The Dentist’s Diary – 495th

Another big game and another BIG, big two points and this morning how good does this look?

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On Saturday there was more drama, more excitement and another massive dollop of relief and exhilaration on the final hooter, as once again everyone who attended in black and white got their money’s worth! I was just elated at the end, as the fans joined the players in another quite amazing celebration. In fact I was still buzzing 24 hours later on Sunday afternoon!

You know, as a FC fanatic who has none the less at times over the years become a bit of a ‘sceptical unbeliever’, I’m really enjoying this season! I’ve always loved the club, but have attended at times more through a sense of duty than anything else. However that’s all changed of late because even though we are probably still only performing at about 70% of our potential, the games are so rewarding and exciting and the players are clearly ‘doing it’ for each other in a way that I haven’t seen for years.

On Saturday once again it was just marvellous, marvellous entertainment and a wonderful experience to just be there. By the end I felt as wrung out as if I had played myself, but you can ask no more of an afternoon watching sport because what we again witnessed on Saturday was 80 minutes of absolute, full on passion from every one of our 17 players and long may that continue.

Our ‘bubble’ will burst, of course it will, but at present on ‘our day’ we can beat anyone and this year ‘our days’ seem to be coming thick and fast.

This is all the more rewarding when you appreciate that as a team we are certainly not there yet and we can still play so much better. We force the ball a bit too much, let teams back into games and defend poorly at times, but who cares? The fact is, we have the will to win and somehow manage to find a victory when a lot of teams would succumb to what appears to be the inevitable. What we lack in games at times is made up for 100 fold with the absolute heart pounding drama of it all.

If such performances prove that we never like to make things easy for ourselves, then in a competition which has evened itself out this season, it also I guess shows once again that despite everyone expecting us to falter weeks ago, after 16 games we are still there, still the form team, still never giving up and still never giving in.

If, as was the case on Saturday, that all the headlines were about a few thousand making their way down to London to watch Hull City regain their position in the Premier League, then for me it was particularly rewarding to see 11,400 making the effort to come to the KC on an afternoon packed with distractions for the sports fan. It was certainly a display to savour in what was another superb experience for the supporters. This team may not still have completely hit their straps, but at present they certainly don’t disappoint either.

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Before the game I met a guy who had travelled from Banbury to attend the match and another who had made the trip from Bristol, while in the second half I was joined by my pal Richard and his boys who had come all the way from London for the day and how great it is to once again report that all these sterling efforts and indeed so many more, were again richly rewarded. We have all waited for this sort of stuff for a long time and we should enjoy it while we can!

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I don’t go at all for ‘Coach’ Cunningham’s’ sad comments decrying the referee after the game and would add that I thought had it not been for some baffling refereeing decisions going their way at critical times in the match, our points tally would have been in the 40’s at least! He was just poor all afternoon. Our best two scores were in fact, the two that were disallowed! According to the beleaguered Saints chief last week a Huddersfield team that blew them away were ‘Lucky’ and this week it was entirely the referee’s fault! Oh dear, why doesn’t he just admit that on the day they were beaten by a team that simply wanted it that bit more. Anyway, for me Cunningham has his own issues to worry about because did anyone else notice the difference in the ‘back patting’ and camaraderie between our lot, (as a posse of FC team mates surrounded the player when he scored or even made a mistake) and that amongst the Saints where you were lucky if one player came over to commiserate or celebrate? Get used to it Mr C. team spirit and a will to win got us home against your team on Saturday… again!!

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The team spirit was again exemplary!

OK we made mistakes, were guilty of some poor defending and took a few bad options at times, but it was the passion we displayed in an enthralling and gripping game that saw us find, from somewhere, in the end, the will to win and to return to the top of the League. How we do it I don’t know, but somehow we again picked up a victory after trailing for the eighth time in our last eleven wins.

