The Dentist’s Diary – 496th

Two more points, still top of the league and despite a pretty abysmal first half when we just couldn’t get going, it was in the end, once again, job done. What’s more after what went on before in that now almost infamous early season game at Widnes, it was also just what we needed; a bit of retribution!

So, it wasn’t pretty and was certainly a bit flat at times, but once more from somewhere we built up a head of steam and found a couple of back to back tries to simply kill the opposition off. It didn’t have the finale of the Catalan game, or the style of the Wigan win, nor did it have the drama of last week. However once again, after a half time score of 6-4 had us perhaps twitching a little, it was in the end job done, as another smash and grab twenty minutes saw the game over by three-quarter time! We simply ran over them down the middle in that third quarter of the game and several of the Widnes players were ‘out of it’ by the end!!

One thing’s become very apparent of late too; being top brings new challenges, because everyone wants to beat us now…….!!

But let’s stop all this ‘will we get to a final’ or ‘will we win something’ stuff eh? Because the answer to that is ‘We probably won’t’, because at Hull FC history dictates that sooner or later it’s all likely to go ‘Mammary’s Skyward’. Whether that happens now, later on or not at all, the fact remains that as the indefatigable ‘Mrs. B.’ said on a message board this week, “Nothing can detract from the brightest three months we have seen as FC fans, in a decade” and I couldn’t agree with her more about that one; like her I’m just loving it!!!

If you walked out of the game worrying a bit about that performance then my question would be this; how many times over the years have you switched on Sky and see Leeds, Wigan or Saints play like that? I’ll bet the answer is lots, because on many occasions they have just done enough to overcome an inferior team who hung in a game for dear life, before blowing them away in a fifteen minute spell to take the two points and move on! That’s what good teams do when they are not firing, or a bit off the mark and that’s what we did on Friday!

Of course as Mrs R. reminded me a time or two last week, I did worry about this being a ‘banana skin’ of a game. Widnes despite their poor recent form are still a handy sort of club that can play open and attractive rugby and they are one that blew us away in our previous meeting this season. However, that wasn’t the reason I was concerned, as it was more for me about it being the sort of game that for years would have seen us flattering to deceive, huff and puff and perhaps even blown it. In the past after a big game or two and a couple of good performances we simply wouldn’t have been able to get up for it!

In addition if, for long periods, it was to be a close game, then we would still somehow in the recesses of our minds be worrying that we’d be incapable of finishing such a team off at the business end of the match. On the terraces we still think like that because those traits are what for years Hull FC has been about. So we find it, nagging away in the back of our minds because there is the chance that we might one week slip back to all that, simply because for so long it has been par for the course and all we know. However why I worry I don’t know, for this year we have, all of a sudden, developed a ruthless streak, even when we are not firing on all cylinders. When a team comes to spoil the game, slow it down at the play the ball and try and scrape a win, what we witnessed on Friday is what you have to do; grind it out, wear them down grab a try and then go relentlessly ‘For the Jugular’.

SPORT with Paul story HullFC's CarlosTuimavave scores his try during their match against Widnes at the KCOM Stadium. Picture: Simon Renilson Prints can be ordered from www.thisisphotosales.co.uk/hullandeastriding or telephone 08444 060 910

Carlos gets the party started!

We were heading for a bad showing sooner or later and that lacklustre first half provided it, so let’s hope it was as much a scare for the players as it was for the fans and that it got it out of all our systems. A Widnes team intent on pinching a win any way they could set out to frustrate us, while all the time waiting for Brown to pounce to somehow snare those two precious points that would help them so much in their quest to avoid slipping into the group of death!

But, if it was a patchy performance it was a night for records too, as Kirk Yeaman became only the second FC player to score over 700 points for the club, without kicking a single goal. Danny Washbrook also made his 150th appearance for Hull FC (and celebrated by almost dropping his first pass) while Jamie Shaul crossed for his 50th try for the club. And what a try that was!

