The Dentist’s Diary – 585th

DEFEATED, BLOODIED AND YET UNBOWED!!!!

We are out of the Cup for the first time in three years and so the incredible journey is ended, but it concluded with a fittingly incredible finish.

We have had some unforgettably happy moments of late and now in the cold light of ‘the morning after’ we have to learn to ‘meet with disaster’ and accept it humbly.

The passion within our Club from the owner at the top, right through to those at the bottom, is simply staggering and not a little humbling, we already knew all about it, but on Sunday that amazing culture was set out for all to see on national TV; OK we lost but ain’t you proud to be an FC fan?

However, you can’t just be proud of a display like that, for there is so much more to it, and yet no doubt for you, like me, it’s not possible to animate just how you feel, because it’s impossible to put it into words. As the final hooter went I was gutted and in tears, because I guess if I’m honest I could have accepted it better had we been blown away by massive favourites St Helens, but the sheer guts and wanting to keep hold of that trophy was exemplary in every department and perhaps deserved more. Yeh, our discipline was off at times, and trial by TV played its part again too, however no excuses, because we wanted it so much and that unique spirit of 2016 was there for all to see, even in defeat.

Of course it’s all about winning and the plethora of fine words about us from the opposition players and Coach are all very nice, but will not linger for long, as the Saints go marching into the semi-final and we try to pick up the pieces and face Salford on Friday.

But for old timers like me, it’s about the buzz I still get when I realise that I’m associated with that ethos and that philosophy. For it displays such a will to succeed for the fans, through a real never say die attitude from everyone who pulls on the shirt. Decades of watching a team that has been at times stuffed with the “We’re only here for the beer” boys, have taken their toll on this fan, but boy we have some strong characters at our Club at present don’t we? Our coach did a terrific job in the week and everyone’s ‘head’ was just right and our game plan spot on. Perhaps ironically it was our absolute focus and will to win at any price, that cost us with those sin-binings.

Friday is now another day and we have to get two points against Salford, but if those FC players are feeling anything like me at present, I wonder how we will ever get ourselves back up for that game. Proud yes, gutted yes, but glorious in defeat? Abso-bloody-utely!

Continue reading

The Dentist’s Diary – 584th

I was proud of our lads on Friday. The result was no more than we could have expected if we were honest, but we gave it a real go and surprised the much fancied ‘Wire’ with a first half of energy, passion and youthful exuberance, which had a modicum of skill thrown in too.

I actually though we had a chance at half time, but I should have known better. Miracles do happen, but not that often and experience proved that the Wolves would come out in that second half and put some points on us and that’s exactly what in the end they did, but in the mean time we gave them a hell of a scare didn’t we?

For me it was a game we were destined to lose simply because of the players we were missing. That I’m afraid is a fact we had all better get used to in the next few weeks, for it isn’t the last time such a scenario will be played out ‘before our very eyes’.

Hats off to everyone who played though, because it was an excellent first 40 minutes in which there were some great showings from the young lads. There’s bags of hope for the future in some of those players and they will have all benefited no end from the experience, I’m sure of that!

All in all, it was a great effort and one that belied the number of players we had missing, in what was, before we started, a game I never thought we had a chance of winning. We got no points, but were pretty glorious in defeat. But oh boy, next week now looms and that’s a worry indeed…….

Continue reading

The Dentist’s Diary – 583rd

Newcastle’s St James Park was again turned into a sea of Black and White, as the FC fans chanted, “The City is Ours, the City is Ours’ as thanks to a great and heroic effort, in pretty difficult circumstances, we recorded our seventh successive Derby victory.

2018 so far shows two Derby’s down and two Derby’s won. One with twelve men for almost all the game and the second with a back line that read like a who’s, who of the young, the recovering and the aged!

I was proud of that performance and well done to everyone who took part! However yesterday the FC gained what was for me a very unlikely win. I have to eat a bit of humble pie and some of you will have watched that win and thought, ‘Oh Ye of Little Faith Wilf?’, but beforehand I just thought that Rovers familiarity with playing with a host of injuries over several weeks would trump a Hull FC that were just getting used to having around 9 players missing.

As I said to a pal at the end, “Yeh, to some people Lee Radford may not be a lot of things, but no one can deny he gets them up when he needs to”.

I know you all think I’m a worrier who spends most of his time looking downwards rather than up, but with our current adversity, I struggled to see where the next win was coming from and before the game I knew we probably needed another 4 or 5 points to avoid the middle 8’s. Some may not like it but whoever you are in reality that has to be every teams first goal and with changes apparently coming at the end of the year and Leigh and Toronto in such good form, no team can really afford to be down there at Round 23. Once that has been avoided, then we can start to look upwards. But, believe me, those were still two precious, precious points! It was a scratchy win but what a win just the same.

Continue reading

The Dentist’s Diary – 582nd

Absolute bloody chaos!!!

An ill disciplined and pretty disgraceful final quarter from both sides, a hat full of injuries, one or two bans looming and a refereeing display that quite frankly beggar’s belief. Oh and we are through to the quarter finals of the Challenge Cup as well! And so, as the County Road Centre of Excellence looks more like Hull Royals A&E and the builders are in extending the naughty step, we all look back on what has been a few unusual days, even for an FC fan who thought he’d seen it all.

Our tenacity and fortitude were the watchwords as we won the trophy in the last two consecutive seasons and they were on show in abundance again at Featherstone. However, that battling spirit was completely overshadowed in a final quarter that would have been a disgrace had we been watching it from the touchline at amateur level, never mind it being broadcast live to the nation on Sky TV!

I’ve seen some shambolic performances in my time, but to finish with 9 men and to get suckered into that spoiling, niggling mindset again, for the second time in three weeks, left me cold really. It was win at any cost and we did it, but in the end it actually did come at considerable cost both for now and the future.

Ok we are through to the quarter finals and our fighting spirit has to be commended, but for this fan there was precious little else to take from the game at all. Fact is we were the Super League team and we should be better than that, furthermore we should have ice coursing through our veins when the oppositions hackles are up and we should stay cool and calculated in the face of such intimidation and abject refereeing. On Thursday, we showed neither quality, so much so that when the final hooter went I was relieved, disappointed, furious and a tad embarrassed, all at the same time.

Those injuries, added to the ones we already have, could well be season defining and as reader Richard Hall said, during the game, “I fear the longer this goes on the shorter our season becomes!”. Profound words indeed and Rovers must be licking their lips at the chance they have now been presented with for the Magic Weekend match, but at least the holders were again in the hat for the quarter finals, if that is, we have anyone left to play in them!

Continue reading

The Dentist’s Diary – 581st

WE’VE GOT ALBERT KELLY!!!!!!!!!!!!

And what a massive signing, playing wise that is, there will be a lot of long faces in the East but he’s ours for another two years!! However, more of that later, because first I have to ask the question …..

WAS SATURDAYS WIN THE BEST DISPLAY SO FAR THIS SEASON?

Well you know, I think it maybe was, for it was certainly an amazing turn-around from last week’s debacle in France and how the players and the fans wanted it and rejoiced as the final hooter went and victory was ours! The result was our sixth home win out of six this season, with, after years of trying, the Black and Whites, on and off the field, at last making the KCOM Stadium the fortress it always should have been. All of a sudden teams won’t want to come visiting to what is now a hostile environment and true to our famous spirit in adversity, once again it was the fortitude and stoic nature of our endeavour that led to the West Yorkshire Clubs downfall.

With no video referee to scrutinise ‘the far end of a fart’ of every score, the game flowed, the referee was in control but kept it moving and as a team from 1 to 17 Hull FC were simply magnificent. Castleford were absolutely out on their feet by the end, as we overcame a couple of poor errors that led to their two tries, to control the game almost throughout. Without those two unfortunate mistakes, (a ball left to bounce near our line and a fumbled up and under) both perhaps down to our last line of defence, we would have nilled them. It was a great defensive showing and a much steadier performance all round.

There will be bigger battles and harder mountains to climb, but on Saturday we all witnessed a brilliant showing and could ask for no more. Well done to everyone involved, because I loved every minute of it!

Continue reading

The Dentist’s Diary – 580th

I didn’t go to France I had stuff going on back in Beverley and so as usual I watched the game at home on Sky, well done to those who went, but I think if I had, I would have been bitterly disappointed by the end.

Watching on the TV, it wasn’t much better. It was certainly exciting, edge of your seat, get behind the settee stuff, but for all the wrong reasons! When Bowden dropped that ball near the end when all we had to do was drive it out and kick deep to grab a point, it really epitomised the whole game, for we were pretty dysfunctional and careless for a lot of the time. In fact, we were in disarray long before we lost Kelly and Abdull and throughout we lacked the poise and structure to break down possibly the worst team of ‘con-men’ in Super League. For there is little doubt that the Frenchmen’s theatricals are unbelievable at times.

But, we didn’t help ourselves at all and in another of Mr Childs two hour marathons, we operated a compressed defence that left us open a bit on the wings, but even that didn’t work as we missed around 30 tackles many of which were down the middle. OK, there were some mitigating circumstances, we had some adversity before and during the game and it was hot out there, but there was no real excuse for some of our dumb play and the way that we let the home team dictate the game. We just seem to concede so much ground to other team’s packs these days, we lose the wrestle at times and constantly allow teams back into games.

The fact is, we should have won, we should have had two points and been back in the top 4, but instead we came home on Saturday night empty handed, bashed up and with a good deal of egg on our faces. It was a disappointing outcome all round for me because we fell into their trap, they slowed us down and we let them!!

I have to be honest here because, to me on Saturday we looked decidedly like a mid-table team, for there is no point beating the Champions one week, if you go and get beaten yourself by a team at the bottom of the league the next. With ten games to go to the split we are still waiting for the complete performance and its now moving towards the important bit of the season when we position ourselves for the final push. Let’s hope that showing was just a blip!

Continue reading

The Dentist’s Diary – 578th

Houghton’s Heroes Battle to great win!!


‘The Spirit of 2016’, was back in abundance on Thursday!

Didn’t you just love that, isn’t it great to at last beat Leeds at the KCOM and what a drama packed match it took to attain it. Those of us who were there in that cauldron of an atmosphere, sitting perched on the edge of our seats and shaking at the end with the excitement and relief of it all, certainly got our money’s worth, in a game that had drama, controversy, brilliant rugby and stoic defence, in fact, everything we love about nights under the lights at the KCOM.

It was our first league victory over Leeds since 2014 and so intense was the drama that I was physically shaking in that last four minutes, and once the hooter had gone, I wanted to tell everyone I met about it and what’s more I was still buzzing way after midnight, which I guess is exactly how you want to feel after a game.

For the second home game running we won a close encounter with a Sneyd drop goal and hung on to win with some of the best goal line defence we have seen all season. If the first half was our best one so far in this campaign, the second saw us almost throw it away, however throughout the whole game that spirit and will to not give in was manifest right across the black and white ranks.

So after years and years of yearning for it, not only have we beaten Leeds in the league but at last after 5 home games we look as if we are actually starting to develop fortress KCOM. The atmosphere on Thursday was unbelievable at times. It was electric and intimidating and what’s more that great crowd witnessed a fantastic game which just about got us back on track in the League. Thursday proved that we are, when we get everyone fit and out there on the field, a bloody good team. I loved it and it re-ignited my belief and my season!

Continue reading

The Dentist’s Diary – 578th

So four wins from the last 5 games has seen us consolidate a mid-table position and in fact it’s even just kept us in touch with the top four. It’s been hard and we have continued on through a deal of adversity which has seen us play some scratchy stuff but get some good wins just the same. Forget appearances, it’s all about points at this stage in the season.

Despite the fact that Widnes had their own troubles, last Thursday we had to get over a spirited side who we invited back into the game a time or two, when we already had it won. I guess in the end it was all about grabbing two points and we got them, but if we think that Leeds will perform the same way on Thursday, we will be badly undone. They looked a tad jaded last week but they’ll come to us all guns blazing and we have to be ready. We have to raise our game, keep the flowing stuff coming, but cut out the mistakes and the stupid penalties we continue to conceded late in sets.

Life is tough at the moment, we stand 6th but at least we have 12 points in the bag and should we now get players back and thus raise our game to challenge the top Clubs later on in the year, we’ll be thankful that we have. Then of course there is the Challenge Cup and we always raise our game for that, don’t we?

We are missing Watts’ unpredictable style but if nothing else we have at least tested to the full our strength in depth and recently players like Matongo, Abdull, Lane and Fash have certainly risen to the challenge as the intensity never dips when they are introduced and that has to be a plus. Players like Washbrooke who perhaps these days wouldn’t get in a fully fit side, have revelled in the opportunities they have been given, whilst before his injury the returning Hadley has been one of our top players. That all bodes well for the future, but for now I guess we have to be patient as its just a case of living from week to week at present.

Continue reading

The Dentist’s Diary – 577th

The Easter farce is over, we’ve come out with 6 points from a possible 8 and who wouldn’t have taken that three weeks ago eh?

