The Dentist’s Diary – 488th

First things first this week!

350 NOT OUT!!!!!! Well done Yeamo; a real local hero!

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“Hey Dad, what do you get when you play your 350th game?”
“Well kids, I got a dead leg!!”

What a game for Kirk to celebrate with too, as a gritty, tenacious and at times stylish show saw us get through a deal of adversity to eventually overcome a determined and pretty desperate Huddersfield side. The visiting Coach said after the game, “I thought we threw some decent stuff at them for 40 minutes. After that, well, there are some big human beings in that Hull team and that’s for sure”

How big? Well once again to a man the FC proved that we currently have a tremendous appetite for the fight and a deal of style and precision too when it’s needed. We all knew what could happen, in fact we all knew what usually does happen in these circumstances and in the end this was the test which proved, I think, that we have some special players and some ‘big hearts’ in there, even without our ‘leaders’ Ellis, Washy, Carlos, Mini and Pryce!!

None the less the performance we witnessed was nothing short of clinical, and that’s an expression you haven’t seen in here much in the last 11 years! Lee and the boys can dress it up how they like, but we would have lost that game last year. However this group of players is proving to be a bit special and with 25 of them used since Good Friday, everyone wants to get in on the act, everyone who comes in wants to prove a point and no one wants to let their colleagues down. This was a different game to the one at St Helens, but in the end an equally impressive victory, because it was a game that we all knew was a potential banana skin and one that the long suffering fans, who had seen such scenario’s so many times before, were just a bit concerned about. We had to wait and wait and be patient and then we had to pounce and we did just that, quite brilliantly!

However, let’s be honest with 14 points from 10 games…. it’s been a pretty unbelievable few weeks hasn’t it!!

Despite a brilliant performance at St Helens, I’d been concerned all week about this one! It all started with that ‘Super Hero’ rubbish that The Daily Mail printed on Wednesday with Jamie Shaul as ‘The Flash’ and Frank Pritchard as ‘The Hulk’. I thought ‘here we go again’ and worried that something that had started from an off the cuff comment by Mark Sneyd about Gareth Ellis being ‘A bit of a superhero’, would be enough to sidetrack a few in our camp and effect their focus; I say that because experience has proved that it doesn’t take that much to do just that!!

Quite frankly, with a team that has historically proved to be decidedly ‘iffy’ with regard to getting their ‘heads right’ on these occasions, it was the last thing I wanted to see spread across the local paper and I feared the worst as we prepared to entertain the bottom Club of the competition. Having witnessed how we let success go a bit to our heads after the Catalan game and how we approached the match at Widnes, we really didn’t need that cheap sensationalism in the media did we? This was, (even before that stuff), the big test of our mental tenacity and our ability to grind out wins against struggling teams that are fighting for their lives and we needed all the help we could get.

So, it’s fair to say that past experience had proved that we were in for a big a test of our new found standing as the pundit’s choice for a top 4 finish. We all knew that was a fragile accolade and one that was under threat, because in the past a visit from the bottom club, an under-performing team and a group of players destined for a big win any time soon, would have spelt disaster. I said last week that it was ‘an accident waiting to happen’ and at times in the first half it crossed my mind that it was about to become just that.

However, even trophy winning teams would struggle if they lost a half back in the warm up, particularly if they only had a winger as 18th man. As my pal Kathy said, “Where’s Richard Whiting when you need him?” But ‘Stilts’ was away on a sabbatical in Leigh and so we faced a deal of adversity even before the game kicked off and we had to overcome it!! We needed to be patient, grow into the new formation that was forced upon us 5 minutes before kick-off, keep in touch, hang in there and somehow then find the means to put them away.

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Naughton scores!!!

Of course, it’s always tough being an FC fan isn’t it? You know, I have to admit that at half time, although we were in the lead and still in the match, if yards gained and field position were indicative of the final outcome, then, I felt, for us lot the ‘game’ was perhaps about to be up! Well it was if the Huddersfield outfit continued to balance the maverick and at times brilliant play of Danny Brough with the structured and well organised approach of their forwards. That loss of Carlos in the warm up left us a bit disorganised in that first 40 minutes as players scrambled to make adjustments and at times we looked a bit disjointed.