It should have been so different! After 20 minutes when all the momentum was with us as we marvelled at an amazing offload from Watts to Ellis and a great line run by Fornua from a magical Sneyd pass. However at 12-0 up we failed to steady the ship, got a bit carried away and forced a few passes and they stormed back to lead by half time. Then I think perhaps we all wondered a bit, didn’t we? But the confidence is even returning to the terraces and it seemed that it was only a matter of time before we would be back in it. That decision to take the two points after the half time hooter had gone, was a master stroke, because when we did get back in the lead, then try as Saints did, it just kept our noses out in front.

In a frenetic and anxious second half Carlos duly obliged as he dummied his way over to get us back in front and then executed a brilliant reverse kick to see Taylor score and the rest fell into place as we hung in, managed everything that was thrown at us and killed the Saints off. In a second half that featured a superb 40/20 by Danny Houghton and accompanied by chants of ‘top of the league your having a laugh’ from the Saints fans, we took the game to the visitors and in the end our forwards simply rolled over theirs, so that soon those chants subsided and the last laugh was certainly on the Lancastrians!!!

Once again in the final stages our game management was really good with Shaul, Tumevave, Sneyd and Houghton running the whole show brilliantly. In fact the way we have, over the last few weeks, relentlessly and continually pulled away from our opponents in that final 15 minutes reflects, I think, the power and supremacy our forwards have displayed from the start of games. We just wear the opposition down and that’s the bit to really saver, because it’s something that really good teams do consistently well. When we do lose it will be because we go into a game a tad fatigued rather than anything else.

All that said, in the dying minutes, the game still had to be won and commeth the moment, (once again), commeth the hero.
Remember this?

“….. Mick Crane was tackled just inside our half in front of the North Stand. Ronnie Wileman stepped forward, scooped up the ball and from 40 yards out, started to lope down ‘the blind-side’. Further and further he progressed with a determined yet laboured run as the Rovers’ cover, led by George Fairburn, flew back gaining by the second, but just as they caught him he dived over in the corner for the most memorable of scores”

That was 23rd January 1982 and yet who there on Saturday didn’t see a similarity between that wonderful try that won us the John Player Trophy against Rovers and that final decisive score by Danny Washbrook that won the game against the Saints. This time around, with the clock ticking down and Saints chasing the game, they’d gone for the short drop out. Spotting the danger Danny Washbrook collected it on the right, before twisting out of the tackle to ‘sprint’ Wileman like for those long, long 30 metres. Further and further he ran towards the line as the cover closed in on him and yet somehow he got there just as the tackler came in and the win was ours!! What a moment it was as the place erupted and another game that we were in danger of losing, was finally somehow put to bed.

Performance wise the two starting props Watts and Taylor were absolutely stunning as they ground the yards out and drew in three and four tacklers every time they carried the ball. Houghton was supreme again at acting half and that 40/20 was a real stand out moment. Ellis was not far behind and if I was picking a man of the match it would be between these four and the amazing Mark Minichiello. What a season he is having as he defies the trend where sometimes a player signs a new contract and then retires into his shell a bit, but Mini has just got better and better and by the look on his face he’s loving it. Danny Washbrook again had a big game and did so much of the hard stuff that goes un-noticed, before scoring that try his first score since his return to the Club.

Thompson was better off the bench this week and although not getting so much game time I was impressed with Bowden’s second spell when just as it looked like a couple of our lot were finally flagging, he came on and really bashed the Saints forwards down the middle. The introduction of Hadley who went straight to a wide out defending position on the right shored up a suspect defence out there and the threat that brought Saints first two tries subsided and indeed in the second half he was unlucky not to score.
In the backs Shaul didn’t get much running space, until a late long effort was disallowed but was brilliant in defence and exemplary under the high ball. Both wingers Naughton and Talanoa had quieter games, but still did a lot of work driving the ball out of defence, while in the centres Yeaman got through a ton of defensive work and Fornua although suspect when sliding across to defend was great again with ball in hand. Sneyd also had a good game, managed the middle with Houghton in those last few minutes and was always a threat throughout. He also kicked all his goals which where decisive, while although still growing into the role of partnering Marc; Carlos made one try with a brilliant kick and scored another himself.

