The Dentist’s Diary – 446th

CasCC1

The way we are playing of late and despite that draw yesterday we still have a hand on the Cup……….just!

With 6 wins from the last 7 games things are looking up a bit after what was on Saturday, in the end, a fine victory, but above everything else it was also the second week running that I came away from a game feeling that I had been thoroughly entertained. Something has happened and all of a sudden we are playing the sort of Rugby that should bring the fans flocking back, if of course it lasts. It’s good to watch, rough, tough and uncompromising at times, expansive and open at others and we have found a way to hang in a game when the going is tough! In fact as I say just at present, watching Hull FC is good value for money again.

True we struggled in the middle third of the game but it was never going to be plain sailing, Cas are a sturdy team and a talented outfit and last year’s finalists were always going to come back at us. Since the last fifteen minutes against Salford it’s been a steady but very fragile improvement for this fan and so sanitised am I to the ‘same old same old’ of the first half of the season, that when it got to 16-14 for me the game was up and I was just about ready to head home (metaphorically speaking of course).

“Here we go again”, I thought, we’ve seen it all before, but just like at Warrington that wasn’t where we ‘went’ and with some great work in the middle by Mini, Whiting and our front row, we wrestled back the considerable roll forward and momentum that Castleford had built as we went on to kill them off (yes this is Hull FC I’m talking about here) In fact we ran out easy winners in the end which even saw us all sitting back in our seats and actually enjoying the last few minutes stress free! Now that is a novelty and how good is that to report eh?

Here I have to say that I don’t wish to sound anything like the absolutely amazing Martin Luther King, but on Wednesday night, I had a dream!! I dreamed that we lost to Cas, Rover’s won, City won and Grimsby won. Then the RL reversed the decision of our game because Cas fielded an ineligible player, we drew Rovers, got beat by them at the KC and they went on to win the Cup; then I woke up in a cold sweat with Mrs R shaking me and the sheets round my neck!! Thankfully as you can now appreciate most of it was way off the mark but on waking I was certainly disturbed!!!

However the draw has been made we avoided the Dobbins and kept the possibility of the Great Wembley Retribution Final on track. I expect that now we have been drawn against Leeds the RL will be praying for Hull v Rovers at Wembley, as it’s the only chance they now have of selling it out!

At the end of the day the first couple of rounds are a lottery, the semi finals are the real deal and in between, the quarter finals have just one essential and that’s that you have to be at home, nothing else really matters!! You have to play at least one big team sometime on the way to Wembley, so from that point of view its fine. But, there will be a few interesting days ahead as it’s at the end of the pitch refurbishment period and the floodlights probably won’t be working. It’s a good draw for the Dobbins, but fair dos, after their heroics at Wigan, it was too much to wish for them to get Saints away wasn’t it? So for the FC it’s a big ask, that two weeks ago would have been impossibility but now it’s something to build towards and as I say it’s at home, with the possibility of a good gate. AND we play them away the week before! Oh Joy of joys….bring it on!!!

As we walked across the park to the Stadium on Saturday the big question was, would the new found optimism that saw a gate that was expected to be around 4000, swell by another 3000 on the back of our exploits at Warrington, bear fruit? Or, were we facing another false dawn and a big Cup disappointment in what everyone agreed is our last chance for some glory in our 150th year? Looking round the terraces at five to three it was certainly a nervous sort of home crowd, as before the game started those of us who were at Warrington were telling the rest that a win was possible, while most people expected us to be done over by a team and a Coach that we all quite liked and certainly respected. Their fans too turned up in force with around 800 there and they spread across the North Stand basking in the sunshine and exuded a definite air of optimism and confidence.

For FC though it was certainly a great start, in fact a quite unbelievable one really, as we got on a very uncharacteristic early roll, but that would never last and in that middle third of the game the outcome was always in doubt. The wafer thin confidence that there is in our new found ability was, on the terraces at least, stretched to breaking point, as at 16-14 we all sat there waiting for the landslide of points that would have without doubt come at us a few weeks ago, as we struggled to hold the go forward and momentum of a Cas team that smelt blood. Like last week at Warrington when we trailed by 10 points, once again we all feared the worst, particularly with Gale so instrumental at half back, but as had been the case in Lancashire 6 days earlier it didn’t happen, simply because we never gave up and we never gave in.