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Feke and Greeny get Crabtree!

In that period it was surprisingly a new found ability to create something near the opposition’s line that kept us in the game and in fact just in the lead. However, in the second period, whether Broughy was on or off the field, from somewhere we found the tenacity and fortitude to beat what looked like a bigger Huddersfield team into submission and there were some massive performances upfront that were instrumental in doing just that. Our backfield of Jamie, Stevie and Curtis was nothing short of brilliant too and what came about in the middle of the second half was simply what good teams do! What’s more WE did it last Friday night in a performance when everyone was, in the end, if not a star then definitely a champion. It was a time for some of those usually ‘unsung’ heroes to step forward; and step forward they did….big style!

These are the games in which you have to grind it out, wait your chance and then pounce. Whether that chance manifests itself when the opposition suffers some sort of adversity, goes off the boil a bit or loses a player to injury or the sin bin is academic; that’s your time! As I say that’s what good teams do and have done to us for years! Perhaps after all the glory and elation of ‘The Comeback Kids’ in the Warrington, Rovers and Saints game’s this one against a floundering Huddersfield was a big test of our fortitude. Why wouldn’t we as fans worry a bit beforehand, we’d seen it all before hadn’t we?

If the first half had seen us hang in there, the second half began with ‘rested’ legs leading to a real war of attrition which saw both sides going toe to toe and battering each other up and down the field, as all 26 players hunted the errors that never seemed to come. Every set was invariably concluded with booming, ‘siege gun’ like ‘Up and Unders’ which the relative full backs and wingers had to defuse under intense pressure to ensure the stalemate wasn’t broken. For us Mark Sneyd hoisted the kicks and that backfield of Curtis Naughton, Jamie Shaul and Stevie Michaels fielded the Giants efforts, often in the face of an onrushing stampede from the visitors. A typical bout of petulance, saw Broughy sin binned for 10 minutes just as Danny Houghton scored a game defining try that had been brilliantly fashioned by Sneyd with a grubber into the in goal area.

That broke the deadlock as cometh the hour cometh the heroes and although a big and determined Giants team ensured it was always going to be tough getting the upper hand, our forwards somehow found another gear, we got two brilliant tries and did all that, before their talismanic Scrum Half returned to the fray. When he did come back onto the field the game was all over and we had found a way to win! That ten minutes or so was just like watching what Wigan and Leeds have done to us so many times at the KC in the past and so, by ‘Danny Boy’ came back on, we’d done ‘em!!!

In the end it was two more points, a real arm wrestle and a game that showed some of the qualities of our ‘fringe’ players and the value of strength in depth in the modern game. It was in fact a massive indication of our character, as the lesser heroes in our 17 stepped up to the plate and really delivered the goods. We never gave up and we never gave in and if you’re still staying away from the KC for any reason at all, then with this lot out there on the field, believe me, you’re missing an absolute treat! I was totally ‘wrung out’ at the end, but I shouldn’t have worried, because in that last 10 minute once again some great game management got us home.

Performance wise it is maybe unfair to pick anyone out, but I’ll do my best to describe what I saw. Although Mark Sneyd was Man of the Match my first accolade has to go to Dean Hadley who having trained all week to be a rotating second rower from the bench had to play a full 80 minutes and to do it at off half. Someone actually said to me, “Why didn’t we move Shaul to 6 Naughton to 1 and bring in Talanoa on the wing”, but the Hadley option although a risky one on paper, saw the minimum disruption and prevented two players playing out of the position they had trained in all week and a winger who was coming back from injury having to play a full 80 minutes. Radford said when he arrived as coach that the days of moving 5 players to accommodate one injury was past and as far as possible we would swap like for like. Hadley wasn’t the ideal replacement in anyone’s book, but he was simply magnificent and is certainly deserving of a new contract.

