The Dentist’s Diary – 692nd

Well, that was disappointing wasn’t it??

And … it’s another tough Diary to write.

Out of the Cup, in a year like no other, when a place at Wembley would have really raised all our spirits and given us the distraction many of us need at present. However, there are times in the life of a sports fan when, no matter how fanatical you are about the team you love, you have to admit that on the day you were beaten by a better team. This was, without doubt just such an occasion. For we were pretty much outplayed throughout. 

We began the game with an unusual starting front row with no doubt the objective of toughing it out in the first quarter and then bringing on the bigger lads to wrestle the initiative and move us forward there on in. Wigan, (no doubt having read our lot were so knackered after last weekend’s two doses of heroics, that we had had hardly trained and even had an extra day off this week), came out to pressure us from the off and got right into our faces. Their line speed was first class and their spine moved us about  from minute one. They weren’t brilliant, but they were far too good for us, as sadly a few of our old issues with the ball started to rear their heads again. We started slowly and made far too many mistakes, whilst they were at us from the first whistle and in effect, they had the game won after 15 minutes. 

The one thing I will say that might not make me many friends is that for me there was for me one plus and that was that we never gave up and we showed some great spirit in a second half when we could have completely capitulated. I think that it was a situation that would have seen the FC team that was defeated by Warrington in Radders last game, go down by at least 70 points. Yeh, we were inept, clueless at times and so profligate with the ball, but we scrapped to the final hooter. 

In the bigger picture, the virus closes in on us all again and even relatively safe havens like Hull and the East Riding are being threatened with possible lockdowns. That must mean  that crowds attending matches again in numbers looks even less likely to happen now and the very existence of the rest of the season must be in doubt, I really do worry for the game it’s players and our club. If ever there was a good example of things being more important than winning or losing, in our game this is it. What a bloody mess it all is eh?

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The Dentist’s Diary – 691st

That Was A Great Weekend!! 

I needed the lift yesterday brought, but then again I think we all did. 

So, welcome back at last to a more upbeat Diary! 

…..and to a bumper two game edition in a week that threatened to defined our season as a Rugby League Club in 2020, lose both games and the season was in effect over, win one and we had a bit of hope for another week, win both and it would have been pretty unbelievable. But believe it, we did just that!! 

The league still looks a massive ask, for we are certainly bashed up a bit, but on Thursday Wakey were in a bit of a mess as well, we were nervy and it was error strewn, but a wins a win, under whatever circumstances it comes and at least it was a gritty and fighting performance. Lasty, the man with the most difficult job in rugby league, should be applauded too for giving the kids their head, for their enthusiasm and spirit got us through. Then on Sunday another master stroke from the Coach was again his selection and his tactics and what a heartening and great win that was over Castleford. Who knows what the future holds, but one things for sure, it’s been a great few days for all us FC fans. 

In these strange times when we seem to have more alcohol on our hands than in our stomachs, the virus gets more and more worrying and the RL season, more and more bizarre. We are living in a strange, scary and different world and a weekend like that was just what we all needed.  

It is then hardly surprising I guess that this is a season, when many of us were becoming pretty ambivalent to the whole thing. Admit it, who hasn’t looked to see how many games are left till it’s all over? 

Yet it’s a time our club, if it is to even survive, needs us all more than ever before and as Jacuzzi showed so brilliantly this week with their continued support, we’ll all always be there for it. The whole 2020 competition is becoming a log jam of games, based on simply keeping Sky happy (important though that is). That said, we needed a lift as a group of supporters and by gum we got one. 

For various reasons, this season has so far been a strange one, particularly when it came to being as involved with it all as we were before lock down, which is something that I’ve tried to address from a personal angle later in here! However, I was very proud by 5-00pm on Sunday and for the first time in months, I went to bed with a real smile on my face!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 690th

Well it was never going to last was it? 