In that spell Sneyd got through a hat full of tackles and stood up really well to some tough treatment he received from his former colleagues after the ball had gone. We had some bad luck with the bounce of the ball and some poor decisions went against us, things that would a few weeks ago have seen our heads go down, but we battled and battled, made our own luck and came through as easy winners in the end.

In that period as I say we weren’t helped by some crass bad refereeing but these days you have to play ‘despite the officials’ and while we were under the cosh in Rankin we had a real ’Jack in a Box’ player who was always probing and dodging his way into the heart of their line. When the chips were down it was he who somehow found a bit of verve and bounce to ruffle a resolute visitor’s defence. He was always a thorn in their side and even though they fancied their chances of grabbing the lead, that effort and some great grunt through the middle wrestled the initiative away from an opposition whose baying fans were by then smelling the blood too.

SPORT  16.05.15  -  Hull FC v Castleford Tigers at the KC Stadium in the Challenge Cup Sixth Round.  Jordan Rankin on his way to scoring his try.  Picture: Jack Harland

SPORT 16.05.15 – Hull FC v Castleford Tigers at the KC Stadium in the Challenge Cup Sixth Round. Jordan Rankin on his way to scoring his try. Picture: Jack Harland


Good old Jordan, he just loves playing for us! Let’s hope he stays!

So it was almost in ‘the script’ that once Sneyd found Rankin out wide at the end of a speedy flowing cross field move, there was no stopping Jordan as he ploughed into the corner, legs pumping and low to the ground in real text book fashion. Then, once Naughton had grabbed his third in a truly spectacular way the balance was tipped, the tide of the game flowed back towards us and for the hoards from West Yorkshire ‘Sweet Caroline’ suddenly turned decidedly sour!! Of course we all still wondered, we looked at the clock after every play and all berated every refereeing decision, because this IS Hull FC we’re talking about here, we don’t shut games out and kill off the opposition do we? However in the end we actually did just that and it was a fine, fine display which backed up perfectly last weekend’s efforts, kept a bit of momentum going and prompted another positive Diary!!!

However there is always room for a word of caution because it wasn’t perfect by any means. We certainly took some dumb options and made some mistakes but, on this occasion, they were well outbalanced by the good stuff. My pal Stu who was sat with me, gets this coaching business a lot better than I ever have and I commented to him about just how easily Cas were able to get from their own goal line to ours in that middle spell of the game. He said in his opinion they were doing little different to us, except that their players took the ball closer to the defender before releasing it and thus committed a tackler before moving the ball on. We produced some great passing movements and switch plays but consistently released the ball a yard or two before engaging the defender and that gave them time to scramble away and join the next contact. But that said Sneyd showed the Cas fans what they had missed with another good display and Pryce showed his usual good game although I just wish he would run with the ball a bit more; he looks awesome at times when he does!

SPORT  16.05.15  -  Hull FC v Castleford Tigers at the KC Stadium in the Challenge Cup Sixth Round. Leon Pryce.  Picture: Jack Harland

SPORT 16.05.15 – Hull FC v Castleford Tigers at the KC Stadium in the Challenge Cup Sixth Round. Leon Pryce. Picture: Jack Harland


Pryce needs to run a bit more, but had a great game!

However they are small points really and we should be happy with two good wins that a few weeks ago, when we perused the fixture list, looked almost impossible. In addition the fans had a new hero and it was Curtis Naughton whose name was on everyone’s lips as we left the arena and headed home. Curtis, it appears, was always destined to play, (despite the fact that Tom Lineham was sidelined earlier in the week with a hamstring strain), simply because he has waited for his chance. In Lineham we had a strike player whose chances of playing on Saturday had been greatly reduced after some real question marks surrounded his defence against Warrington. Radford said afterwards, “Tom’s sat in the stands. Concentration wise at Warrington he probably wasn’t at his best and cost us one or two tries so this change was one we were always going to make, It’s Curt’s shirt to lose now” And so it should be.