I was also very impressed with both Houghton and Sneyd who I lump together because they were at the heartbeat of everything we did last Friday. Houghton, despite the worry of illness at home with his son in hospital, grabbed a try and got through a mountain of work (53 tackles!!!!) and once he started running from acting half as he so often does these days in the second 40 minutes, he murdered their tiring forwards down the middle. How he got his head together I don’t know, but he’s a real hero for me. Then there was Sneyd who was just imperious again at 7, his kicking was first class his management of the game in the last twenty minute or so superb and that more direct style that he has adopted of late just gets better and better.

Naughton and Michaels were again outstanding on the wings, with both fielding bomb after bomb safely under intense pressure. ‘Noggers’ is also becoming really illusive when running with the ball and has to keep his place, whilst both wingers were really well supported by their centres who tightened up the defence wide out at both sides. At full back Shaul was again superb! If it was possible for his running to become more elusive than it was at Saints, then it was just that on Friday. He is without doubt the best full back in Super league at present!

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Frank was magnificent!!

Up front Watts had another great game and he and Taylor never gave an inch when faced with the wrath of a massive Giants pack, while Thompson, when he came on, tackled tenaciously and ran hard, producing one 60 yard break that saw him scatter the Huddersfield rear guard like skittles. Manu worked hard too while Pritchard was simply sensational. Given a tighter role where he was expected to drive in rather than run the ball wider and off load you tend to over look him. However he got through an absolute mountain of work and one great cover tackle in front of me saw him buckling at the knees. That would have finished most players off, but ten minutes later he was back battering the opposition and he should take a lot of the credit for the way our forwards got on top in the second half. Green too did his bit with the biggest number of yards gained in the forwards, while Feke chipped in well too. Finally, big raps for Bowden who started in a rather unfamiliar loose forward role and then scored our first try. He is becoming a really top notch prop who again needs his contract sorting quickly.

So another night to be totally proud of the boys and of our Coach! Lee admitted to changing the tactics completely at half time, an action which proved inspirational in dictating the eventual course of the game. It was a match that in the end left us all, once again, pretty breathless, there will be bigger battles and no doubt some disappointments ahead, but for now, as fans, we can ask for no more!

While I’m on Huddersfield however, I would just say that he’s been on every FC fans lips at one time or another of late and everyone has an opinion on Danny Brough, but even though he probably transpired to end any hopes that the Giants had of a come-back with that sin binning, he is, for me, still as good an old fashioned scrum half as you will see. Yes, he’s always controversial and always in the officials ears, but for me the sight of him running across the line stepping and dummying, before unleashing either a pinpoint cut out pass or a short ball to a forward running on, is the last vestiges of a dying art and still even when you’re in your dotage, a joy to behold. He might get on all our wicks and be a thorn in our side. He might be petulant and over reactionary at times, but he’s no different to some of the best exponents in that position over the years.

So, what about our reported interest in Broughy then? There has been a lot of rumour and conjecture about our old hero returning to finish his career at the KC. It’s been going on a while and I haven’t commented at all, but now, as it appears to be all off, I guess it will do no harm if I tell you what I know about the strange case of ‘Danny Come Home’. It all started for me, long before all the current rumours started, back on Thursday 29th October at Hull City Hall. That night I attended the big 150th year celebration that brought back together the 2005 Cup Winning team. During the evening I was stood talking to Adam Pearson on the front stairs of the City Hall when up came Danny Brough on his way back from the toilets.

Our owner seemed to know him really well, it was all Adam and Danny as the diminutive scrum half said to our owner, “When you going to get me back to Hull FC then Adam, your bloody taking your time?”, to which Adam replied with a laugh, “Well I’d do it tomorrow, if I could afford to buy out the 3 years remaining on your contract”, after which the conversation descended into a few laughs and we all moved on. But it was certainly serious stuff, I was convinced of that. That mutual admiration between the two parties has, I believe, continued ever since. However, I’m told that after the Giants game against Salford on Easter Monday, Danny was called into owner Ken Davey’s office and although he said he wanted to come to us, he was told he would not be given away and they would be expecting him to honour his contract at Huddersfield, unless someone else bought it out!

