The Dentist’s Diary – 556th


Still battling, still hoping and still alive!

Whatever anyone says and whatever else happens, it has been an amazing two years! Two Challenge Cups back to back, four semi-finals and three Man of Steel nominations in two seasons is pretty unprecedented at any Club, never mind at the FC. And it ain’t over yet!!

We are back in that ‘bubble’ where we are challenging for a place at Old Trafford, as everyone, with the exception of the best four clubs, are left to look on. It’s a place we are beginning to cement for ourselves at the very top end of the British game, because now its ‘official’, last year was NOT a flash in the pan and whatever happens on Friday, it’s been another tremendous season when it’s been great to be an FC fan.

Before you read on any further, just pause for a moment and dwell on how lucky we are and how much we perhaps take for granted, particularly when you consider just where we have come from and how good an FC side we are now watching. This is our best team and our best set up since the 1980’s and if time travel were possible, I would love to transport every reader of this Diary back with me, so that we could all sit in the East Stand a few years ago in the reign of Auntie Kath and Richard Agar. Then perhaps we’d all realise just how far we have come under the Radford, Ellis and of course Pearson regime.

As fans of any sports team there are always hard times in which we crave success and distinction and often wonder if it will ever come our way. In fact, for many supporters of many Clubs it never does manifest itself at all. However, for us lot it’s here, we have won ‘the unwinnable’ …twice, got within 80 minutes of Old Trafford twice in the same two back to back seasons and in the process, shut up the protagonists across the game and indeed more importantly those ‘Dimwits in the East’, completely.

You might be different to me, but I’m still finding the significance of all this hard to rationalise. We might see the end of our season this weekend, who knows, that’s sport, but the prospect of our Club becoming a force in the game is now, I believe, a real one and the dream is no longer a fleeting fantasy but fast becoming a reality. The problem is, it’s all happening around me and I don’t think I fully appreciate just how good this all is? In essence I suppose being positive isn’t something the rank and file of FC fans are particularly good at, for time, disappointment and adversity have made us very wary of that scenario indeed. Negativity seems to have crept (stealth like) into all aspects of modern society and I guess I’m no different either, in fact, I think in the end, when it comes to trying to explain just how good we have become as a team, even I found it easier when I was kicking off and grumbling because we were crap!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 555th

ONE hell of a battle, TWO precious points, THREE departing Heroes and ‘FOUR Seasons in One Day!!!’

Three real heroes depart but how are we going to replace them at the Club?

It was as tight a game as you could ever imagine and excruciating to watch at the end. However, it was also 2 points that kept our season alive ….but only just, although there were certainly 3 departing heroes out there who were worthy of all the accolades they received. Nonetheless, all that said, what a nerve racking night it became. It was a game that firstly plunged us all to the depth of the way we played four seasons ago and then raised us again to the heights of the best of the fighting spirit we have shown in the last two campaigns. In fact, it was a match that spanned 4 years of FC performances in just 80 minutes of rugby. It was good, it was bad and at times, boy was it ugly! But after a game that certainly was ‘Do or Die’ we are still alive, but only by the skin of our teeth.

Of course, in the bigger scheme of things, I guess you couldn’t ask for more drama as a neutral and the TV guys got what they wanted as far as the much vaunted jeopardy was concerned. However, for us lot, sat with our heads in our hands, it was, in that last two minutes, almost impossible to watch, for then, it was only Minichiello’s heroics, charging out of the line to somehow defuse those two drop goal attempts, that got us home.

The week ahead will certainly be a nervy one as we all become a Salford supporter for a day and it will be a good old fashioned time for the fingernails as well, as the fans nervously bite theirs and the team prepare to fight and scrap as they just hang on by theirs!!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 554th

FIRSTLY …..what a wonderful performance that was!!!

On Friday night I was proud to be there, even in defeat. In fact, in hindsight it was a game that we should all have been remembering for years and one that we might well have been talking about in the pubs and clubs for generations to come, because that’s how good 12-man Hull FC were and how close we came to a famous victory. However, as the mists of time gather around the 2017 season, I don’t now expect it will be that memorable at all really, because even after circumstances saw us fall just short of a historic win, as usual we left the match talking about just one thing; an uninspiring display by the official. AND this one really was uninspiring!

Whilst we should all have been marvelling about that wonderful Fonua try, when a brilliant pass back from Connor saw our winger run over the opposition to score, or another wonderful and at times mesmerising showing from Albert Kelly, instead once again it was same old, same old as we walked home. After the farce of Ellis’s sin binning and suspension and Burrows thuggery at Leeds last week, which very likely robbed us of two points, it was business as usual on Friday as we were once again robbed of a win by ineptitude and a referee that completely lost control of the game and the players. It’s not about the big decisions but everything that goes on in the tackle and on the floor and with the niggle and leg lifting all of which he ignored completely. Mr Hicks was, in that first half, reduced to ‘ad hoc’, ‘on the hoof’ decision making and appeared at times to be just making it up as he went along.

When back home in the cold light of your own easy chair you watch it back and listen to the platitudes of Cummings and Co always defending the referee whatever he does, you realise that the heat of the moment and the reality of watching it all unfold in real time at the Stadium, does make you a tad biased. However, there was still so much going on in the contact and on the floor and off the ball that the referee either ignored or blatantly misinterpreted that it was at times nothing short of a travesty.

Seldom have I seen such an animated crowd and rarely has the support at the KCOM been more vociferous and passionate and in turn I think that was all instrumental in our magnificent fight back in that second half. Get that response every week and it really would be fortress KCOM, but sadly it was all ignited in the first place, not by that gargantuan effort, the sheer will to hang in the game or our lad’s obvious passion and wanting, but by frustration at the total ineptitude of the officials. It was something that resounded around the Stadium both on and off the field; Mr Hicks lost control and Tomkins took over, oh boy, what a bloody mess our great game is in!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 553rd


Thursdays was a horrible game and it’s hard to describe it as anything else really! Our lads did their best and in the end it was a lot better than many of us expected, but we were beaten not so much by the expected lack of energy but by bad luck, the bounce of the ball, having to force the play a bit late on and some baffling decisions and omissions by the officials …. again!

However, although we lost, I’m still smiling and furthermore I’m pretty confident that after that glorious day at Wembley, I will be grinning my way to the end of the season, whatever happens. I watched the Final again on Saturday afternoon in sort of real time – 7 days on, (we won again) and who knows I’ll probably do the same next Saturday as well!

But, that’s just me and talking this week to a lot of fans it appears that their feelings about the rest of the season are split pretty definitely along ‘age’ lines. The younger fans are by and large with the Coach and owner in wanting a Grand Final finish at all costs, with for some, only us winning the Super League Trophy being seen to make it a successful season. Conversely, many of us older members of the Hull FC community, although happy to enjoy whatever else comes our way, have already got what we wanted, because that famous old Challenge Cup is back in the cupboard again, we have been blessed to see history made and anything else that transpires now, will be a very welcome bonus.

Winning the Grand Final would be brilliant, although I think the possibility of that is fading a bit myself, but if you ask Adam where we are overall at present, he would admit to us probably still being a couple of years away from being where Leeds or Wigan are as Clubs, but to win back to back Cup Finals must give us a massive boost on that road to the top of the game.

Leeds was always going to be a big ask and in the end we put up a valiant and gutsy performance under difficult circumstances in a match, the result of which probably hinged on that Ellis sin binning and no action being taken against Burrows for a blatant head butt on Jake Connor.

Still we played well, gave it a real go, scored some good tries and could even have won it at the end. It gone now and there is little we can do about it, but even if you’re in the ‘Grand Final or bust’ camp, don’t despair, because we live to fight another day next Friday! But we do it in a game that will I’m afraid, be a very tough proposition indeed!

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