So ‘Noggers’ was a big hit and quite a revelation, as he showed the first time he touched the ball and somehow got off the ground in a half tackle to speed in for our first touch-down. His second followed a length of the field effort instigated by a brilliant short ball from Paea that put Watts away on a 45 yard break. Poor old Wattsy, running at full pelt and doing a good impression of a train that was fast running out of steam, passed too early to the supporting Sneyd, but somehow we kept the ball alive and ‘Noggers’ was in again at the corner.

His third however was the one everyone will remember because it really was an imperious effort. Shooting through between two would be tacklers from dummy half he enticed Jordan Tansey, their last line of defence, towards him by slowing down, before he accelerated into the collision and then, swerving round the tackler, he brilliantly stepped out of the tackle as the stretching full back desperately grabbed at his boot laces and thin air. Arcing onwards towards the line we witnessed what was the youngster’s first senior hat trick and a classic try that a lot of us in the East Stand can still see in our minds eye and will no doubt watch again and again on the replays!

SPORT  16.05.15  -  Hull FC v Castleford Tigers at the KC Stadium for the Challenge Cup Sixth Round. Curtis Naughton scores try.   Picture: Jack Harland

SPORT 16.05.15 – Hull FC v Castleford Tigers at the KC Stadium for the Challenge Cup Sixth Round. Curtis Naughton scores try. Picture: Jack Harland

In the engine room Paea and Watts were brilliant in the front row and drove on time after time down the middle but there has to be a special mention to Mark Minniceillo who had a massive game and was indeed hailed by many around me as the unsung hero of the day who must have been vying for man of the match. In that hard slog middle section of the game he was into everything and worked himself to a standstill at times, so much so that he visibly struggled to get back into the line after some crunching surges into the opposition’s ranks. At half back as I said earlier both Pryce and Sneyd looked good again, Houghton was much better and both Yeaman and Talanoa played well in the centres having been tested and not find wanting by some teasing high kicks in a swirling wind in the first half and Yeaman finishing off what was a brilliantly executed last try.

What do I know, well not a lot really because dreams apart I have to admit that having watch Rovers beat an abysmal Wigan team on Friday night, and seeing the ‘Cup Kings’ not turning up at all and then put out of their stride completely by a committed defence, I was almost resigned to us losing on Saturday. I simply couldn’t see us winning and yet in a strange way I guess I almost wished we wouldn’t, because I could see us coming out of the hat against them lot of idiots, couldn’t you? Still what do I know, we won and did it in some style and after what has gone before we can ask little else.

So to the week past, when there was little news about at all. I know I’ll probably be in trouble with the Club for speculating about it, but a lot of folks have spoken to me about what’s happening at the FC off the field and I have to admit it has occupied my mind a bit of late. I felt last week’s news that Adam Pearson has taken on the post of Chief Executive at Leeds United was a bit more of a worry than his one day a week consultancy at Sheffield Wednesday had been. I say that despite and possibly because of a massive media campaign last week to persuade me, the average supporter, that it will be business as usual at my Club. Adam’s new position must be almost full time at Leeds and that seemed to me to indicate that with a pared down management team at the KC, he might well have to bring someone in to help out.

Of course such developments are the stuff that rumours are made of and there were plenty about just minutes after the news on Pearson’s new job was leaked by West Yorkshire media sources. First of all Adam was to bring a new CEO in and then almost immediately he was selling and there was a local consortium bidding for Hull FC! Then it was Mr. Koukash who was interested and finally it was a done deal that Marwan had bought the Club for his wife to run. Oh no I thought not the Return of the Etheringtons-the nightmare continues?