Firstly, let me say that we had a real go on Friday and though the score wasn’t that much different, there was a lot more fight and a much better attitude than we saw back at the KCom on ‘the night of the long knives’, back in March, when we completely capitulated to the Wolves. 

However, on Friday we were out muscled and out smarted on a night when absolutely nothing went for us. We were very unlucky with a prop dropping out before the game, several injuries, two players going off for head checks and the way that everything that could go against us, did!! They had loads missing as well, but they had the template and the systems and their replacements just dropped into them and make no mistake about it, the best team won by far, our indiscipline and poor pass and play selection did for us and there’s little else to say I’m afraid. 

However, for Hull FC, with a ridiculous schedule ahead next week and now both Sneyd and Shaul missing from our spine, it’s hard to see where we go from here really. I guess in a nutshell Warrington controlled the territory better than us and instead of panicking, they just slowly turned the screw and put us under more and more pressure before we inevitably cracked. We then panicked and in the second half ran out of steam completely. 

As I say, we had bags of heart and tried really hard, but already with still 3 months of games to play, when you watch Hull FC out there on the field yeh, we look tired, but we are also unbalanced and unstructured and perhaps already a massive over-haul of the team is needed before 2021. Lee Radford is gone, but some of those players appear to only be able to play his way. We never gave up and the effort was there, but in the second half we faded badly and didn’t have the nous or guile to get back into it. We have to learn to exert pressure on teams, simple as! So, it was certainly disappointing, yes there are mitigating circumstance, but it was all pretty predictable too.  

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The Dentist’s Diary – 689th

What a turn around that was!

It’s a crazy old game isn’t it! 

On any given Sunday that performance would have been hailed as a sound win against an average team, but under the circumstances that preceded it and the adversity we experienced during the game, it was nothing short of magnificent. We simply showed so much character!

It was a performance full of guts and commitment, against a team who themselves were needing a win after two close defeats. We had to throw some youngsters in there, but the whole team showed what can be done with a bit of heart and a lot of honest graft. 

Around the game no one gave us a chance and few of us FCfans where anything but sceptical about our chances.  However, in the end, it was all pretty emotional stuff really and the sort of victory that as fans, we simply couldn’t have dreamed of. The players took the adversity and the criticism and used it to build some character again. What transpired was as fine an 80 minutes of sheer determination, as we have seen for a long time. 

True, Huddersfield were poor at times but a lot of the mistakes they made were forced by our resolve and the fact that they were chasing the clock. Plus, our defence in that second half was second to none. We scored some great tries, but by and large our rugby wasn’t exactly brilliant for much of the game, yet the spirit and fight was superb and against a Huddersfield team, who just thought they had to turn up to win, our young guns Cator, Fash, Brown, Lane and Johnson battled and battled in a great all-round team effort. It was the way that they did all the little things right that impressed me! But, when you list the issues that we had to overcome both before the game and on the day, they were all heroes, in what was a pretty special showing. 

So, a big well done to all the players and most of all well done to Andy Last , for a good game plan and for having the guts to drop the Club Captain to the bench. That sent out a real message of intent to fans and players alike and brought the desired response from the lads, after Salford and all the virus stuff, it was so good to see!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 688th

Well, it looks like we might be back in business again in the next round of Super League doesn’t it!

Meanwhile this weekend the competition continues without us! As we all start to worry about a national resurgence,Summer moves on and as August draws to a close, it seemsthat around the Hull and East Riding region Coronavirus cases continued to stay below the national average and that has to be good news for now at least! 

Of course, that ‘local’ outbreak that shocked us all so much,was perhaps always going to happen somewhere, butunfortunately, it happened to Hull FC and we’ve had to get on with it! 

Again, it’s not been an easy Diary to write, partly because of the delayed shock after what has happened, partly because we are all unsure where we go from here, but mainly, this time around, because there has simply been little if no information around the place. It would have been easy to give it a miss this week but in a quest to get some sort of continuity I’ve had a stab at some of the things I’ve been thinking about over the last few days, so here goes …..