However pride of place this week has to go to Yeamo who showed with a performance that turned back the years, why Hull will sign him for another 12 months and announce his new contract in the next few days. He simply had Bridge in his pocket all night! The other players recognise what he has done to turn his season around as well and although it was a night when he passed his own try scoring milestone, Jamie Shaul was quick to pay tribute to the veteran centre. In an interview after the game Jamie said, “He’s playing really well at the minute, I think he deserves a new deal but that is out of our hands. He was a bit down in the dumps at the beginning of the year (when not playing) but it shows the true professional in him and he is reaping the rewards now.”

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I’ve told you before, that on re-gaining his place in the centre some 13 games ago, Kirk told me “I haven’t had a beer for weeks” and that dedication and the extra work he put in out on the training field, when he wasn’t getting picked has certainly paid off. Although still playing with a shoulder injury you can’t shift him from that centre spot at present because he is showing with his tenacity, tackling and go forward, that he still has tons to offer.

Knocking on with perhaps his first touch of the game was all the incentive he needed and while his team mates warmed slowly to the task in hand, Yeamo exploded, shooting out of the line to hammer his opposite number, bundling players into touch, grinding out the hard yards (90 meters) and scoring a great and these days perhaps typically bulldozing try to turn the game. He’s deadly from 5 yards!!! He loves the Club and after a period during which he slipped from their thoughts, Yeamo was by the end the hero of the night and once again the darling of the fans.

But, let’s now talk about that Jamie Shaul’s try commentated on so well by the guy on Radio Humberside as we drove home after the game. Widnes kicked off after we had scored and a high raking kick was left by two Hull players as the ball bounced around under the sticks and ended up in the hands of Scott Taylor. Our prop first ran sideways across the line straightened up into a gap, ran over and through three ‘would be tacklers’ by sheer strength and charged off down field towards the half way line, when there on his shoulder was Jamie Shaul. Once Jamie got the ball 60 yards out that was it; ‘try time’, because no one was going to catch him. It was just what we are about these days, dealing out the killer blow as the opposition reel on the ropes. Four tries between the 50th and 60th minutes finished the Vikings off and with 20 minutes to go it was all over. That try and two quite brilliant ‘kick chases’ that left the Vikings defenders trapped over their own line were certainly the highlights.

Yeaman, Minniciello. Michaels and Taylor were for me pretty outstanding and they all had big parts to play in the win. Yeamo was very good, ‘Mini’ showed some amazing energy and go forward at times, particularly when the rest were not doing it, Michaels grabbed his chance and ran into brick walls to carry the ball up the middle, as he proceeded to have his best game of the season, while Taylor was great in the first half and simply unplayable in his second spell as he rumbled forward to batter the Widnes defence. All could for me be man of the match but in the end Kirk got that accolade from the sponsors and ‘Mini’ got it in the Mail!! Well done though, to them all.

I have to say that I do worry a bit about Fornua who is always praised by Lee Radford for his ability to carry the ball in one hand ‘Like a tennis ball’ but although his defence has certainly improved he did lose possession a time or two this week, while Talanoa although working really hard down the middle didn’t get much chance out on the wing. Shaul was however always looking to get away, something that at times saw him going sideways too much at times, but he was really safe under the high ball and took his try magnificently.

The half back situation is interesting, with Sneyd continuing to play well but throwing, this week, a couple of poor passes in poor option plays as well. However he is a real star when he gets those telling balls in, such as the one that got Bowden over the line and his goal kicking with 11 from 11 with no misses in his last two games, is exemplary at present. Tumavave struggled at times I though and looks to still be settling into the role. He certainly changed things for us in the Derby at Newcastle and perhaps we should look, in games like this Fridays, to go with Pryce from the off with Carlos on the bench. However he took his try brilliantly and certainly has the makings of a great half back so perhaps we have to persist with things as they are, because to put him on the bench might affect our rotation in the forwards. I think I’ll leave that one to the Coach.