In an interview the next day that current state of affairs was confirmed by Danny when he said to the media, when asked if his departure from the Giants was imminent, “No, but I can’t say any more than that” Obviously he didn’t want to elaborate and there was certainly no great statement of loyalty to his current Club as you would have expected in those circumstances! That as they say was the end of that I think….for now!! However reading our owners programme notes on Friday and him breaking tradition to cite a player we we’re rumoured to be interested in and yet not denying that interest, I gt a feeling that it might not be all over just yet! Adam said, “He is a Huddersfield player and that where it starts and finishes”, but does it and if it is such a non-story why raise it in the first place? Conspiracy theories eh, don’t you just love ‘em?

If we are interested, is he too old, will he rock the boat, should we bother? As my pal Dave Cooper always says, “It’s all a matter of opinion really” but as for me, well at my age your entitled to be a bit sentimental and I still hanker after those traditional, ‘Cheeky Charlie’ scrum halves in the Tony Dean, Andy Gregory, Kevin Dick mould, who were always talking, always dodging about and always getting up the oppositions noses. They were the type of 7’s that Eddie Waring used to refer to as ‘little generals’ and ‘pocket battleships’ and you know what, Broughy’s got a bit of that in him and is probably the last vestige of that tradition left in the modern game!

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Danny Brough; still a bit of a looker?

But, would he be a good move for us? Well some say yes and some say no and we could all talk about it for ages, but perhaps after 5 wins on the spin we should all sit back, enjoy the ride and let the Coach and owner make these decisions. Let’s face it most of their recent ones have been pretty sound thus far!

Talking of our coach, who has been a much maligned character at times in here over the years, perhaps it’s time to say well done to him for the tactics and the approach we have adopted of late. His comments after the game, about him having no sympathy for Clubs like Rovers who ‘poo pooed’ the idea of Under 23 teams and who are now struggling to muster 17 bodies each week were, I feel, spot on. As I said earlier we have used 25 different players since Good Friday and still have around 6 or 7 in the squad standing by. That strength in depth has let us give players like Washy, Mini and Ellis an extra week to recover which then gives the ‘foot soldiers’ of the squad an opportunity to shine. The fact that all those players have been involved builds the team spirit in camp and so for me the Under 23 idea is turning out to be a great one and a good call by the FC.

The news that we were to have another ticket promotion for the Catalan Dragons game is excellent as the ‘BIG Night Out’ had tickets for £5 for members on the Friends for a Fiver scheme and Kids for £1, all on sale until close of play last Saturday. Once again Members could buy up to two tickets per membership card from the KC Stadium retail store in an exclusive priority purchase period before normal match day tickets went on sale today (Monday 11th April). This is a great idea and last time it was used for the Salford game I bought 4 and gave them away to fans who usually don’t come to games; two of which have been back to the KC twice since. I’ve done the same again, because I think that it’s a great idea and an opportunity to help build our crowd at the KC. The Hull and Proud week is always a great occasion and this deal will have helped top it off.

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Was the pressure off a bit last week? Or…… has Super League’s Youngest Coach come of age! Top quote from Lee whatever!

Last week after watching the heroics of some of our senior players against St Helens and how they were making the rest of the Rugby League sit up and take notice, I got to thinking about who we should be retaining this coming year to ensure no one snaffles any of our current assets who are out of contract. We have already got Mini and ‘Noggers’ sorted out, but there are still plenty out of contract and up for consideration. Already engaged for 2017 are those two plus Shaul, Fornua, Carlos, Logan, Talanoa, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Watts, Thompson, Manu, Pritchard, Washbrook and Lancaster. Watts is shrouded in rumours about him joining his mates at Warrington, but listening to his interview on Humberside after the game then you can forget that one! However there are still several out of contract players to sort out. Top of that list for me is certainly Gareth Ellis and while it’s likely that Feke will retire, there are also decisions to make over Bowden, Hadley and Green.

Two long term servants of the Club, Rich Whiting and Kirk Yeaman are also ending their tenure this year and while I think Rich Whiting might just be enjoying his time at Leigh, my heart says keep him but my head wonders if we need to free up his salary. However some amazing recent form does now put a question mark over Kirk, who could just be playing his way into another year’s extension.