Of course nothing happened and next morning the Club site produced the usual ‘I’m going nowhere’ release from Adam and Motu Tony even waded in tweeting, “No need for alarm…there’s some fantastic people working at the Club who are not seen or heard so…Business as usual !!” (Incidentally who are these people hidden in the cupboard? It appears they number 2, Motu himself and Sarah McAllister) However for me that is the concern, because as I said a few Diary’s back, few of the people who have left the Club in the last year have been replaced, so I still think that eventually we will have to see someone brought in.

In fact just as it was quietening down, that Shakespearian expression “Methinks thou dost protest too much” sprang to mind on Wednesday, when it all rumbled back to the forefront of our minds as the Mail produced an article entitled “Adam Pearson: My ambitions for Hull FC unchanged by Leeds United role” . Obviously instigated by our owner it followed various articles in the Rugby League press and that big article on the Club site on Monday and once again re-iterated that Adams job at Leeds made no different to his dedication to Hull FC. Something I think by Wednesday most of us had accepted anyway.

That Wednesday article however went a lot further and commented on the way the previous Chief Executive had been replaced when it said, “In Sutton’s place the pairing of Sarah McAllister and Motu Tony take care of the club, the former dealing with the administrative side and the latter on all playing matters. McAllister’s profile is not that well known, perhaps leading to concerns from some fans about who is running the club, but Pearson has full confidence in the duo’s ability. That’s not to say the Hull owner rules from afar. His presence at the KC Stadium is still visible and despite the work required at Leeds, that won’t change. But he’s never been an owner heavily involved in all the day-to-day matters. Public perception may be different, as Pearson maintains a visible presence in the media, but McAllister and Tony effectively run the club”. Wow, I thought who writes this stuff, Sarah and Motu??

However, there was no mention of fellow director James Clark at all, although he’s still there as far as I know still multi tasking between media front man, commentator, marketing guru, game day presenter, communications conduit and general dogs body. He still produces tons of stuff every week but one can only presume reading that piece in the Mail that he appears to be an outsider and perhaps even a tad marginalised at present. Based away from the Club in the City Centre with his small marketing team, could he be on the way out too? Well I for one hope not, we can’t stand another loss at Directorial level especially one who is doing about three jobs at present.

In the bigger picture as fans, we all wonder at times if important stuff is being missed, I mean look at Mickey Paea’s contract what’s happened to that getting on for 3 weeks after 1st May? Plus there is a question as to what is happening with other out of contract players like Curtis Naughton, Sa, Kirk Yeaman and Feke? Its way past the anti tampering deadline, so as fans we can only assume that they are all off to pastures new and that other Clubs are indeed now ‘tampering’?

It’s all had me scratching my head a bit really. Still at least the article did lay to rest the rumours that the Club was being subject to interest from other parties wanting to buy it; or did it? That Mail article certainly said that so much enamoured with the Club was Adam that he was intent on hopefully one day passing it onto his young daughters who were ‘Rugby league mad’, but that’s certainly a long way off yet! The Mail stated, “Despite talk of buy outs by prominent Hull-based businessmen and rumours of Salford owner Marwan Koukash taking over, Pearson has never expressed a public desire to sell Hull. Viewing the Black and Whites as his new-found passion, it is something he would one day like to pass on to his two daughters, who have become rugby league fanatics” That’s fine then and it is business as usual, but then the article adds, “Despite being an investment which is now a family affair, the old adage of, never say never, still applies of course. If a significant cash offer was made to buy Hull, Pearson would obviously consider it, as would any owner’. You bet he would sell, of course he would, he’s a bloody businessman. However, I still wonder about there being ‘no smoke without fire’ and so I think we should still watch this space don’t you?

At least Adam is making a bob or two at Elland Road and it’s probably welcome because he must be worried about the way that gates have plummeted at the KC, but he’s not going to a place that is all sweetness and light by a long way either. If you talk to Leeds fans (and there are a couple of staunch, long term ones in the Drum and Monkey), they will tell you Cellinio is a Koukash type character and a bit of a control freak and so if that’s true then I can’t see him passing much power onto Pearson can you? Did you see that press conference on Calendar this week? Mr Cellinio certainly isn’t the sort of bloke I would want to work for and Adam sat there looking pretty embarrassed by his antics (which included going out for a smoke half way through). I just wonder how long that alliance will last!! In the mean time we are apparently in the very capable hands of McAllister and Tony, who according to that article on Wednesday, appear to be doing the lot, ‘wearing their underclothes over their trousers’ and running the show, I’m still a tad bit concerned about what’s happening at my Club, aren’t you?