In the pack, it was always a case of how would we cope with the loss of Liam Watts who has been brilliant in the front row of late. The answer was to give Bowden more game time, (an opportunity he grabbed with both hands) and to include Green on the bench. For me, Green is a bit of an enigma, that sees a player that has all the physical attributes to be a top prop forward, somehow not getting the penetration and punch in the tackle he should be doing. Perhaps that’s just me though! Manu too seems to not do as much as I might like, but he’s is quite anonymous with the stuff he does at times and perhaps just gets on with it out of the lime light.

However Houghton had another great showing which saw his long kicking game improving again and as always Ellis, although having, I thought, a quieter match than usual, still made a big difference while he was on the field. Hadley fitted in well and tackled hard, Washbrook did loads and loads of work again and Thompson was a lot more effective when given more space to run in, he did well while he was on.

So from the team a professional if not stunning display and one that proved at times to be a bit frustrating for the fans who have I guess become used to tight exciting games, full of thrills and spills. It isn’t always going to be like that though is it? In the Drum and Monkey afterwards we all said that perhaps we have to get used to the fact that although exciting rugby and close games are great, in the end it’s not so much the spectacle of it all that matters, but rather the need to secure two points. It will be very different at Warrington on Friday and we’ll have to be a lot better there too.

Lee Radford has to take a lot of credit as well and how different the calm and even if you like reserved guy in that post match interview was, when compared with what we were hearing from him last season. In the post match press conference he was asked if his side now have a thirst for wins, to which he said: “Yeah, they’ve got an unbelievable amount of confidence in each other, to come back and clinch wins like they have. That’s what was disappointing after the Widnes defeat last time around. People asked questions about our togetherness and that frustrated me. You can question my tactics and my team talks, but nobody can question our togetherness or how tight we are – that frustrates me. We learned some lessons from that. I learned to shut up in press conferences after a game! I also learned from how I was at half-time at Widnes because I simply didn’t get a response from them. When you put a new side together like we have, you have to learn the hard way and you can see now that we have naturally progressed.”

Hull FC's Head Coach Lee Radford First Utility Super League XX Warrington Wolves v Hull FC 06/09/15 (Pic by John Rushworth)

Deserves some credit!

Lee has certainly come a long way from the beleaguered figure that at times over the last two seasons has been harangued in here and on the terraces as poor displays and lack lustre performances dogged our development as a team. For a long time, If not exactly looking as if we were going backwards, then we certainly didn’t appear to be making much progress at all.

But I got it wrong as did many others and we should all take a moment to give great credit to Lee, for admitting that he has been learning too, and to Adam Pearson for sticking with him when at times as far as appeasing the fans is concerned it would have been easier to get rid. He persisted and so did Lee and our coach is now a much more rounded character who actually points to the fact that perhaps the Widnes away game, (after which I like many others wrung my hands and requested change), was actually the seminal and even if you like cathartic point for this team, this season and perhaps even the whole Club. On that one only time will tell.

SPORT with Paul story HullFC's Jamie Shaul celebrates his try with team-mates during their match against Widnes at the KCOM Stadium. Picture: Simon Renilson Prints can be ordered from www.thisisphotosales.co.uk/hullandeastriding or telephone 08444 060 910

Last year at this time news was leaking out about us making some big steps into the transfer market at both sides of the world, as we were destined to make 6 signings that were to re-shape the Club. Motu Tony had done a great job in selling the Club Down Under, and we were all really excited about the future….again. Let’s face it being excited about our signing has been a perennial source of hope over the years in the otherwise quite depressing and frustrating life of the average Hull FC fan. It was always that bit of shining optimism that in the end rarely bore any fruit, but the proof of the success of our dealings last year in the transfer market is now there for all to see. However Motu was insisting last week in the Mail that the strategy for next year is to be much different.

