The Dentist’s Diary – 469th

SO WHAT’S HAPPENED SINCE LAST WEEK!!!

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Well the shirts printed!!

So ends the quietest week so far of the closed season.

This morning however we start 7 days that should see things step up a bit with 4 more players arriving in Hull to start training. Sika Manu, ‘Carlos’ and Mahe Fonua will have their first experience of chilly Hull, the Capital of Culture, this week, with them all expected to arrive between Tuesday and Thursday, while Frank the Tank could be jetting in a bit earlier than expected next weekend.

In an exhaustive article with Adam Pearson in the latest League Express I noticed that when asked if the money from Joe Westerman’s sale was burning a hole in his pocket our owner said, “No It’s helping pay the wages and goes into the day to day running of the Club” So with that followed by the piece on the Club site, which indicated how happy Lee Radford was with the depth of squad he had for 2016 and then another in the Mail written around the fact that if we don’t get anyone else he’s comfortable with it, it’s easy to perceive that the club want us to get used to the idea that another signing is fast receding over the horizon.

However, don’t believe all you read because despite the rhetoric I’m convinced by what I hear from inside the Club that it is all down to the fact that no one of the quality needed, or who fits the Job Description of a ‘strike’ centre, is available. I’m even told that should a really top quality international forward or half back (who has a long enough shelf life to take us through the three or four year transition when we would expect to see the departure of senior players like Whiting, Pryce, Ellis, Mini, Yeaman and Feke), then we would certainly consider them, but they would have to be of really high quality, otherwise the search for a centre goes on. So, make of that what you will!

However, in the mean time our Coach and owner will continue to persist with the mantra that we already have a strong line up in house for next season, while admitting as well that we also have high hopes for a couple of the youngsters to make an impression and step up. There is little doubt that the Club is working towards and even perhaps relying on an explosive start to the season and let’s face it the way that the fixtures have fallen we need it! However a few FC fans I speak to are yet to be convinced on that one, so we’ll just have to wait and see I guess.

It was a first class move and a great mark of respect for a youngster taken from us so early in his life (and indeed for his family), that the Club immediately followed the announcement of the tragic death of Bradley Parker by decreeing that they will ensure that the match day shirts for 2016 carry his name in every game next season. That’s the sort of thing that Hull FC is all about, so well done to everyone concerned. Brad’s death, reported in here last week, came as a great shock to all FC fans and was something that continued to resonate with the Faithful throughout the past week. The Club also announced that their Community Champions launch this Friday at the Deep, known as ‘Be A Hero Day’, will also be dedicated to the former player, after it was confirmed the launch will coincide with Bradley’s funeral at Burton Pidsea Church (12-30pm). Sad times and RIP Bradley Parker.

Now to things down at County Road and I’m hearing that Jordan Abdull is going really well at training and determined to nail down the loose forward shirt his squad number warrants. It’s tough down there at present and this week the young ball handling 13 said of new conditioner Paul Hatton, “He’s determined to make us all athletes. I’m sure he’ll drive us to be better professionals and hopefully we will win something next year. He’s a really professional bloke and he knows what he’s doing. I’ve only done three or four weight sessions and I’ve worked muscles I didn’t even know I had.”

Jordan’s crusade to make the loose forward position his own this year will undoubtedly be a massive ask, especially with this week’s incoming players but that whole scenario got me wondering as to whether, by he’s the regular 13 in our side, there be any such thing around as an old fashioned and traditional loose forward? The time honoured play making 13 was still very much in vogue when Super League was introduced and still seen in most starting line-ups as recently as 2008, however these days it’s pretty apparent that a lot of clubs are using an extra prop rather than having that sort of creative player at the back of the scrum.

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Working hard on his weight!! Jordan Adbull’s going well at training but will he get the chance to shine at 13 or is he a bit too ‘cultured’ for a modern day number 13?

These days you often see coaches putting three props out and reducing the play making spine of the team to 1, 6, 7 and 9; they prefer the full back to be a ball handler, like say Tomkins, and that invariably at the expense of a rangy ball handling 13. There is still the odd one around, Sinfield last season was brilliant, but is now gone to RU and in Sean O’Loughlin, although aging himself, we do have an international player that can play both roles. He can take the line on and go back inside with a strong crunching run, (and does so on many occasions) but he also has a creative side to his game which is becoming a rarity. Indeed Joe Westerman used to be a typical ‘loose-man’ but of late he too has gone ‘one up down the middle’ more and more. It will be interesting to see how Warrington play him won’t it?