That reminds me and while I remember, how good it was to bump into ex FC coach Peter Sharp in the crowd at Warrington I hope he enjoyed the game!!!

The Airco Arena stuff rumbles on with the revelation on Friday that Hull City’s Academy boss Tony Pennock was welcoming the news that the club has been recommended for Category Two Academy status. This follows a four day inspection of the Clubs facilities at Bishop Burton and next up apparently will be a meeting between Pennock and the auditors on Wednesday, 27th May. The final recommendations will be put together after that and they then go forward to the Professional Game Board (PGB), who will make the final decision on the club’s Academy status ahead of the 2015-16 campaign. I can only presume they will have and will consider, the Councils letter about the Clubs ‘illegal’ sole use of the Arena. Let’s face it the young footballers couldn’t have sole use of it this week could they; there’s a bloody squash tournament going on in there!! It’s all building up now and the ball could well be back in the Councils court big style as they contemplate legal action against the Allams.

How great it was to see a new housing scheme on Orchard Park will be named after all time FC Club hero Jack Harrison and will be opened and finished as near as is possible to the date of his death at Oppy Wood 100 years on, in 2017.Harrison Park will be one of three schemes making up an £80m housing development of 316 apartments across the city and it has been decided that it will honour the Hull FC rugby league star who sacrificed his life for his comrades by silencing a machine gun trained on his troops. We all know the story but we should never ever forget just what a fantastic bloke he was and what a great gesture it is by the City Council to honour him in this way!

Well, since the sad demise of St Matthews at the corner of the Boulevard which is now closed, St. John the Baptist Church on St Georges Road (the Club Chaplain Tony Cotson’s place of worship), has taken over the mantle as the Clubs spiritual base? It’s had a complete overhaul and become a multi faceted building and the religious home of the district, the Club and the Hessle Road community now looks brilliant. Following a long process championed by Tony, it’s finally finished and I had a look round last weekend and the place has been transformed. The old church has been completely refurbished, because as well as an overhaul of the nave and surrounding areas they have constructed a stage area and a coffee shop facility with tables and chairs at the back of the church. If you’re around there, go and have a look it’s an amazing transformation.

CasCC5

In the category of ‘you couldn’t make it up’ I had to laugh yesterday as after the ‘most difficult week’ in Steve Bruce’s career that followed the drug allegations against Mr Livermore (who was suspended for allegedly testing positive for cocaine), guess what it’s rumoured the Club presented everyone who boarded a Club bus to Tottenham with? Yep you got it, a tin of coke!!!

Now, on a sadder theme, another of those ‘tragic’ bits that feature all too often in here these days. Those of you who read RL fans will have heard this week of the untimely and sad demise of one of the regular contributors to that message board over the years, Vince (or Vincenzo as he sometimes called himself). Vince, a Rovers fan was to many, at best a protagonist and at worst a real ‘awkward bugger’, as he wound us all up, exercising his obvious advanced knowledge of finance and defended his beloved Dobbins at every opportunity! However behind that facade and that’s all it was, he was a truly nice bloke.

Although many of us crossed swords with him over the years, when I met him a time or two in Beverley, he was a great guy and a real Rugby League fan. He immediately spoke to me (and apparently did regularly to many of his family and friends) about his lasting and first real memory of Rugby league and a game we played (and that he went to with his Dad, a Hull fan) back in 1960. It was such a vivid recollection, so meticulously related, that it stayed with me afterwards. In fact he made such an impression on me that when I sat down to start to try and write something about my life following the black and whites, it was one of the first bits I completed.