He said in an article last Wednesday, “For the 2014 season we brought in nine players, then five for the year after and six for this season. The plan is now stability and focusing on retaining members of our squad. We have managed to re-sign some key players and I don’t think we will be that active in the transfer market this year and that’s the way we prefer it. We still think its early days on the recruitment front. There are 14 games left including the Super 8s. Leon Pryce is off contract and we are not too sure what is going to happen with him. We have Carlos Tuimavave and Jordan Abdull who can play his position too. Closer to the Super 8s we will know what needs strengthening and that’s a conversation owner Adam Pearson, myself and Lee Radford will be having.”

“Its early days on the recruitment front” said Motu; oh yeh???

Well then, ‘as if by magic’, surprise, surprise 10 hours later we announce a signing! “You really can’t believe what they tell you at all?” said a pal of mine and you could see his point! Still we all thought that we were perhaps a half back and a centre away from a really good team and that seems to be the Club view as well. However, it appears that we have moved to ensure that half that conundrum has now been solved but I challenge anyone who wasn’t ‘in the know’, to have seen that one coming!

Don’t get me wrong; Josh Griffin is a great signing and a real quality centre that also possess a deal of strength and a fair turn of pace for a big bloke too. In a recent article in the RL press Martyn Sadler named him in his ‘Best uncapped British player’s team’, which shows the 26 year olds potential. I have noticed and admired him on several occasions when we have played them, because he’s a handy runner with the ball, a big lad in the collision and a great finisher. His stats prove that!! In fact, he also seems to have a knack of scoring against us!

He has scored at a rate of around a try every two games throughout his career and on signing he said, “I had a few clubs who offered me deals and there was also interest in Australia, so it was a decision I didn’t take lightly, but as soon as Hull came in for me I had my mind set. They are a huge club with a big fan base and with the team Lee has built they are heading in the right direction”.

So not only does he see us as a big Club but the pulling power of us lot the FC fans had something to do with him turning down several other Clubs here in Great Britain and one in the NRL; and who wouldn’t want to swop the KC for playing at the A.J. Bell Stadium atmosphere wise at least? It shows great ambition by ourselves, that when a player becomes available who is exactly what we want, we go and get him. Josh comes with a strong record and some great stats as well as, apparently, a recommendation from Scott Taylor with regard to his application and attitude. The latter is very important in our squad these days. It was a surprise when Josh Griffin happened but a very welcome one, for me at least. I think he’ll be a great success myself!

The 26-year-old has put pen to paper on a three-year deal starting from next season and is best, without a doubt, at left centre, the position Kirk Yeaman currently occupies, however Lee Radford last week insisted he wants Yeamo to remain at the club alongside new recruit Griffin for 2017. Lee said, “Kirk has this season shown his capabilities. His form has been great and when you look at the numbers he’s racked up for us he has been one of our top-end performers we will speak to him next week and thrash something out in the next couple of weeks hopefully.” Are you surprised? I’m not really, because I know Kirk feels he is coming to the end of a glittering career but that he can do a job for another year.

Rest assured and as I said earlier, Kirk has no appetite for being anything but a ‘one club man’ and even though he may become more and more of a bit part player, there is no room for sentiment in sport and the Club will make a decision that is best for the team going forward, whilst taking into consideration what Kirk can still ‘bring to the party’. The salary cap limits what you can do and you can’t carry passengers through sentiment, so in offering a deal there must be a strong case within the team to retain Kirks services. I also believe that he is the only one that qualifies for the 10 year service £50k allowance under the salary cap regulations, so any outlay would have a minimum impact on the cap. I think we have to trust the Coach and his judgment, although the way the Club are talking I would expect that any new deal will include some sort of evolution into a backroom role in future years.

I still think that Pryce will be off but I don’t agree with Motu Tony that Jordan Abdull is (at present at least) the answer in the half backs. We need to sign someone to work with Tumavave and Sneyd and I’m pretty sure eventually we will do just that. As for what Motu said about little movement and stabilising things a bit, well that’s a reoccurring theme that’s been repeated a time or two by Lee as well and last week he even said that we may not now need another half.