Leon Pryce is also at the end of his 2 year contract this year and has indicated that he wants to leave then, possibly for Bradford. The rest of the out of contract players are youngsters and include Reece Dean (rumoured to be the latest of our Academy players about to be snaffled by our lazy neighbours), Jordan Abdull, Jansin Turgot, Jack Downs, Harry Tyson Wilson, Brad Fash and Massi Matongo (who I think has an option on his side of things). The very talented Jez Litten has another year to go but needs to be re-signed too. So it looks as if there is some work still to do to get next year’s roster sorted as the Club actively look to add a half back to their ranks for 2017 to replace the possibly departing Leon Pryce. For me, and its only a personal view, I’d go all out to get Bowden, Hadley, Ellis, Turgot and Matongo sorted ASAP. I’d monitor Yeamo and see how he goes and try and consider getting Steve Michaels signed up again too, because he’s proving to be a solid player. As for the rest, well it’s up to them to play for a contract and I know at present the Club is ruling no-one in or out!

How great it was to see that my pal Jed Rust was selected to be the Clubs first Member of the Week last Monday. This is to be a weekly feature on hullfc.com and the club’s social media channels as Members Monday continues to showcase and reward the club’s most loyal supporters. Every week, there will be a chance to nominate fans and the scheme offers the opportunity to take a look at some of the stories behind loyal supporters who have gone the extra mile to support the Black and Whites.

Jed, the first nominee, was the very worthy winner of the Hull FC Supporter of the Year Award in 2008. Complications during a heart operation resulted in Jed losing one of his legs, but this did not stop him from watching our famous triumph over Wakefield in the Challenge Cup semi-final in Doncaster, against Doctors advice, just weeks later. Thoroughly deserved I would say!! It’s a great idea by the Club but ‘Members on Monday’ does sound a bit like a weekly feature on the Playgirl Channel, while the title of Member of the Week sounds to me like a male popularity contest at a nudist colony!!

Talking of Heroes well done to Kirk Yeaman for attaining his 350th appearance for the Club this week (a week later than I said last week….but what do I know???) it’s certainly a great milestone to reach, but when I read about it I couldn’t help wondering why the Club don’t study the facts before they print stuff on their web site. This week in the tribute to Kirk they stated at first, that he is ‘a few games behind Johnny Whiteley’s Record’, strange that I thought???

SPORT ; David Kirkwood, (right) chairman of Hull Sharks, looks on a three new players sign for the club, (left to right) Steve Musgrave, Kirk Yeaman, Ian Bell.

A great photo as Yeamo signs for Hull FC with Steve Musgrave and Ian Bell, but the Mail photograph is included here too because it features another hero of mine the late great David Kirkwood.

In fact after checking with Bill Dalton, the Clubs excellent historian, Kirks actually 68 games behind John and that just moved my thoughts onto the issue of why exactly do the Club regard Johnny as the bench mark for such things and disregard some others? I discovered that the great ‘Gentleman’ John is in fact 6th in line in a list headed by Ned Rogers who played 500 times! John is a really iconic bloke and a hero of our time, but why not quote the real leader in the ‘games played’ stakes. As for ‘Statto’ Bill well he’s certainly a really obliging bloke and one who will help anyone out, if they have a query and he’s always come up trumps with the answer when I’ve asked anything. When I enquired about Kirks record, he immediately provided me with the following information which I though Diary readers might find interesting:
HIGHEST APPEARANCES

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So Kirk is a very admirable 17th in a list of luminaries of which I’m pleased to say, I’m honoured to have seen 11 of those included actually play. Kirk’s record (along with that of Horney) is all the more amazing, when you consider in the ‘good’ old days we regularly played upwards of 40 games a season (just as two random examples, in 1907/08 we played 43 and in 1926/27 we played 45). Thanks for your assistance Bill, your help is much appreciated and keep up the good work!! As for Kirk well I can only concur with what Lee Radford said this week in that “When he eventually stops playing he will be looked back on by future generations, as a legend”

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Sadly…………. he never did grow up!

Now, remember this Picture from last week?