My thoughts and condolences go out to his friends and family at such a tough time! It’s good to respect and remember your adversaries even when they come from across the river and so this week in the Codgers spot I will feature that game and Vince’s memories of it, taken straight from Roamin’ the Range Together. A book that I hope has been found to be simply about the lives and loves of many such stalwarts of the game; R.I.P. Vince Andrews!!

“……. 1960 was however a big year for the club. As I said earlier, Mum and I had watched the previous year’s Cup Final defeat by Wigan on the TV but this year, as we started out on another great cup run to a Wembley return, this time I was 10 and a ‘proper’ fan and so I needed, if not demanded, to be fully involved.

We beat both York and Keithley in the early rounds of the competition before things really warmed up and we were drawn against Wigan at the Boulevard in the quarter finals and what a day that was. Actually, to be honest things started the previous weekend when the quiet of a Sunday morning in Airlie Street was disturbed at about 3-00am as outside my bedroom window I could hear voices in the dark.

Rubbing my eyes and wiping the condensation from the window with my pajama sleeve, I could just make out that across the road, illuminated by the pale street lights, at the front of the ground a queue was beginning to form. By the time a grey dawn broke, the human snake stretched 4 times round the car park, past the front of our house in Aylesford Street to disappear round the far corner and out of sight. By the time the ticket window at the supporters club opened at 10-00am the queue was down the Boulevard and into Selby Street stretching right down to Chiltern Street! In fact the local Daily Mail next night stated that at one time around 14,000 people were estimated to be standing in a queue three quarters of a mile long. Mrs. Butters, Benny Allgoods and all the local corner shops that opened on Sundays had sold out of just about everything by 11-00 o’clock.

It was a freezing cold day too and years later a pal of mine, Vince related how he was in that queue having been bribed by his Dad who said that he would take him to the game but only if he queued for their tickets!! We got ours I believe from the supporters club so we all just sat in the front room all day and watched the fun as hundreds filed past our bay window.

Mum I guess, realising that there was going to be a big crush and a gate in excess of 20,000 at the game, felt that ‘Ring Side’ seats were safest for both me and her!! One thing is for sure and that is those ring side seats would never be allowed in modern day sports stadiums, but back then they were just a means of getting a few more folks into the ground for the big games.

Saturday arrived at last and with it being a sell out Cup game the “ALL MUST PAY” signs that usually adorned the turnstiles for these matches were replaced by “TICKETS ONLY” placards pasted over each gateway into the ground. Having got through a turnstile identified by a piece of cardboard with “RINGSIDE SEATS ONLY” scribbled on it in Biro, we then showed our tickets at the big gate in the perimeter fence near the dressing rooms, where the ill and infirm on stretchers and in wheelchairs were brought to the touch line to watch the games. Then we walked, through the discarded heaps of straw around the dead ball line, and took up our seats on park benches positioned in front of the Threepenny Stand at the Gordon Street end of the ground and about 6 foot from the touch line! Seats were also lined up behind the posts at each end too and that’s where Vince and his Dad sat that day. The Safety at Sports Ground people would have had a field day!

So there we sat surrounded by piles of discarded straw that had been used to cover the pitch to keep the frost out. It was a real mess! Wherever you looked the terracing at the ends of the ground seemed to be bulging as thousands packed into the old stadium. It was a still afternoon and a pall of cigarette smoke hung over the spectators like a volcano that was about to erupt. This was a totally new experience for me. Mum, after her lucky escape on the cinder hills of Odsal, probably thought we would be safer there but within ten minutes of the start, our winger Ivor Watts, was tackled into touch and landed, with a Wigan three quarter on top of him, about 6 inches from my foot! It was a great game, but also, perhaps more importantly, my first real experience of that institution that I had heard so much of and that was to dominate my life for years to come, the Threepenny Stand.

CasCC6
Packed to the rafters, the Boulevard that day! Note the ringside seats in front of the Threepennies and behind the posts. Vince is probably on there!