Stepping back from it all, that is for me really just about managing the fans aspirations and hopes which have, let’s face it, been something of a source of pressure on the club in the past. I’m sure that they have a half back very much in mind, if and when Pryce departs, but feel that to shout that from the rooftops might not only queer our pitch and let other clubs into the bidding, but it might also serve to destabilise Carlos at a time when they really do want to see what he can do. How we manage the salary cap to bring a new half into the Club is however becoming the intriguing issue for me!

Now to our merchandising and a bit of a grumble because I think they at present missing a bit of a trick! They do a great job and I have long admired the staff in our retail department, but do you remember the Tongan Mafia tee’s that sold so well? Hull FC don’t appear to have done anything like that for ages and I guess for me we ain’t capitalising on being top of the league at all! Here are a few examples that a reader who was thinking the same put to me this week:

Scotty Taylor – He’s one of our own
Stevie Michaels – Having a party
A T-shirt featuring all the islanders – a spin on the Tongan Mafia ones!
SNNNEEEYYYYDDDDDD going round and round a T shirt etc. etc. etc!

I know everyone’s an expert and they obviously do know their business best, but they wouldn’t have to order in big quantities, profit on them has always been good and as my pal said to me on Saturday, I certainly think they are missing an opportunity and a chance to increase our income. But what do I know?

Now you know, looking back there were times in that game against Saints when I wondered if it was to be a match too far for our tired troops. The same thoughts crossed my mind in the first half against Widnes too and perhaps facing three top 4 Clubs and a Derby during May, (all of which we won) must without a doubt have made us a tired, ‘Club of the Month’. However the fiasco of the Magic Weekend that saw us having to play a Derby (when everyone else has got out of the tension, pressure and expectation that those games bring) sapped our energy and focus and did I think make for a few lapses in both matches. That saw Widnes stay in the game far too long last Friday, whilst a week earlier at times we allowed Saints a definite ‘sniff’ of a win.

The pressure of that extra derby game certainly showed in a lack lustre display by Rovers in France and a couple of their players even had to be rested because they couldn’t hack backing up. The players at Hull FC had a very quiet week leading up to the Saints game and were nursed through some light training sessions; a scenario that was little different last week. The problem for the coach is of course, do you use the strength in depth that you have in the squad to freshen things up or do you stick with what is a winning formula on the pitch. Players always want to play, even if they’re not 100% fit and a coach has to decide what is best for the team, rather than for the ego of the individual player.

That’s why for me, Sky moving the Warrington game from the Sunday to a Friday is a blow, because it denies us a 9 day turn round and the luxury of that is now put back a week, to the hiatus between the Wire and Cas games. However, that still does at least offer the chance to regroup a bit in the middle of a difficult run of games. I guess had we sustained more injuries we could have utilised our depth more and injured players would, through their recuperation, have got a rest to overcome the bumps and bruises a bit. Most players have therefore declared themselves fit and carried little knocks and bumps into the next game.

However the fact that injuries have been few and far between is a real credit to our newly installed conditioning team that has ensured that everyone is in top shape, something that has for me been a major reason for our success thus far. The players all talk highly of both the staff and the process, but a lot is down to the player’s and their application to the cause as well because they are all really looking after themselves off the field too. In that area of the game it’s fair to say that we had problems last season and so there is little doubt that the players that were allowed to leave are not missed and those that have been signed to replace them have made a real difference to the culture within the Club. Just as, to perpetuate that culture, the construction of a strong leadership group has been really significant as well.

When you stand back from our position as being involved in it all as fans, then it has been a phenomenal turn round to where we were last season at this time. One thing’s for sure other Clubs will be watching what has happened at the KC and will no doubt be modelling their future progress on our ‘regime’ change, which it has to be said, brings great credit to our Coach and Owner. Adam Pearson might not have known anything about Rugby League when he bought the Club but his certainly learned some big lessons which have affected not just his credibility but also his wallet. However signing the current back room team has been as much of a master stroke as the capture of Frank, Carlos et al, and for me at least Mr P’s gone on to prove a few doubters very wrong indeed.