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The Dentist’s Diary – 687th

A week like never before??

It didn’t last long did it? One game played and we are struck down with the most dreaded of scenario’s and one thateveryone in the game feared, but I guess believed was likely to happen sometime, somewhere and hopefully to someone else. As I said to a mate this week, it was pretty obvious that if disaster is to strike anywhere, it would probably be at Hull FC, for over the years we haven’t had much luck in that direction have we? 

The situation at the Club is a real worry and my thoughts and prayers and I know those of all of you reading this, go-out to all the staff who have contracted the virus, to their families and to all the other guys,  Adam and Clarky in particular, who are trying to manage the situation. 

After that awful display in Leeds last weekend, which now pales into insignificance, my pal Mike over in Cheshire commented last Monday, “I’d start serialising the final book now Wilf if I where you” for we were all so disappointed and disenchanted. However, unbeknown to him and all the rest of us, things were soon to take a dramatic turn and be about a lot more than losing a game of rugby. 

This is not a time for throwing stones, pointing fingers or chucking accusations about, (although plenty are engaged in doing just that), but more a period when we all have to get behind the club, the players and their families and close ranks to try to get us all through this unscathed.

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The Dentist’s Diary – 684th

Back in Business!!!!

In more ways than one! But what a disappointing return to playing that was. 

Well we’re underway and in a strange old world, I guess a sort of crazy 100 mile an hour touch rugby has already been accepted by us all as the norm. All that is, except our lot at Hull FC, who tried yesterday to play 30 mile an hour ‘Radfordesque’ Rugby, against a 100 Miles per hour Salford. 

It was simply a poor, poor performance against a team who had studied the new rules and the need for momentum and who used the whole of the pitch to tire us out. I think attitude wise there is still a lot wrong with our players and quite frankly I saw little different against Salford, than I saw all those weeks ago at the KCom against Warrington. It was really disappointing stuff to say the least!!

 Not that it’s not good to have the game back on TV and our heroes out there performing again (well sort of). It’s been a long time between drinks but at least we now have some rugby to watch to take our minds of what is an international situation that ain’t going away any time soon. 

As a spectacle for the uninitiated first time viewer ,desperately looking for something to watch, the ‘new game’ certainly has it all and our match had plenty of action. It was certainly fast and furious from Salford and the fact that every game is full of incident, makes it (in empty Stadia) a lot better watch, than football will ever be.  

Meanwhile here in the Diary we’re back in some sort of the original format and although I’ll be dropping the Codgers spot for a week or two, because over the past 21 weeks, you’ve all had enough of old games I’m sure, in general I’ll be trying to get back to how we were and including my thoughts and musings on all things Hull FC and Rugby League. 

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The Dentist’s Diary – 685th

Here it is, a special additional episode of the Diary and it’s the first time in 17 years of doing the weekly journal that we have had two in one week. But here, for those who have followed the books in these instalments for the last twenty weeks is the final part of 55 years of being an FC fanatic. Thanks’ so much for reading my humble record of just how I saw it, how it affected me just about every weekend of my life and what happened in between. 

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The Dentist’s Diary – 684th

Well we are almost there at the ‘Big’ kick-off and things still seem to be anything but clear. At least the game is facilitating a way by which all season ticket holders across the game can watch all the action, through a live stream, but it’s going to be a strange old carry on, although the lack of relegation at least means we can all sit back and enjoy some rugby and do it largely stress free. It’s certainly a big few weeks for Andy l

Last and I wish him well. It must be hard for him having been Radford’s assistant and although the players are making all the right noises, it will be interesting to see if they can deliver for him. 

The Challenge Cup draw was a strange old carry on as well wasn’t it? Still it is what it is and we have to fit in another game against Castleford, probably mid-week,  so who knows what will happen there. 