Behind me there was a ‘bear garden’ of cheering, drinking, smoking, referee bashing, and swearing. My Mum, who incidentally, I never ever heard swear, seemed immune to it all, but oh boy did I learn some new words that day! There were profanities that even the lad from Chilton Juniors, had never heard before. Finally I plucked up the courage to look over my shoulder at the wooden edifice that was soon to become my spiritual home. It wasn’t the size of the crowd or the sea of faces that impressed me most though; it was the way that they all lived every minute moving from agony to ecstasy at the drop of a ball! These supporters were a lot different to those that stood with me in my usual vantage point over on the terracing on ‘Bunkers Hill’ at the Airlie Street end of the ground. These guys were allowed to shout “Bastard” out at the top of their voices, without attracting any attention at all from those around them. That smell of beer, cigarettes and just a hint of urine was one that was to indicate in years to come that ‘I was home’

For probably the first time in my life I saw real anger and real passion on display there and it was great, so much so that I made a mental note of the fact that the sooner I got myself into this stand the better! On Saturday afternoons in those days thirteen a side was a much different experience to the sanitised sporting day enjoyed by modern day crowds. There were no cheerleaders, no sponsored stadiums and no Australian coaches with their “tactics” and “sliding defences”. It was all pure drama for a young lad, trawlermen swore and cursed at everything and everybody, grubby infant delinquents not unlike me pelted hapless shivering touch judges with half eaten pies and red faced Grannies turned the air blue, waving their meaty fists in the air and screaming “gerremonside!”

The game itself was an absolute classic with “The Cream” coming out eventual winners by twelve points to eight with Kershaw scoring the winning try and Bateson slotting over the conversion. I was a bit too young back then to remember much more of the detail though.

As the final whistle went the players hugged each other shook hands and then (like the Gladiators I had seen in those Roman epics on our new Rediffusion TV) they all turned to ‘The Threepennies’ to soak up the adoration of the crowd. As we filed out along the touchline and the last members of the team disappeared down the tunnel, I was bemused by the fact that most of those fabulous ‘Threepenny Standers’ just stood there, as if not wanting to go home and let the moment pass. It was always a big victory if you could turn over the ‘Pies’, as Wigan have always been known, but this was a cup game and they were of course the Cup holders. They had fielded a team with Bolton, McTigue, Sayer and Barton on show, who had all been instrumental in beating us so comprehensively in the final the previous year. Little did I realise then that I was going to be left standing on those pee soaked wooden steps, not wanting to leave the scene of a victory, on many, many occasions in the decades to come.

Vince though, sitting at the other end, has just as strong memories of that day and he told me years later that he was sat there when Wigan’s Norman Cherrington scored just 6 feet from him, only for the try scorer to then be congratulated right in front of him by the legendary Eric Ashton!

CasCC7
Just for Vince the great Eric Ashton!!

He says that it was almost unreal to see those great folk heroes of the age right in front of him. Vince incidentally says that to this day it was the most exciting experience he has ever had at a Rugby League game. Not bad for a Rover’s fan, but your first big game as a kid is like that though isn‘t it?……..

So there we are two wins in 6 days both in the most unlikeliest of circumstances and we all feel a lot better, well I do anyway. A lot of folks boycotted the Cup game because they were just fed up and hope was wearing thin. To them I just say I totally agree and can see their point, in fact years ago when someone said ‘That’s it then, I ain’t going anymore’ I couldn’t understand them at all, now I can, perfectly. However as for Saturday I have to add that as was the case at Warrington, for whatever reason you didn’t go, you missed a massive opportunity to be entertained. Thanks as always for all your E mails, texts and calls about the Diary I’ll just continue to say it as I see it! Friday will be really tough and I can’t see us winning but that goes for the Cup game too. However what is imperative against Saints is that we approach the game with the same ‘entertain and be damned attitude’ we have seen of late. It’s the last home league game for many weeks so get there if you can. However this week at least it’s nice to write something positive and long may it continue!!!

Keep Believing

Radford In!!!!!!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf

And Finally here’s a shot I got before the Warrington game. It’s the famous Karen Wark was Priestman (now Horton) and some of her mates (and one dick) at Wire mascot Wolfie’s Birthday Party!!!

CasCC8