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Albert Kelly or Fatima Whitbread… I’m confused?

It sees I have featured that man Koukash every week of late and he was again in the news last Wednesday, when it emerged, all be it unofficially, that he has been banned from the St Helens boardroom after apparently upsetting their owner on a previous visit. I can’t see much support being forthcoming for Mr Koukash’s ‘revolution’ from that direction, but then again as one of the ‘Yes men’ in the owners group, Eamonn McManus was never expected to join anyway. These days however the world seems to need an extravert in every field of its existence. The Yanks have Mr Trump, Brexit has Boris and we have Marwan and what a character he is!!! He’s fast becoming a cross between a banner carrying revolutionary and a full blown cartoon character, who seems to court controversy everywhere he goes. For many however I think it all getting a bit too much now and he’s fast losing any credibility he had with the fans outside the Salford Club and West Manchester.

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Here’s a great hotel discovered by an FC fan on a cruise around Australia which she made all the more iconic by the addition of an FC shirt!!

An old mate of mine Alan Jennings stopped me the other in Debenhams and we talked for about half an hour about the FC and growing up together in Airlie Street back in the 60’s. He’d read the books and they had got him thinking back to the old times and after he had put me right on ‘a thing or two’ he asked me to include something about life down there living next door to the Boulevard in Codgers Corner one week so Alan here goes.

…..back at Easter 1965 we all awaited with great anticipation the Good Friday Diary which was back then a massive occasion in the City of Hulls Diary. Life in Aylesford Street mirrored the changes taking place across the country. I was just fourteen of course but even back then fashion played a big part in a teenager’s life and it was about that time that Mum had bought me a brand new ‘Fish tailed Parka’ coat. I was into all sorts of music from the Beatles to the Who, and like most kids I loved Bob Dylan although for most of the time I had little idea what the hell he was on about. The fact remained though being a mod at Easter ’65 was the only thing a young lad could be.

Everyone but everyone over the age of sixteen seemed to have a scooter which were invariably festooned in mirrors and adorned with chrome side panels and monogrammed paintwork. Every Sunday they would go to Bridlington to posture with the ‘Rockers’ on the beach and frighten the old ladies on the Prom, whilst during the week there would be regular ‘rumbles’ in the Kontiki and Gondola coffee clubs in the City centre. We lads were too young to get a scooter, but we did our level best to look the part.

However that Easter when all the headlines on the TV and in the papers were being made by the ‘Mods and Rockers’ battling on the beach at Brixham, Clacton and Brighton, this FC fan had other things to do with a busy Easter programme for the Black and Whites, and two home games on consecutive days. In fact in 1965 we played three games in four days backing up a Good Friday fixture against the old enemy at the Boulevard with another home game against Wakefield and an away game at Bradford two days later on Easter Monday.

We had already lost 14 games that year and were well behind Hull Kingston Rovers in the League table and so as I made my way across the road in my new Parka (which I did everything but sleep in) for a noon kick off on Good Friday, I was fearing the worst as we had now got the unenviable record of having been beaten in the last ten League meetings against Hull Kingston Rovers.

The Rovers fans had, as usual, been gloating over this record and that they had finished higher than us in the last two seasons. The fact that we had finished above then for the previous 28 seemed to have been missed completely but as we all know, sports fans and particularly local rivals, have pretty selective memories when it comes to historical facts. However although I was still only 14 years old that awful feeling was already starting to grip me! I was already churned up physiologically by the magnitude of these Derby’s games and felt it in the pit of my stomach in that horribly sickly way that only the ardent fan who has suffered heartbreaking defeat at the hands of the ‘infidels’ understands.