So all in all, a brilliant afternoon and well done to everyone who went along to the game! The comeback was ignited by the crowd who got right behind the lads and it was a privilege to be there, although that said it was bloody tense too!! But with no new injury worries it’s another big well done to our conditioning team and now it’s all about Widnes and a game that provides different and probably just as difficult challenges!

After the game it was certainly disappointing that the Under 23’s game scheduled to follow the first team fixture was cancelled because I was looking forward to a rare double header at the KC. The Club made a statement which started with the very formal headline ‘Club advice St Helens Reserve fixture postponed’ which was strange in itself, but then went on to say that “The clubs had planned to play a reserve fixture at the KC Stadium following the first-team match on the same day, but this has now been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances, both clubs will look into the potential of re-arranging the fixture for a future date”

However despite the Club apologising for any disappointment caused we never found out what ‘unforeseen circumstances’ actually were. Of course conspiracy theories abounded on Saturday, but whether it was because ‘Saints had an under19’s fixture last weekend and couldn’t raise a team’ or because ‘the stewards either refused to work or were not available because they wanted to watch City on TV’ we’ll probably never know!!

It was great to see that the Club has this week announced the re-signing of six of our promising youngsters on new deals. We have secured the services of Jansin Turgut (20), Brad Fash (20), and Masimbaashe Matongo (20) who have all signed two year contracts, Jack Downs (20) a one year extension and Jez Litten (18) and Ross Osborne (18) three year deals. However as expected Reece Dean has turned down an offer that was equal to the pay banding that the other 6 have agreed to, no doubt being tempted by a bigger offer from either, it’s rumoured, Rovers or Australia.

The facts are I’m told that Reece was put on a disproportionate amount of money in his current contract, by Shaun McCrae (as was also Harry Tyson Wilson who has also yet to sign) and that it has now been re-aligned and reflected in what he has now been offered, which is in line with the other lads that have signed. Yeh, it was a cut in pay and he’s a talent but nowhere near a first team place as yet and if the pay banding scheme is to work, then when it is used to rectify the maladministration of previous administrators there will, I’m afraid, be casualties.

The Dobbins were always going to be sniffing around our talent anyway because as you know their avarice for the young talent that Richard Horne brought through our original academy, was always apparent! It was a major concern for me when the new academy system was introduced. However the Club has to stand firm because to do otherwise threatens the wage structure at all levels, as the ability to band our payments has proved a real success as far as team spirit and ‘togetherness’ are concerned. No one in the current squad is looking over their shoulders at what their colleagues are getting.

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Courtesy of the Hull Daily Mail here are 6 young players for whom the next few years are so important!

Fash, Matongo and Turgot are real talents that have showed us all how they can perform when given the opportunity to play for the first team and although chances in such a deep and talented squad are limited at present, their break will come and being around what is happening down at County Road will only be doing them good. However I’m so pleased that at 18 Jez Litten is on board again, because he is a hooker of some talent and already ‘studying’ under the master that is Danny Houghton. A lot of folks at the Club also wax lyrical about the other youngster, Ross Osbourne who shone at prop when recently on loan to York, he’s a massive talent and although very young still not that far away. So the future is bright and I just hope for his sake that Reece Dean doesn’t ‘believe the hype’ and knows what he is doing. But otherwise, brilliant news all round I think!

Well, it’s been a ‘topsy turvy’ sort of season really hasn’t it and the latest twist off the field saw Salford winning their battle to have their 6 point deduction appeal heard by an independent tribunal. If they are successful they’ll be back in the top 8. So Super League and the drama it entails on and off the field just goes on and on, week in, week out. It’s therefore good to get a break and to still be in the Cup with now just 80 minutes at the end of June between us and a semi final appearance.

