other team got on top. 

So, for us the season was over with what looked on the face of it to be a bit of a whacking. We know that it wasn’t like that, but that’s what the record will show!

I was so sorry for everyone who has anything to do with Hull FC and particularly for Adam Pearson. These are tough time and although someone had to lose, with all that is going on around here at present I just wish it hadn’t been us. 

None the less, we all awoke on Friday morning with a very different Christmas ahead of us and another four months before we see the lads play again. However, last night, you just couldn’t fault the effort or the passion, we were just beaten by a better team who turned up intent on stifling and frustrating us, before they clinically finished their chances. 

What’s more, as the seasoned play-off contenders that they are, they executed that plan perfectly!   

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The Dentist’s Diary – 701st

“Best performance in the last two years!!”

That was a text I received from reader ‘Ian DesForges at the end of the game and who can argue with that. Man, I was so proud!! It was such a relief to see a FC team playing with so much passion. For in our most complete showing for years, everyone was simply outstanding!

On the day that Hull went to the top of the infection tables in the country we needed a lift, …..boy did we need a lift and hell did those 17 hero’s give us one with that performance. 

All over the West of the City and indeed across the extended worldwide FC family people were on the edge of their seats again and watching through their fingers but in the end were all so proud. Even with ten minutes to go I said to Mrs. R. that whatever happened now (and something often does at that point with us) we should all be very satisfied. I also said that perhaps at the end in the post-match interviews, we were looking at our next Coach.  

I’m a big ‘all change’ and scrap ‘Club Hull’ advocate, as you know, but man Ian was right, for the passion and will to win for each other was there for all to see. Our interim Coach has believed in himself, picked players on form (and not on who buys him a pint in the pub) and made some brave, brave decisions and most importantly the players have bought into his beliefs. All of a sudden our overall shape and attitude is so much better. 

It’s the first time I think, that we have seen an FC team going into the play-off’s getting better and better, we have actually peaked at the right time and weren’t we all proud of that showing, for it was just what all of us who were worried and concerned about everything that is happen around us needed.  As another reader Ian Middleton commented, “It was like we as supporters would want to play” 

How anyone can still doubt Sneyd’s ability beats me. Once again just as in two semi-finals and two Wembley wins, ‘cometh the hour cometh the man’. All the plaudits were flowing for Jake again and what a player he is now becoming, but Marc simply controlled everything, managed the team brilliantly and with a pack on the front foot against a big Wire six, he was the master. What’s more unlike most of the other things that happened that didn’t surprise me at all! 

Incidentally as a footnote, I still couldn’t help wondering what ‘Mr Watson’ was thinking, as he watched that performance!!! 

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The Dentist’s Diary – 700th

No game this week, but after a crazy season when without even playing we are back in the play-offs for the first time in three years!!!

As episode 700 of this drivel arrives, it’s certainly a milestone for me and in a lifetime of watching Hull FC and indeed in that period of writing this rubbish, I’ve certainly been through some strange times. Yet in over 60 years of regularly watching rugby league, I have never seen times like these. Look for instance at the 7 days since the last Diary!

In just a week we have seen Toronto refused in their application to re-join Super League, because we presumed the game wanted to save money for struggling Clubs, before we put out an open invitation for another Club to join the competition next year but with half the Sky money. Next, we curtail a season that was already being decided by win averages rather than points and devise a bigger play-off competition to take its place. Then, all of a sudden a season that was fizzling out sees Hull FC in there with a chance of the Grand Final which is quite unbelievably being played at our own ground; bizarre or what??

As the crazy stuff continued, that revelation was quickly followed by us finding out the almost unbelievable fact that the RFL didn’t actually go through the necessary due diligence when Toronto joined Div. 1 in the first place. Next up, Rovers dropped out altogether three games short of the end of the season, ditto Castleford who now have 20 people infected, the current Salford club are docked three games (6 points) for reneging on a CVA that dates back to 2013 and that is charged to a Salford City Reds company that no longer exists anyway and finally the new Ottawa team have decided to drop out of next season. 

I started the diary three editions ago with the headline, it’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and guess what? I do believe it’s getting madder!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 699th

2020 Bragging Rights to us!!!!

Whenever, wherever and indeed however you beat them, it’s academic ….as long as you beat ‘em!!!!

Thursday’s Derby was I guess to the neutral, a scrappy game at times, but who cares, for in the end it was easy enough for the FC against a Rovers team that showed some fight, but that by and large had little idea at all. On another night on a drier pitch, our edges would have run even hotter and I believe it could have been a bigger win, whilst at Caravan Park in front of the baying hoards of the ‘East Stand Inteligencia’ it could have been closer, but we’d still have won, because we are at present a lot better team than they are. However, 6 tries to 3 says it all, on a night when the conditions were probably a leveller and so played in their favour a bit.  

Our big players stood up and we had far too much for the opposition, as our wingers fed off some great ball from Jake Connor and our rotating forwards, coming off the bench, again turned the game in the middle of the field. In the end the team which had only a couple of months earlier been branded the ‘Entertainers’ were well beaten and I loved it!! Of course, it was a Derby and of course they knew that and played with some pride, but what was most rewarding for me was the way that after they had fought their way back into the proceedings, we pulled away again, before we managed what happened there on in really well. 

We did as much as we had to throughout and were up to everything they had to throw at us. Whilst they were full of heart, that was nowhere near enough as we frustrated and then over-powered them, to leave them a well beaten side by the end! 

In short, Jake Connor murdered ’em! 

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