However where are the youngsters coming through who can be forwards but who possess the necessary guile we used to see in 13’s and do coaches want them anyway? The position’s and space created by the classy ball handling elusive running 13 is being replaced by the continuation of play made possible by the ‘off loading’ prop and when you look around, then players in the traditional loose forward mould are certainly thin on the ground. I know modern rugby is all about winning the speed of the play-the-ball, and that’s where the likes of Danny Houghton, James Roby, Josh Hodgson and Daryl Clark are so influential, because the quick scoot from acting half can really cut teams apart and create a position for another fast play the ball.

But the evolution of that tactic around the acting half back and the increasing trend of the off loading prop in the middle of the field is seeing the need for creativity from the 13 disappearing and perhaps explains why we see dour crunching hit ups like those in the last international series. Years ago, when there was a shortage of half backs due to injury, you would often see a 13 moved into that position with good effect, in fact Paul Cooke often switched the other way to make way for Danny Brough and Horney in the halves but few of the ‘bruising hunks’, who are now effectively that extra front row forward in the loose forward position, could switch around like that today. Abdull however has certainly got the old Loose Forward X factor and the vision and hands to play that more traditional role we enjoyed watching in players like Gary Divorty, Paul Cooke and the great Jason Smith and it will be interesting to see if Jordan is allowed to play it or whether the pressure of an evolving game will see a prop or second rowers occupying what used to be a really specialized position and him moving to 6. Food for thought there around Abdull I think!

I’m hearing that season ticket sales have slowed a bit since the last deadline past two weeks ago but with the take up well in advance of 5000 already, we are still in front of every other Super League Club with some, not a million miles away, struggling somewhat. Don’t forget if you sit in a reserved seat in the East or West Stands then you only have until next Monday to renew if you want to guarantee your seat. If you are not fussed about getting your usual seat or looking to improve your position then the discount scheme for unreserved passes and those seats left in the reserved areas after 30th November, continues until early January.

Now, today (Monday) sees just a week to the long awaited Autumn fans forum which takes place next Monday (30th) at 7-00pm at the Walton Club and with two of our imports (Fornua and Tuimavave) plus Adam and Lee on the panel, it should be a great night. There’s nothing like actually being there on such occasions and some ticket are still available at both the FC stores priced £3, I also expect that broadcast details will be announced in the next couple of days. I had a ‘whiff’ this week that after several years Radio Humberside could be involved again, which will be great for the spread of the information across the region, but that will mean changes, because that’ll mean I guess that an ‘old pal of mine’ will be chairing it instead of Clarky!! As you all know I no long head this sort of stuff up on behalf of the fans, but I’ll still be going for what should be an ‘interesting’ evening. Get your tickets if you can make it!

Also in the whiffs department I am told that we can expect the away shirt to be released in a week’s time, which is earlier than usual. Apparently it’s a bit different although the Club are keeping the design of it very close to their chest at present. It was also interesting to read in Gareth Hocks new autobiography that last year before he signed for Leigh he almost signed for the Rhino’s and was approached by both Hull FC and Hull KR to sign up over here too. That was a bit of a ‘lucky escape’ I would say!

You know, as I move into the category of the vintage or senior fan I’m without doubt a traditionalist. I struggle with new league structures, un-necessary rule changes, line speeds, middles, D’s, and edges, just as off the field, some of the Clubs leisurewear certainly doesn’t appeal anymore. I think myself that the aging process sees me generally finding myself becoming a tad ‘resistant to change’.

However I loved last year’s strips and quite like this year’s home shirt and although I hate anything that is red and white, I expect that the Rovers fans will have been as happy with their new home shirt which was launched last week. Of course I hate them wherever they play and whatever strip they play in, but I have to admit that compared with the Bungle, Zippy and George fancy dress away effort they wore last year, they are a pleasant return to tradition. It’s a pity it didn’t happen last year because then the Derby’s really would have looked like a Derby!

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The Dobbins new home offering is certainly better than this!!!