In my opinion in the early days of Super League Sky did their best to marginalise the cup and its great tradition which was back then exclusive to the BBC and I think that action has really effected gates. The 7000 at the Saints FC game in the last round was, despite some tasty fixtures, the best of the round. That was of course only because over 2000 travelled from Hull. It is therefore great to see our Club appreciating this and coming up with some ticket prices for the Catalan quarter final that are very reasonable indeed. I hope the Cup is returned to its position as the game’s premier competition simply because although it’s all ‘Super League this Super League’ that, nationally to the uninitiated often the Challenge Cup rounds that are televised are the only RL they actually see. Well done to Hull FC for keeping the prices for the Quarter Final down and lets all get there to support the boys on 25th June!

Well they say that imitation is the best form of flattery and so it was no surprise that Rovers decided to fly straight to Catalan and back in the same day was it? We used it to go on and shock the RL world by beating the French side in our second game and no doubt they had the same aspirations. However the flight was where the imitation ceased, as Rovers were well stuffed by a Catalan side that only really bothered to play for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, at the Stade Gilbert Brutus on Saturday, it was getting so exciting that it was all too much for some fans!!

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He looks happy behind as well doesn’t he!!!

When I read last week’s rather rushed Diary back during the week, I realised, as was pointed out to me by several people, that it was a bit ‘waspish’ and cutting at times. It wasn’t intended to be like that, but it was a pretty hurried attempt at analysing a critical game played late on Sunday and some rather controversial goings on off the field as well and anyway, perhaps that’s how the week running up to a local Derby’s leaves me. For me, despite winning the last 4 games against the Dobbins, as a fan of almost 60 years, there are just too many bloody derby’s and the quest to make money with a pre season meeting and the RL’s insistence that we play the only remaining derby at the Magic event, has for me, wrung all the old anticipation and excitement out of the fixture.

I also certainly got some stick regarding my views on the Magic stuff too, but I still feel that both the FC and Rovers were unfairly treated with both the fixture we were made to play and it’s scheduling and for me the RL just look upon us and Rovers as Cash Cows as far as the event is concerned!

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Magic weekend; the biggest turnout was from the fans of Hull FC, but I still think we’re being conned!!

Despite all the hype around our game being the finale, the whole event only attracted a few hundred more supporters than the previous year. However, all that said, after the dust settled on another Derby win last week, it appeared to me that it was a game which threw up some really interesting facts.

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Yeamo enjoys a bit of Magic!

For the second successive year we were watched by a record breaking crowd and the biggest for the final game for years. That victory made it four derby wins in a row, which was in itself a new feat for us in the Super League era. We took the most supporters of all the Clubs again, with over 3,500 Hull FC fans making the trip, which was also a new record following for any set of fans at the 10 Magic Weekend’s so far. Of course then there was the fact that a victory over the Dobbins meant that we moved to the top of the Super League table for the first time ever at the halfway point of the competition, it was Danny Houghton’s 250th game for the Club and then finally what about the 60 minute man too? Yeamo executed that pass to Mini which set up the match winning try at exactly the same moment as he did the same thing to Jamie Shaul in the Caravan Park game for the try that started the come back there! So you have to still admit that it was, record wise, quite an afternoon really!

That record of Danny Houghton’s 250th game being clock up in the fixture came and went for many people, because like I have so often said about such players in the past he is ‘a prophet in his own land’. While big signings and quality imports have come and gone Danny just keeps going tackling everything, varying little the quality of his performances and no doubt gaining his 250 appearances as quickly as anyone we have had on our books. His preparation, dedication and conditioning has always been first class and even when I see him at the gym, while the ‘big’ stars are struggling to do the rally fast stuff on the bikes, Danny just sits there smiling while his legs go round faster than anyone’s. He’s super fit, totally conditioned and loyalty personified and, although a blooming nice bloke, he’s probably now the form hooker in the competition as well. For years he has been the competitions top tackler and he just goes on and on.

I remember when times were tough two seasons ago because he was fast becoming the scapegoat for some poor attacking play around the ruck, a fan down at the barrier in front of me took him to task after a game at the KC,. Mint, obviously hurting himself, shouted back that he was ‘Doing his best’ and I know at the time, despite me being as frustrated as anyone, I thought to myself, “Well there’s little doubt you’re doing that Danny”. The fact is of course that he was not being supported by his forwards and now behind a pack that is strong, tenacious and wily throughout, he is getting the accolades he deserves. They now reflect his verve and tenacity in equal measures and all of a sudden a player that has always played consistently well is getting the accolades he deserves across the game.

With his contract up at the end of 2017 there is little doubt that his next move will be critical. As a Club we will want to tie him up for the rest of his career but will he have a pop at the NRL? Well, his form here will not have gone un-noticed over there will it! I hope that like Kirk and Richard he stays a one Club man but who could blame him if he went for the big one! One thing’s for sure he won’t be leaving for any other British Club! Danny is a top bloke and as we look back in future years on other local boys such as Horney, (as one of the best post war halves we have had) and Yeamo (as a try scoring phenomena), we will probably just say of Danny that he was one thing, ‘A Machine’ because that basically is what he is; well done Danny and good luck for the next 10 years!!!

This week I have read three times in the RL media that in the opinion of the pundits at least, the reason that Super League this year is so unpredictable is because across the competition standards have dropped. But, do you think they have? I’m not sure myself and rather tend to believe that what we are perhaps just seeing is the declining of the ‘old guard’ and some ‘new pretenders’ emerging from their shadow. Comparing this season with others is fraught with difficulties surrounding the fact that in sport as in life ‘You only really remember the sunny days!’ However what do I know and I have to say that even if the standard is dropping as long as we are enjoying the ride what the hell, because it’s hard to see, as the games hard core supporters, what difference it really makes to the choices we have?

There is only one other fulltime professional rugby league competition in the world to compare things with and that is the NRL, but we can hardly get on a bus this weekend and go and watch an NRL game live because the quality of play here in Great Britain is not to our taste, can we? So if we want RL ‘live and dangerous’ what we’ve got, is all we’ve got!

As I have said before in here I’ve started watching the NRL for the first time and really enjoy it, but I still love the cut and thrust of actually being there live in the stadium, engrossed in every element of the drama, don’t you? The Premier sports schedule doesn’t clash with our game times so you can watch both and you don’t have to choose there either. So I guess in effect British professional Rugby League has, through us long suffering fans that can’t stay away, a captive audience. We only have two choices go and watch what’s on offer or stay away and watch what the cameras want us to see on Sky or Premier Sports! However for me, in the sphere in which we as fans operate, there’s nothing with which we can objectively compare the “standard” of live Super League with. So as long as we are enjoying it, a perceived ‘drop in standards’ by some, is matter-less to me really.

As a ‘snapshot’ of the game, when you step back from the emotion, the Magic Weekend showed what is on offer, take Shaul’s try against Rovers or Pat Richards’ missed penalty goal followed by Jacob Miller’s 50-metre one-pointer or even Aaron Murphy try off that ‘football kick’ for Huddersfield? All real drama and all of really high quality! There were several golden moments in a tournament I don’t much go for, but it is just the same, for the uninitiated at least, a real platform for our sport.

So what I’m saying I guess is that when I read the pundits saying that the quality of Super League has dropped, they are probably only getting it from the only people who can justifiably be concerned at any supposed drop in standard; the administrators and supporters of Leeds, Huddersfield and St Helens, who might feel better about themselves if they think the competition has in some way suffered by their teams not being as good as usual this year.

If that works for them, then fair enough, let them all pine away for the not-so-old days when they were the benchmark Clubs, but they are not those clubs anymore. However even if they are right, as long as we the paying public are enjoying the ride (and this season has been great to watch), then that should be all the rest of the sport is concerned with. The Super League TV matches this year have made for some exciting viewing and despite what the protagonists say, for me then long may the unpredictability continue!