The Match turned out to be a really tough and bruising forward game but Derby’s always were back then, however on this occasion the massive Rovers pack full of ‘big names’ came up against a Hull team that was really ‘pumped up’ by the occasion. We battered the ball carriers in the first few exchanges and despite a Kellett penalty putting them 2-0 up we opened our scoring after just eight minutes. A great pass from Cyril Sykes found Keegan who ran up from full back and split the defence wide open as only he could do and as Moore and Blackmore closed in, he turned back inside and found David Doyle-Davidson, who was making a rare start in the centre and he ran in untroubled for the easiest of tries. That gave us a 3-2 lead but then Hull defence squeezed the opposition into the middle of the field and would not let tricky scrum half Dave Elliot get the ball out wide to the fast and impressive looking Rovers back division.

This action meant that a lot of niggle and tension crept into the game as the 16,500 crowd created a cauldron of atmosphere as both camps exchanged ‘compliments’ and taunted each other. Several ‘face outs’ on the pitch had threatened to boil over as old scores came to the fore and Kellett who was really on form with the boot landed three penalties, which stemmed from these skirmishes, to put the opposition in the lead again. Then at last Elliot moved the ball wide. A great pass to Burwell was shifted onto Blackmore un-marked on the wing, Brian Sullivan and Stocks tracked back across to try and nail the Rover’s winger but in the end it was scrum half Kenny Foulkes that hammered him to the ground just ten yards from the try line. Up sprung the Rovers player to exchange blows with Foulkes who was still struggling to regain his feet and immediately referee Ernie Clay sent Blackmore from the field. Although they were down to 12 men, some real battling defence from the Rovers pack saw them still in the lead at half time.

Kellett landed another goal just after the re-start but after that it was all Hull. A high tackle by Poole saw Eric Broom fire home a great 40 yard penalty and then after Flanagan had been caught off side, he got another from a lot closer in. Then we saw the try of the weekend. Terry Devonshire picked up a loose ball in his own 25 yard area and started off down the field. With such short legs he seemed to be moving a lot faster than he actually was but despite the best attempts of Mullins, Moore and Burwell he got to the line and touched down just to the right of the posts. Broom landed the conversion and with 20 minutes to go we led by the slender margin of 12-10. They were nervous times indeed for a young fan and the last quarter was certainly not all plain sailing as Rovers threw everything at us to try and get a result. They had us rocking at times as Poole, Holliday, Fox and Foster tore into the heart of our defence. On one particular occasion, Rovers who monopolised possession from the scrums broke away and Flanagan stepped round Keegan and on toward the line before he was caught inches short by David Doyle-Davidson. In the end our half backs Foulkes and Devonshire had been just too good for Rovers and thanks to our brilliant defence in that second half we came out winners 12-10. The good sports amongst the FC fans shook hands with the Rovers’ supporters and wished them well, whilst us ‘Airlie Street Mods’ just posed in our parkas pulled faces at them and laughed!

We beat Wakefield 16-13 next day with just two changes to the side but lost on Easter Monday 15-9 to Bradford at Odsal Stadium.

For me the ‘Pretty Pathetic’ award this week goes to the soulless entities supporting the Dobbins at Wakefield who could only sing the ‘You’ll never win at Wembley’ song on Thursday night despite the fact that their team were actually managing to win a game at last; boy you really do have nothing in your life as a fan do you?

So there we are and as another Diary is consigned to the rubbish bin we move onto the hardest game of our remaining regular season programme, safe in the knowledge that we can’t now end up in the middle eight whatever happens. Next up however we take on an in form Warrington outfit away from home on Friday. They are motoring and will really be up for this one and I think they might just have too much for us, but then again what do I know? How many times have I said that and been made to look daft by a performance from the FC this season eh? It’s a long trip and a mid afternoon start for me but let’s hope the boys are focussed and determined and that we take a good contingent to the Halliwell Jones Stadium to cheer them on. Thanks again for reading the Diary and taking the time to contact me about last weeks, you’re in put is as always really appreciated and keeps me going! I’ll speak to you all again next week.

Keep Believing

COMEONYOU HULLLLLLLLAAAAARRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf