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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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