Yet, it has been a tough holiday season for the FC and there have been several casualties, a few alarms and a lot of talking points. Few fans really expected us to beat Saints and the majority of the Faithful were right. Many doubted our chances against Wakey, but we somehow sneaked a win with an amazing bit of skill, Rovers away was the expected lottery against poor opposition with the now usual miraculous outcome and, well, we had to beat Catalans didn’t we?

So I guess 6 points was as good a haul as we could have expected to pick up in these last 4 games, for whatever the rhetoric coming out of the Club, by that Saints match last Friday we were undoubtedly buggered, damaged and crocked and so paid the penalty for those massive efforts we put in on Good Friday and Easter Monday. However, we should not forget that Saints were in the same boat as us games wise too, yet they still produced a much more clinical and effective performance. Why? Well at the Totally Wicked Stadium our heroes were left at times chasing shadows, against a team that had suffered less injuries and in fact who perhaps even looked better prepared fitness wise than we were.

There is no doubting the effort and passion we put in and everyone gave their absolute all, but if I’m honest and I always try to be in here, we didn’t look as sharp as the Saints and in any case, we haven’t really played as well as they are at present, very often this season at all. We have yet to get it right for 80 minutes in any game, because we’ve played some good stuff at times, but only really excelled in patches. Plus, with injuries on the increase again we face a tough few weeks, with a position that is cemented in the top 4 (as was our aim at the beginning of the season), still looking to be a long way off. Saints on the other hand have been able to play the same 19 or so players for several weeks now and looked to be more settled than us. Cohesion is everything when you’re tired and we are struggling through injuries to find much of that at all at present.

Of course, it’s early days and perhaps that will come at the time in the season when it really matters, because all that is important now is getting to the 22 points mark, so as to see us avoid the bottom 4. Of course as I always say, perhaps that’s just me and maybe you see it completely differently, but we look to be struggling for consistency and coherence at times and that bit is still a concern.

I’m not worried yet, we have struggled since Australia with injuries and disruption, but I do think we are falling short at present when it comes to finding the sort of form that won us those two trophies in 2016 and 2017. We keep saying it’s still early days, but the season moves on and we are almost half way through.

Continue reading

The Dentist’s Diary – 576th

DON’T YOU JUST LOVE IT WHEN YOU WIN LIKE THAT?

When you stand back from it all, that was probably one of the best Derby wins we have seen for a good while and ranks well, if not quite as well, with the efforts of the 20-0 Come-Back Kids of 2016.

With twelve men for all but 9 minutes of the game, it was a defeat that the Dobbins fans will certainly find hard to live down. But, we love it don’t we and they can’t begrudge us that, because can you imagine what it would be like where the boot on the other foot? It wasn’t the best short-handed victory I have ever seen, that was probably back in February 2003 when we lost Jason Smith after 29 seconds and Richard Fletcher with half an hour to go and still beat Halifax 24-16, with 11 men. But it was still a mighty fine display.

That’s six Derby wins on the spin and after 625 days since the last such fixture, this latest victory made me so proud of the lads, because when it comes to sheer guts, determination and tenacity, it was as good as it gets. Yeh, Rovers are poor, their fans know that and although we made mistakes, what was so gratifying was the way that we looked so much better with ball in hand, as Houghton, Albo, Shaul and Sneydy provided a great platform for our backs to perform.

We attacked well, tackled like terriers, held our nerve and came out victorious for a win that was pretty unpalatable for most people in East Hull particularly those ullin attendance. We were great and if not that polished or classy, it was still an indication for every FC fan that although we have stuttered a bit of late, that amazing spirit and passion that got us two consecutive Cup Final wins, is still alive and well in the hearts and minds of every FC player! Who can’t ask for anything more really and it was certainly the win of the season so far.

The game was refereed from the gantry throughout which really narked me and I’ll address that one later, but we even overcame that to chalk up a great victory over adversity in a cauldron of a Stadium. There is little doubt as well that those days when I went on and on in here about Rovers always wanting it more than us in Derby games, (a comment that even saw the Diary being quoted by David Burns on Sports Talk) are gone forever. Well they are as long as this Coach and administration are at the Club. Rovers may have made all the brash statements and done all the posturing during the week, for they obviously wanted it badly, but with us in that frame of mind they weren’t getting it!!!

It’s so important to so many people to get such victories and the circumstances that surrounded our success mean that we all had a great couple of days over the Easter Weekend.

Continue reading