I was indebted to Diary reader Dave Isles this week who wrote to me to tell me that lifelong fan and FC devotee Gerry Browning, who is 83, is feeling a bit under the weather at present. Gerry’s a great bloke who was unfortunately taken ill at the last home game of the season back in September and although recovering well, he then had a bad fall and was admitted to hospital with a head injury where he underwent surgery to remove a blood clot on the brain. This has been a successful procedure and now the family are encouraging him to wear protective headgear in future. So, they asked ‘headgear wearing’ expert Feka if he would visit Gerry to emphasise the importance of some head protection in case he tumbled over again. Mr Paleaaesina was only too willing and duly visited last week. Gerry, who has already got his pass for next season, was surprised and really chuffed to meet his hero and even more pleased when he was presented with an FC shirt signed by all the players. Dave concluded his letter by saying, “Feka is a great guy with a big, friendly personality and a great ambassador for the club” and who can argue with that?

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So it’s well done Feke and ‘get well’ soon Gerry. We’ll see you at the KC next year, oh, and get your hat on mate!!!

It was in that article last week in the League Express, that I mentioned earlier, that Adam first slipped in the fact that we were thinking of introducing another in the increasing ranks of ‘joint effort’s with Rovers’ when the possibility of joining forces for a pre-season camp was floated. Next day James Smailes revealed the plan was to go to Cyprus, but much is still up in the air and it might not even come off. The lure of the Cyprus tourist board offering to pay for most of the costs of the flights etc. seemed too much for the two cash strapped rivals to overlook and so after a complete merger below under 19’s level, shops next door to each other in Hull and rumours in Beverley this week of a joint retail outlet in the East Riding town, it seems the spirit of fraternisation continues apace. There is little doubt that although Adam Pearson (like Hudgell), gets it with regard to the local rivalry much of that goes out of the window when it comes to us and indeed Rovers finding common ground where savings can be made.

Both Clubs are obviously looking for savings and for us fans looking in, it’s pretty obvious that we are living in changing times. Whether this latest departure in partnership with the Cyprus Tourist Board will actually come off will be interesting to watch, but if it doesn’t it appears that, in the interests of ‘economies of scale’ the two Clubs may still go somewhere else together. This has to be, at least for the casual observer who does carry all the emotional baggage we do, a good move and one whereby our club is looking to maximise its resources on the field by minimising them where possible off it. However when this latest alliance is added to the way that the SMC are making it more and more difficult for us to survive in our rightful home at the KC and the controversial Academy merger, it’s certainly giving the ‘full merger’ conspiracy theorists, on the message boards and social media (who seem to have such fertile imaginations), a bit more ammunition.

It was good to hear from the Hull Daily Mail Business Awards this week that out head of Marketing and Communications Club Director James Clark had come through a rigorous selection from a big group of candidates to be shortlisted for the final and to then be crowned Young Achiever of the Year. As we all constantly hear about cut backs and downsizing on the admin side of the Club its great I think to see someone on our staff who works so hard behind the scenes often without much recognition and who I suspect is somewhat underappreciated by his own peers, getting some recognition from outside the organisation.

Often the face of the Club, he is not only a marketer but also doubles up as a radio presenter and a really good compare and host at fans forums, Club presentations etc. We might not always agree with him and at times perhaps scratch our heads a bit at what ‘mysterious ways’ he is moving in, ‘his wonders to perform’ (in fact I’ve given him some stick at times in here and will no doubt do so again). However whatever you think, he works blooming hard and for an FC employee to be top in that field in a City where we are up against some massive commercial organisations, has to be good for the Club. Well done Clarky!

Now to the bigger picture and in here as I often say, I always try to put what I think even though I know that my opinions often don’t fit with the views of some readers. So, this week as I look back on the victorious England team, I’ll just continue in that usual manner. Firstly I have to admit that once I had got over the euphoria of the series win, I was a tad under-whelmed about the whole thing but now, as the dust settles, I realise the fact that to beat the Kiwi’s in the three match International series was an important and probably a significant step forward for the British game. Firstly I think we should all congratulate the players and the Coach on a job well done, at times it was not pretty, but results indicate that it was effective and the record will show a series victory for England which will probably prove a shot in the arm for the International game and a plus as well for the British Super League competition. After a great end to the domestic season, it felt to me that at last things were on the up, but we needed a series win to keep the ball rolling and we got one.

Who in fact cannot feel a bit buoyed by the current state of the British game with a brilliant end to the Super League season a great Grand Final and now this! However that said like most senior rugby matches these days, all three games were a real grind and, for the new spectator or the uninitiated, pretty uninspiring stuff to watch. In fact the middle match in London was perhaps one of the most none descript games I’ve seen for ages. It was dire at times and almost wearisome at others, something that was probably made even more apparent because we lost.

Over the series however the stats don’t lie and when you dig deeper you find that despite some of the players concerned being of such a calibre at Club level that they are considered nothing short of scoring machines, in three test matches not a single England back scored a try. In fact we only managed 7 touch downs in all and 6 of those were scored by second rowers; (all that focus on second rowers does make it all sounds a bit like Bradford at the turn of the century for me, but then again so does the way we play at Hull FC at times). So perhaps, as with our international team, with the league new structures and so much now at stake, perhaps in the domestic game using that sort of low risk rugby is the way to survive.

There is little doubt however that at the elevated level of top International rugby, good players do tend to cancel each other out which was I guess to be expected. In fact for me the shining and most memorable moment that I’ll take away from the whole series will probably be not an England score but rather that brilliant try wide out in the corner by Nightingale.

We can only beat what is in front of us and the win in a series in which we have struggled to even compete in the past is a great thing and a big fillip for the British game, but bigger challenges lie ahead and I still think that we still have a ton of work to do. Indeed if we don’t improve and evolve on a regular basis I think for all Steve’s efforts the occasional Albert Baskerville Shield won on English soil is as good as it’s going to get for us. In all the top games, be they Internationals, in the NRL or in our own domestic competitions, the big plan actually appeared to circulate around making fewer mistakes and mounting a stoic defence rather than around the level of attacking skills on show, so we end up with conservative and un-expansive rugby that nevertheless, when executed properly, wins you matches.

We won the series, so why not play like that? Those stats above certainly show that our outside backs were starved of decent running ball and as for making a spectacle of it for the first time viewer and potential converts, well that seemed to be a long way down the agenda. But we won and no one can blame Steve McNamara when we didn’t play ‘basketball’ rugby, because in the end we beat the second best team in the World!!!

Nevertheless there was still a massive opportunity, (with Rugby Union in turmoil and some great games to build on at the end of the Super league and NRL seasons), to use a crowd of 44,000 in London as a chance to showcase the game to the much coveted south of England market; we had won the first game, so we could relax a bit and yet when it came to entertaining, we saved the worst for the most important. In the last game there was a lot more stimulating action, some sterling rugby and a good fight back to make for a close and tense ending to the game and the series, which did help a bit.

I’ll not be calling for the head of Steve McNamara, in fact quite the contrary because I think he’s done a good job operating as he does on a very restricted international fixture list slotted in between domestic fixtures, with a group of battle weary and at times knackered players and on a ‘job share’ basis with a full time coaching position at the other side of the world. On the plus side of that scenario of course, is the fact that in the NRL he is watching the opposition at close quarters every single week which must be an advantage.

I also accept that ‘boring but winning’, one up, safety first rugby is nothing new, in fact we see a game like that at least once most weekends on TV and it appears that with many of the purists it’s all the rage these days. But what should we expect? I know that many youngsters of 8 and 9 are taught ‘structures’ and game plans, whilst when we were kids and indeed when Dave Topliss, Tony Dean, Peter Sterling and even Steve McNamara were youngsters it was all about going out in every spare minute to enjoy loads of touch rugby. In doing that we automatically learned to pass, kick and step and ‘play it as we saw it’.

If we had won the first and second games, then perhaps Gale and the more expansive game he offers would have come into play in what would have been a ‘dead rubber’ 3rd game. We might also have seen some more adventurous use of the flanks, but that second game defeat meant we had to win or draw the last match, so it was business as usual as everyone in the media went on about our stoic demeanour and marvelled at our ‘rock solid defence’.

I think that in the deliberations around whether Steve gets a new contract, the RL has to have a long hard look at the whole issue of the International game in this country, the profile of it nationally, where it fits into the domestic fixture list and whether as the fans deserve, we give the Coach and his staff the best possible chance to play proper warm up games in a structured International fixture list.

Macca had a good interview on Humberside’s Sportstalk last Monday, in which he talked a lot of sense about the style of play we adopted and why we did it, but then when asked by a caller, “Why don’t you ever pick Danny Brough’ said, no doubt dreading the next question, “Because he plays for Scotland” but typically Radio Humberside didn’t pursue it, they just commented “Oh so he can’t play for England then” and moved on leaving many out there in the ether ‘screaming’ at the radio.

I guess that’s a bone of contention for many, but as I said earlier we won and there is little doubt that it was progress because it would have been unthinkable a few years ago that we would win such a competition anyway.

I had a good chat with our International coach last Thursday before he headed back Down Under later that day and he was genuinely proud of his players and buoyed by what they had all achieved and so he should be! He had no idea whether he would be retained because he said there was a full appraisal going on at the RL and who knows, perhaps as Martyn Sadler said this weekend, he may not want to stay anyway. He was however genuinely excited about the future of the England team and keen to talk about our future prospects.

So, well done to Steve McNamara and the boys for a series win which has to be great for the British game and that certainly also got some credibility back to the International competition and in turn probably saved their own ‘bacon’ as far as their futures are concerned. The powers that be should be using the series victory as we speak to fire up the coming season and help Clubs sell season tickets, let’s just see what the sages at Redhall decide to do next!!

Now, what do you get the FC fan that has everything this Christmas? Well how about a Street sign??? Let me explain, because I heard this week from an old (almost) neighbour of mine who was brought up in Bachelor Street on the Boulevard. He’s an ex welder and has been an FC fan for over 50 years.

He has started up the Yorkshire Home and Gift Company and boy has he got some great embossed signs for sale. In fact I’m thinking of ordering one of ‘The Boulevard’ plaques to join the old ‘Threepenny Stand’ seats on the side of the shed!! You can see the Airlie Street one below and if you’re interested they are based at Unit 1 in Hutton Cranswick Industrial Estate where their telephone number is 01482 657648. You can also contact the company on Facebook, or ‘Google’ The Yorkshire Home and Gift company-Facebook.

As I say there is already a ‘The Boulevard’ sign available and if demand is good then plaques depicting ‘Airliebirds’, ‘Threepenny Stand’ and ‘Old Faithful’ could follow. Retailing at £28 each with free delivery in the Hull area, they are good value too so if you’re looking for something a bit different this Christmas have a look at these signs.

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So to Memory Lane and this week in Codgers Corner I want to take you back to the 1976/77 season when under the coaching of David Doyle Davidson we were eventually promoted to the First Division having spent several years in the doldrums. It was not all been bad news though, because the previous season we had battled our way to that fabulous Players No 6 Trophy Final at Headingley, that I covered a few months back. It was therefore with great expectation that we took a break from the weekly grind of second division games to play first division high flyers Warrington in the first round of the same competition the following year.

We were having a great season having won ten of our first twelve games and hopes were high with the ‘Faithful’ that we could do a bit of ‘giant killing’. This week’s featured game took place on Saturday 23th October 1976 on a blustery afternoon at the Boulevard, with the BBC Grandstand camera’s in attendance hoping that the heroes of the previous year, (we had put out First Division clubs Leeds, Salford and St Helens before reaching the final) would be able to do it again, in front of the camera’s.

As was always the case back then the period leading up to the game went anything but smoothly, when charismatic veteran scrum half Keith Hepworth reported in with flu. Eventually as also often happened he declared himself fit although he clearly wasn’t and Hull changed the bench to drop Paul Hunter and include Chris Davidson as a precaution just in case ‘Heppy’ could not complete the game. We had a real character playing that season who was actually to work with me a few years later as a bouncer at the City Hall. Alan Wardell was back in the line up for this game after a four match suspension for fighting, something that he was proving to be good at. He was a great forward though and his exploits with his fists meant that the Threepennies loved him.

Before the game kicked off Chris Davidson and Brian Hancock were presented by Chairman Charles Watson with their Testimonial cheques having had a joint benefit over the previous 12 months. Almost immediately after the kick off Warrington were caught off-side and Lazenby got us into a great position in the visitors 25 with a towering penalty to touch. The ball was tapped and passed to Wardell who showed no signs of his enforced lay off as he ploughed through 4 tackles towards the line. From the play the ball though, Hancock passed to Crampton who then dropped the ball, just as he crossed the whitewash. Warrington won the resulting scrum and Whitehead kicked up field but a well positioned George Robinson ran the ball back from full-back as Hull threatened the Lancastrians line a second time. Again though Hull lost the ball and the game settled into a forward slog with Warrington prop Wanbon (he was a big bugger) and second rower Martyn ‘mixing it’ with our forwards at every opportunity.

Then Mike Crane made a great one handed interception and set off on a 30 yard run, only to be tackled into touch by full back Finnegan, as he tried to go round the outside towards the corner flag. However after Tony Duke had won the ensuing scrum against the head our right centre Clarke almost wriggled over the line but was held up by three Warrington players. It was all Hull in that first quarter but we had failed to get over the line. Warrington were just hanging on as the 4000 crowd roared the home team forward, with the ‘Threepenny Stander’s’ only stopping for the occasional taunting chorus for Eddie Waring up on the gantry above the Stand. Then, more niggling by the Warrington forwards, saw us awarded two penalties in good positions but on both occasions George Robinson missed with his goal attempts; not a lot was going for us.

Then Curling, the visitors centre, broke away and it took a thundering last ditch tackle from Portz to stop him scoring, before their other centre Nicholson snapped up a loose ball and Hull defence had to desperately slide across the other way to stop him scoring at the other side. A fine move between Hancock and Hepworth on the half hour sent Wardell crashing through tackle after tackle before he was blatantly obstructed just 6 yards out by Cunliffe and this time Lazenby, taking over the kicking, stroked the ball through the post to give us a two point lead. Six minutes from the interval the try that Hull had been threatening for so long finally came. Warrington were working the ball into our twenty five when Wanbon had a rush of blood to the head and sent a long looping pass sailing towards his winger. Up stepped Clarke to intercept and fly off down the field for 80 yards to score a great try. Lazenby’s conversion attempt from near the touch line just fell short but at half time the under dogs from the lower division went in 5-0.

The second half, televised live on Grandstand, started in typical style when Hancock failed to make 10 yards with the kick and from the penalty Curling ran off down the field only to be crashed into touch by Alf Macklin just short of the corner flag. That ‘set the alarm bells ringing’ and Hull quickly moved the ball back into the visitors half before Tindall knocked on about ten yards out. From the scrum Duke again won the ball against the head and Hancock floated out a great looping pass to Crane who shot through the Warrington line to score and put Hull 8-0 ahead on the 46th minute, with Lazenby then adding the two points. Clarke who was having a great game almost scored again 10 minutes later, when he crashed over but was held on his back and could not get the ball down.

As a Second Division team the pressure and pace of the game was starting to tell on the FC and ‘flu ridden’ Hepworth was replaced by the ‘all action’ figure of Chris Davidson who immediately upped the pace of our line and got the team moving again. Another player who was revelling in the occasion was Wardell who tackled like a terrier and in the 59th minutes started a punch up when he stoked Butler across the chops right in front of Referee Massey. That resulted in a ticking off and a penalty to the opposition which came to nothing. Then Boxall broke the line and bustled through the defence before cutting loose down the left where he passed onto Lazenby who went over for another try and our lead was stretched to 13-0.

The first division big boys were not enjoying what was turning out to be a humiliation in front of the TV cameras and as the chants of ‘Eddie Waring’s what’s the score’ rose from the Threepennies, a massive scrap broke out which once again Alan Wardell was at the heart of. In the end referee Massey, who obviously had no idea what to do and was fast losing control of the game, gave a scrum with head and ball to Warrington. From that the visitors substitute Price crashed in and Whitehead sent a towering touch line conversion through the posts. At 13-5 Warrington had a ‘sniff’ of a victory but great tackling by Boxall, Tindall, Wardell and Duke kept them out in three consecutive sets to kill off the game. This seemed to enrage Warrington all the more and another fight broke out at scrum which saw Wardell and Warrington’s Joe Price boxing like kids in the playground in the middle of a circle of players to the cheers of the crowd.

The referee had to get in and separate them and with just five minutes to go immediately sent both players off! In the dying seconds Keith Boxall made a superb break and kicked the ball forward. He then dribbled it through the visitor’s defence showing skills that the Sunday papers next day observed ‘Would have made England Football Manager Don Revie proud’. He continued on for 50 yards before ‘The Rhino’ eventually picked the ball up, passed to Steve Portz and the centre ran in untouched to finish the scoring. Lazenby kicked the goal and at 18-5 the game was the shock result of the first round of the John Player No 6 Trophy that year. In the next round we were at it again this time putting out Bradford, before Leigh finally did for us away in Lancashire in the third round. Great days and some fabulous memories!

So another week goes by and the new season grows ever closer. News is really thin on the ground and I’ll still be happier once Frank is here but it looks like his arrival is only days away now. Thanks as always for all your E Mails letters and texts and for your continued support through the dark and indeed quiet days of a now chilly November. I hope you found something to interest you this week and thanks as always for sticking through to the end of another Diary! Let’s get the Aussies here now and if you can why not get a ticket for that forum next Monday and lets then just see what this week brings! Thanks for your support everyone !

Faithfully Yours

Wilf