Last week I was talking about Marwan Koukash in the context of the falling interest there is by new supporters and converts to the game and the importance of looking after the traditional fans amongst us who now make up the base support for the game. It was therefore interesting to hear Michael Carter the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats Chairman last week when he announced that the Club would be returning to their roots and their original and world famous name. He said, “I have always referred to it as Wakefield Trinity and I think the older generation of our fan base love the fact it’s Wakefield Trinity. Go anywhere in the world and mention the city of Wakefield it’s either ‘where’s that’? Or, ‘oh yes, Wakefield Trinity.” The club has not carried out market research, but Carter said: “It’s a bit of a gut feeling. I get fans saying to me ‘we need to drop the Wildcats’. I think that’s generally the reaction we’ve had when we’ve been talking to people. I just think if you are talking about Wakefield as a rugby league club it will be forever known as Wakefield Trinity and we need to get back to that.”

When all the Sky driven razzamatazz was introduced to the then new Super League competition in 1995 most teams chose new tags to add to the end of their names and the Bears, Blue Sox, City Reds, Giants, Warriors and heaven forbid the Sharks, became everyday parlance. Some of the more cautious and perhaps famously named teams like Saints and of course Hull Kingston Rovers resisted the temptation to get all ‘Americanised’ and once Shane Richardson arrived at the Boulevard the Hull Sharks soon became just plain Hull FC again. Now it appears that Wakey have realised the benefits of such a ‘famous’ title too.

Firstly they re-introduced the Trinity to the Wakefield Wildcats title and now they are to return to Wakefield Trinity! Michael Carter concluded, “So for me, it is Wakefield Trinity. I have always referred to it as Wakefield Trinity and now we always will” That will please a lot of Wakey fans who all still refer to their beloved club as ‘Trin’ anyway.

So to Codgers Corner and this week in direct response to Harry Richardson, who is 85 next week and still goes to home games, here’s a look back at one of his all time favourite forwards. Regular readers of this drivel will know that I was born in Aylesford Street (the little street at the bottom of Airlie Street), and lived there, in the shadow of Hull FC until I was 16 years old. The whole of my upbringing was steeped in FC; Mum was a pass holder and Dad (who was a butcher and worked on Saturdays, so missing most games), was secretary of the supporters club for a short time. In fact my bedroom window overlooked the car park of the Boulevard, and everyone down our alley took in bikes on match days!! When I was too young to attend myself, Mum used to return from the game to regale me with stories of the match, and the hero’s of the day across the road at the Boulevard. She used to regularly mention the Drakes, ‘Bomber’ Harris and Johnny Whiteley. Another of her hero’s and one of Harry Richardson’s too was the late Bob Coverdale, who sadly passed away a few years ago. I actually saw him play on several occasions in the early 60’s but by then it was in the colours of the Dobbins, and I found it hard, as a kid, to see what all the fuss was about.

When my mother spoke of Bob it was in the context of him being a solid dependable hard working Prop Forward, who was ideally suited to the unlimited tackle game back in the early 50’s. He was a torrid, hard player and someone who would, if asked, cart the ball up field for you all day. Back then a lot of the players had nicknames and Bob was no different, his being ‘The Mayor of Dunswell’ because he was proud to hail from that village and in fact lived there right until his death.

Bob started his career at two of the now long gone, local amateur clubs, Electricity and Boulevard Athletic, and was signed for Hull in August 1951, before making his debut at the Boulevard against Wakey on 22nd September. He was at times an unsung hero; something that is not surprising when you consider the nature of the game back then and the stars that surrounded him in the great ‘Panzer’ pack. Roy Francis recognised Bob for the way that his grafting style complimented that of the flashier Bill Drake, Tommy Harris, Harry Markham, Johnny Whiteley and Mick Scott, but Bob was still a big favourite with the fans.

He played in all three Yorkshire Cup finals that we featured in during the early years of the decade and in one, the drawn final of 1955, there was an incident that was remembered by my Mum, Harry and everyone else that was there to witness it! The game was against what was then our big adversary Halifax, who themselves had a mighty pack and against whom tempers often used to flair and fights soon followed. Halifax were the masters of frustrating back then as they put the ball ‘Up their jumpers’ and ploughing forward for sometimes ten minutes before they made a mistake. In this particular game they did just that, frustrating the FC pack until after a 7 minute spell of Fax possession a scrum was called for a knock on. Before the ball had even been put into the front row Coverdale emerged with blood streaming from a large gash on his head. He wiped it with his hand and then, as there was no such thing as a blood bin, just packed down again. There was a mighty push from the FC front row and before the ball could be put in Halifax’s prop Jack Wilkinson emerged with his face covered in blood as retribution was served for the previous incident. The referee just laughed and ordered the scrum down again, but the following Tuesday both players were called to a special RL enquiry and although nothing came of it, the incident was talked about by many of the ‘Faithful’ for years afterwards.

Actually though, this occurrence was quite out of character for Bob who was a happy go lucky sort of fellow, with close cropped hair a craggy face, gapped teeth and who always sported a scrum cap! In fact that day at Headingley many though that the ‘tough but fair’ Coverdale had been blamed for the action of one of his colleagues in that scrum, but that’s something that we will probably now never know!

Bobs dogged displays and solid consistency earned him three appearances for Yorkshire, on one of which he scored a try. That score was one of only 13 in a career of over 210 games. However on the representative side of things, his main claim to fame was when he featured in the GB team that won the inaugural World Cup in 1954. There was a deal of dissension about the whole idea of a World Cup and several of the top line players pulled out, which lead to Bob’s inclusion. His style epitomised the spirit of a squad that upset the odds after being written off by many pundits. He played in all 4 tests including the famous defeat of France at the Parc Des Princes Stadium in Paris. However that World Cup was sadly his only taste of International RL.

In the 1955/56 season Bob missed only 5 of Hulls 45 games. It was the season when the black and whites went on to win the Championship and he appeared in the play-off final against Halifax at Maine Road, when Hutton kicked the winning goal from way out on the wing in a tremendous 10-9 victory! Sadly though the emergence of Jim Drake as a more mobile and flamboyant prop saw Bob replaced early in the next campaign, and he left for Wakefield Trinity, for a fee of £1,625. He later had several seasons at Rovers, for whom as I say I saw him play a couple of games against us before he retired in 1963.

People like Bob Coverdale put their bodies on the line week in week out for our club and they did it for little pay and no help with injuries and the like. If they got a knock they just got on with it and played on!! They were really tough characters. Bob was a solid dependable clubman who gave his all for the FC. He was never going to be a big name star player, but was without doubt the stuff that our great club is built on! Thanks Harry for a chance to talk about Bob again!

Sadly I just heard as the Diary ‘went to press’ that the great full back Mike Kendle has passed on, which is a tragedy and how sad it is once again to hear of another real hero who engenders such great memories departing to join the ranks of the FC Army in the sky; condolences to his family!

So as a great, great win last Saturday is resigned to history we move on to the next challenge. This is a real banana skin and if I was Lee I’d be showing them the VT of the away game and saying, ‘This is payback time’ It’s a game we have to win because it all gets that bit more difficult thereafter, as in the following two weeks its Warrington and Cas away and we need to have the points in the bag to secure a top 4 finish and 4 home games in the run in. For now though, what a game that was on Saturday eh?

This has been without doubt my most enjoyable season for ages and although we are bound to hit the buffers sooner or later, I already have some great memories of some really unexpected results and some superb rugby and long may it continue. Thanks for everyone who got in touch, gave me information and came over for a chat last Saturday at half time. Let’s all get down the KC on Friday and ‘do’ Widnes, because for me we owe them one!!!
Great times!!!!
KEEP BELIEVING!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf
And finally………well it made me laugh!

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