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Well Tony Roberts contacted me to explain a bit more about this lad who was presented with Jamie Shaul’s boots after the game at Saints by the player himself! Tony said, “Just a quickie to put a “Name to the boots” holder. It’s a young gentleman called Finley Cheesman who is 10 years old and plays, and I may add very well, for Wyke under 11’s. He has been going to all the home and most of the away Hull FC fixtures since he was two and a half. He travels on our coach to the away games with his mum and dad. Finley is in fact our eldest grandson and we have great hopes that one day he may pull on the FC shirt” Well Tony at least he has the boots and that’s a start!!! Thanks as always mate for letting us know a bit more about Finley whose picture I included last week simply because he looked such a happy and proud young chap!

Despite the fact that the New Theatre is (just when you need a Theatre) so ‘spectacularly’ of commission until at least September in the ‘Year of Culture’, there will apparently be a Pantomime in Hull this year after all. Some would say after the Dobbins v Catalan game we have already seen one, but I’ll move swiftly on because it appears that both Neil Hudgell and Rob Crossland will be introducing us all to their ugly sisters at the KC Lightstream Stadium this Christmas as the club build their own ‘Three Crowns Theatre’ to stage a production of Cinderella. As for the Dobbins well it seems that as far as going to the Ball is concerned they have certainly missed the ‘Coach’, because after they have paid Campese and Co so much, all they’ll have left is ‘Buttons’!! Oh dear I’d better not go on any further, but suffice to say, it won’t be the first time that we have seen fairy tales coming out of that place will it. Great idea and and Pantomime is totally appropriate for that lot….(Oh no it isn’t) OH YES IT IS!!

The other night I was watching a great piece of VT I taped years ago from Grandstand which featured the history and origins of the great Odsal Stadium, a place, it stated, was once branded the Wembley of the North. Watching that the memories came flooding back; bruising encounters, that night when Norton scored ‘on his own’ in the last second to grab an unlikely win, the three tries for Briscoe when we blew the Bulls away on TV, that mauling in the play offs in 2005 after Cardiff when Vainakola ran all over us and some great bits of play that I failed to link to any particular game, including a great Andy Dannett ‘crash over’ try and an individual effort by Patrick Entat that saw him run about 50 yards and beat about 8 players. However, when anyone talks about Odsal, there is always one overriding memory of an away day in the early 1980’s that beat ‘em all.

In 1979/80 were having a good season and destined in the end to meet Rovers in the Cup Final at Wembley in a game that you will never ever see featured here. A couple of months ago I revisited that great semi final victory at Station Road, but before that we were draw away in the quarter finals at our bogey team Bradford Northern. On 9th March we all set off on the half way pub bus for a few pre match pints in The Feathers in Bingley and a game that very few of us thought we had any chance of winning. In the previous 4 years Bradford had dominated encounters between our two clubs, winning seven and drawing one of the previous 8 meetings. In addition to that the odds were really stacked against us when you consider that we had not reached the last 4 in the Challenge Cup since 1961.

Still, as was the case back then, the M62 was packed with coaches, mini buses and cars all emblazoned with the black and white. That was the famous day that we passed a Knutzdens Deep Freeze lorry tipping about thirty guys out at the Top House pub at Odsal Top, and I can still see them blinking as the big back doors opened; it’s a good job the freezer was switched off!

When we got to the ground there were about 10,000 there from Hull, and the kick off was delayed by around 6 minutes as a gate of 22,000 was squeezed in. As the teams took the long walk down those steps beside the West Stand from the changing rooms to the pitch, that has now disappeared, the atmosphere was electric, well a lot more electric than it was the last time we went there in Super League anyway.

It was one of those days when there was no question at all that from the first touch of the ball it was obvious that tactically, physically and mentally Arthur Bunting had everything just right. It came out afterwards that the whole team had sat down for lunch together at a little pub on the moors and that seemed to have done the trick. The injured Keith Hepworth had also given a stirring speech in the changing rooms before hand, and everything was set for a thrilling encounter.