During lockdown, about 500 of you have followed the books right through the last 19 weeks as I have serialised them here and I have to admit to enjoy reading a bit about our past myself now I’m not so close to writing it all anymore. There’s just this week and another edition, to finish up the story with that wonderful day in Cardiff in 2005. 

To ensure its out of the way, you get a chance to finish the story and so that I can start the old-style Diary again next week after our first game, I’ll slip an extra edition in this Wednesday or Thursday to finish the second book off. Thanks for all your support with this as over the last 20 odd weeks it’s been tough going for us all and I hope that in reading it you at least found something to enjoy.

 Before we get going again a big good luck this week to regular reader Brain Chapman over in Spain. Brian has been a reader from the start of the Diary and is at present doing it tough after a recent operation and good luck to him in his forthcoming Wedding as well. So, onto episode 19 of the story of this ordinary fan and his life supporting the club he loves. 

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The Dentist’s Diary – 683rd

Welcome along again to a new Diary, in a week when the disaster that was waiting to happen with the Toronto Wolfpack came to fruition, as at the last minute the best laid plans of Super League were again thrown into disarray. Yet we are still encouraging new clubs in Ottawa and New York to join up!!! Man, is that just plain Madness!! Will we as a sport ever learn eh?

Globally, any sort of date when the Covid 19 crisis mighty be a thing of the past seems to be disappearing further and further over the horizon, whilst we as a country just seem to be waiting for it all to come surging back again and we just have to hope that our game, as it is now, can survive. 

This week as fans starved of the game we love, we also heard how the percentage number of people allowed in grounds is likely to severely inhibit some clubs who are desperately waiting to get folks back in stadia to get some income. In fact, even if that return happens in October as they plan, I think it will be a mix of small live gates for the brave attending games and subscription live streams for the more apprehensive sat at home. 

Your probably all a lot braver than me and I guess I’m maybe on my own in the fact that I’m still pretty apprehensive about attending games anyway, even with social distancing in place. 

I see myself as an extremely young 70, (although others might disagree) but none the less for me I suppose, it’s the issue of toilets, getting in and out and folks regularly pushing past you to go to the lieu throughout the game (which was the norm where I sat) that scares me a bit. Still, who knows, come October things might all be different. Although the way things are progressing they might not be as well!! There must be a few lower division clubs out there that look at the cessation of the furlough scheme with great trepidation and wonder as to how they are going to survive after it, until next March! It’s all a real mess isn’t it! 

Still, as the almost farcical situation concerning the Championship, relegation and promotion etc. has at last been resolved in part, all the players are back in training and the time when we can at least watch some rugby will soon be here. It will be interesting to see what the Clubs do about getting access to games for those who don’t have Sky TV, but with the sword of relegation no longer hanging over the Clubs heads at least the players can enjoy themselves a bit and produce some stress-free rugby that will be good to watch. When you list the changes ranging from the lack of that relegation, through to there being no scrums and the new 6 tackle again rules, it’s certainly going to be different isn’t it? 

Who knows though, often good things come out of adversity and just as the country seems to have found a bit of humanity one for another and people seem to be caring for others more than ever before, these new rules and structures  etc. may lead to long term changes for the good in our sport as well. 

You certainly appreciate how lucky we all where when we used to turn up at the KCom with only the quality of rugby to worry about don’t you? However, often out of adversity comes change for the better, but what legacy’s actually eventually come out of all this for Rugby league, we’ll just have to wait and see. 

But, we’ll all come through and make the best of it because that’s what we do, for when you step back from it all, as human beings we are a resilient old bunch really!!  So, onto the books and the serialisation of my life as a sad old FC fanatic. We are now in the mid-nineties and sort of in limbo, in a calm before the storm situation which at the time seemed to be terrible, but even then with the advent of Mr Lloyd (David not Gwilym!!), perhaps we didn’t know just how lucky we were!!! 

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