The Dentist’s Diary – 549th

“It was the ugliest, prettiest result I’ve had in an awful long time”.

Lee Radford is, for anyone who writes about Hull FC, an absolute dream at times. I’ve already written a book on the back of a season of his most exceptional, intuitive and downright quirky quotes and here he is once again, doing what the man does best, because you don’t get much quirkier than that one! But as always, in his own inimitable fashion, how true he was about Friday.

A massive if enforced selection gamble by Lee, a master pocket picking exercise by the team and a great win based on an exceptional spirit, all gained against the much fancied Saints in their own back yard. Top stuff indeed!

That’ll do!!

OK, I agree with you, it was a shocking game to watch, but whilst on occasions a great win is signified by brilliant rugby and a scintillating performance, on many others it is symbolised by the significance of the victory in the context of the season, the team you have out there, who you are playing and even perhaps the weather. Although certainly not scintillating by any means this latest win embraced all of the other four indicators on what was a quite extraordinary night. The referee added to the woes with a stop/start performance that took away completely what bit of flow there was left in the game, however, let’s not forget either that this was St Helens, the pundit’s present favourites and the current darlings of Sky TV. Therefore, all of a sudden, it was as big a game as we will contest in the Super 8’s. Now, with all the top four spots taken by Yorkshire clubs and the Lancashire boys dropping off the pace a bit, no wonder Phil Clarke isn’t happy.

Well done to every FC player involved and to the coaching staff and the owner, for in such games it really doesn’t matter how you win, but rather that you win …..whatever the cost. On Friday, because of all the late withdrawals and with a game plan that was cobbled together on the bus, it was always going to be tough.

Good teams find a way to get over the line and whether they do it as we did at Donny in the semi with sparkling rugby, or in shocking conditions and a war of attrition littered with mistakes, like on Friday, in the end it matters little. This team is special it hasn’t won anything yet and it may not do, but believe me it’s special! That was a showing of great resilience and passion against what were considerable odds and it was a massive tick in the box for building gradually and peaking at the right time.

A win next week will present us with all we need to go forward with momentum into the last four Super 8 games and, who knows, perhaps even a top two finish. So let’s not dwell too long on a hat full of handling errors and mistakes that were mostly down to the conditions. Instead let’s just focus on the points we gained as we move on to a battle against a dangerous Huddersfield team who visit the KCOM on Friday with nothing to lose but their last chance of glory in 2017. There, with a big gate, a send-off to the final and a chance to all but secure our place in the top four, it’s all to play for, but for now at least history would dictate that it still isn’t wise to talk too loudly about Wembley at all, is it?
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The Dentist’s Diary – 548th

Heroes and villains!

It was without doubt a good effort, a bit scratchy at times, but a good effort just the same! We got the job done, saw some great tries, grabbed the two points and witnessed another pretty atrocious refereeing performance! (Get rid of the back line judges, Mr Wood, we now have referee’s with bionic vision!!!) Another week, another game; Welcome to the Super Eights!

Kelly was great again, but there was another hero against Salford!

On Friday it was all about the result rather than the performance, for it was, when you looked at how the fixtures fall, a must win game. Yet, as I walked to the Stadium, I pondered on the fact of how much our success at Donny would influence the outcome on the night. I believed that what we took from that victory, coupled with how a disappointing outcome impacted on Salford’s resolve, would probably decide the game. I don’t care how good a team you are, there is no way that you can completely overcome the physical and mental stress inherent in such games so soon after a semi-final and it was always going to be about who best overcame the ‘hangover’ from the happenings of the previous weekend. In the end some shrewd preparations by Lee Radford, during which the players just rested up and did little else, got us the win and as the results fell, we ended up with three points on the teams in fifth and sixth and six points on those in seventh and eighth.

So, with everyone having to play each other and thus not just gaining points but taking them off their nearest rivals as well, we are on course for the top 4, but with still a bit to do to cement our place. However at least that win gives us some breathing space and allows us to go to Saints with a bit of the pressure off and hopefully a couple of players back. Now we have a slight cushion over 5th and 6th and if we win our other 3 home games, we should be home and dry in the top four with another ‘objectives for the season’ ticked off. So all in all, Friday night was without doubt ‘Job Done’!

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