From the kick off the two sides went toe to toe and few openings appeared. After about ten minutes Graham Bray picked up a loose ball and hared down the field to be felled by a high tackle from Parker and then as Hull pressed, Ronnie Wileman was tackled and then trampled on by Grayson and Geoff Clarkeson, Lloyd popped over the penalty kick and we were 2-0 up. Next the mercurial Redfearn who had been the standout half back of the season thus far, split the Hull defence and only a last ditch ball and all tackle by Paul Woods stopped him scoring. It was a great effort that had us all covering our faces because Paul was usually penalized on these occasions, but this time Referee Ronnie Campbell waived play on, our line got back, and we withheld another two drives for the whitewash, before Van Bellen lost the ball as he ploughed through three tacklers.

Amazingly that was to be the closest Bradford came to scoring but there was still plenty of battling thrust and excitement to keep us all on our toes. Keith Mumby pulled off what was probably the best tackle of the game as he thwarted a move started by Tindall and Stone when he managed to stop Sammy Lloyd as he crossed the line driving our second rower back into the field of play. It was that close on a few occasions, but our pack led by Knocker Norton and Charlie Stone excelled against the fancied and much vaunted Northern 6, and Keith Tindall simply ran himself to a standstill. Twice Charlie Birdsall crashed into Clarkson to down him and a big tackle by Charlie and Walters saw Van Bellen leave the field for good, shaking his head and seeing stars.

Norton and Wood took the sting out of the home teams efforts with some great deep kicks in the last ten minutes, Walters then went on a 70 yard mazy run only to be stopped three yards short by Barrends and Mumby. Then as we were driven back to the 25 Clive Pickerill, who had been superb all afternoon banged over a superb drop goal to make the score 3-0 and after we had all cascaded down the terracing into a heap at the bottom, that was how it finished. Everyone reading this that were there will remember the next bit, because when Ronnie Campbell blew the whistle the scenes were incredible. It had been a game that had not just drained the players, for we were all worn out too by an encounter that you could not take your eyes off for a second.

All the excitement, pent up emotion and relief came flooding out of us, and we were over the fences and onto the pitch before the police could do a thing. In fact in the end they stood back and waived us by. With about 6000 on the pitch mobbing our heroes we lifted Knocker aloft and carried him shoulder high from the pitch. They were astonishing scenes that I and anyone else who was there will never forget.

What an occasion and what a game. We’ve a long way to go before we see talent like that in one place at one time in black and white again and ‘Knockers team’ was a team that I will never forget.

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Here’s a good one I was given at the game on Friday. It’s Dane O, Gary, Knocker, Fred and James holding a pal of mine up in the air!!

So to Friday and however the Rhino’s are playing and whatever the circumstances, trips to Leeds at any time are daunting propositions. Although the Rhino’s are struggling at present we all know that any time they can click and be back on song again, possibly at the expense of a team who fancy their chances. They’ll be talking about us and doing just that all week. That’s the scenario we face on Friday when we’ll all travel in numbers to Headingley to face a Leeds team who are desperate to get back into the swing of things. In the past the ‘script’ for Hull FC would have dictated that this was the game when their come-back began, but we are shaping up to being just a bit different this season and now who knows? They are still getting 16,000 gates and as usual the place will be rocking for what will be a real test for our lads. It’s always great out there on the open terraces braving the elements as this picture of the FC fans shows.

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As for me, well I have now adopted a new attitude and won’t be worrying about the next game until Thursday, as last week’s machinations over the Huddersfield game got me down a bit. It’s not so much that I doubt our lads this season, but the haunting memories of previous similar scenarios, still come back to scare the pants off me at times. I hope plenty of you will join me at Leeds as we try to sing the lads home.

Thanks as always for reading the Diary and for putting up with a rather long match report, but it was a game around which there was so much concern worry and emotion. It was a match that we could so easily have lost had we not continued with that steel and tenacity that we have shown since the Wakey game, which incidentally although it was only three weeks past, seems an age ago now. Your support and continued encouragement is always greatly appreciated and I just hope I can continue to report on positive exciting happenings on the field, as for me these last three weeks have just been simply amazing. We can’t win ‘em all and we won’t win ‘em all, but we can hope the run continues!!! Get to Headingley if you can!!

Keep Believing

And COME ON YOU HULLLLLLAAARR!!!!!!!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf

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