The Dentist’s Diary – 497th

‘Winning is a habit’ said the great NFL Coach, Vince Lombardi, and of course he was absolutely right. In this ‘topsy turvey’ new league format, success before the split to the ‘Super Eights’, is all about working together, believing in each other and simply accruing the points however you can.

Stylish play is great, but first and foremost it’s really all about getting the points that position you for the upcoming battles in rounds 24 to 30. On Friday, we won and in the future that’s all that the record books will show!!! It was an ugly, ugly game, but a fabulous two points, we played poorly at times, but so did the ‘Wire’ and in the end we prevailed through sheer resolve and fortitude, so who cares?

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Frank was back and put in a good shift!!!

In the end it was guts, effort, the ability to put a string of mistakes behind us (and never let them get to us) and a deal of sheer bloody mindedness that got us home again on Friday night. In Gareth Ellis we had the leader, whilst with 40 yards more ‘go forward’ than anyone else on the pitch, in Talanoa we had ‘the difference’, as the rest of the lads fell in behind those two, dug deep and came away with the spoils. However, it was hard to watch and neither side really valued the ball at all, the Wolves only scored two fortunate tries, while all of ours were well worked efforts, in a performance that saw our defence so good, that the games top scorers made not one clear break all night!

OK in between those tries there where errors a plenty, but both sides made them and it was Hull FC that mastered a visibly flagging Warrington pack and found a way to win.

As I say all you have to do is get the points and now with five games to go to the ‘split’ and us 10 points clear of the 5th team, we will have to be ‘very careless’ indeed to not finish in the top 4, a position that brings with it the advantage of 4 home games in the final 7 matches. So, as we look at the league table this morning, we have to say that for our 2016 campaign, it’s definitely a case of so far, so good!

I feel a bit obsessed with points at present and a Rovers fan said to me on Saturday in Beverley Market, “We were unlucky last night and I see that you lot were bloody lucky again”, to which I replied, “And how many points did you get then?” However my reasoning surrounds the fact that Wigan, Saints and Leeds have always banged on in the past that any sort of success at the end of the season is built on the ability to accrue points any way you can in the regular 23 rounds and then about using the confidence that a high position brings, to ensure that you’re running into some form in the final few games. If that’s the case, then with still a lot to come from this team, I think we should at present be well pleased! However my pals Dobbins team will have to see a lot of results go their way to avoid the ‘Group of Death’ and perhaps with another few injuries he should look in the dictionary to see what ‘Conditioning’ means as well!

But, whatever he or the pundits say, its 13 victories from 14 games and that for me is almost an unbelievable scenario. Can you really believe it’s happening either?

Warrington. Warrington Wolves v Hull FC in the First Utility Super League Round 18 clash at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington on Friday 10th June 2016. Gareth Ellis of Hull FC during the Warrington Wolves v Hull FC First Utility Super League Round 18 clash. MANDATORY CREDIT: RLPIX.COM For editorial use only. Copyright remains property of rlpix.com

The hero of the night!!

I seem to be saying that sort of thing every week, but our game management in the last 15 minutes was superb again on Friday, just as it has been week in week out of late. Our team’s resilience and ability to find a way to win is unparalleled in the competition at present. It’s hard to even contemplate how any team can play that badly (with so many errors in our own half) and yet still win at the home of possibly the league’s most fancied team.

If it’s all about getting wins where we can and then moving on, that result will do for me, because the more we play at half cock and still succeed, the closer that ‘complete’ display comes for us and it seems too much of a coincidence that after we had beaten them, Saints, Wigan, Catalan and now Warrington all lamented how poorly they had played against us.

Where they apprehensive about our record, was out defence too good or were they just a bit scared of the hype surrounding the form of our pack? Who knows, but perhaps what Tony Smith stated afterwards on Friday gave us at least an inkling of why that is the case when he said, “It’s courageous to play and put your body on the line, but when you do there’s some things that fall away and tonight it was our skills” So perhaps that’s code for the fact that teams are having to put in so much effort to prepare for and overcome our rampaging forwards as they try to contain and get one up on them, that they are losing the energy needed to play more open and expansive rugby when they have the ball. Could that be something to do with it do you think? It’s certainly an interesting theory.

But then again who knows? Because I don’t, however once again it was tough to watch and a quite brutal spectacle at times, but these days I’m no longer the purist who longs for classy, flowing and thus often losing rugby, because now I’m just loving the ride and as long as we get two points in the end, who cares? After producing one of the worst displays of the campaign with the ball and still claiming success, this team must be confident they can beat anyone on their day. In fact heading off to Castleford next Sunday after a much needed 9 day break, perhaps our biggest enemy will be our own over confidence.

We ain’t invincible, far from it and we should, every week, remember that!

Over the past few months much of our success has been down to the meticulous way that we have prepared. There is little doubt that Lee Radford should take great credit for that and it was apparent again last week, with an almost clean bill of health and with training changed round a bit to concentrate mainly on the importance of controlling the pace of the game. It was I think as well, something that, despite all the mistakes in other areas we executed well on Friday. He stated on Thursday, “Transition is a big one for us tomorrow night. Whether we are penalised and how quick that ball gets back in play. Scrum starts and anything you can put a stop-clock to this week we have done, to try and ensure it’s all done at the right pace” That and the insight that Gareth Ellis gave on the ‘chalkboard’ after the game just goes, I think, to show how meticulous we plan for every game these days.

Our Coach even commented that in recent weeks Hull have prevailed in some sloppy games and he thought that had not been the best preparation for the top of the table clash with Wolves, but how wrong he was to be proved! In order to address that in-balance, he said an alteration in training methods had been important to ready the squad for the crucial clash.

Tony Smith is a good coach too and he did a deal of talking last weeks as well. They certainly saw the game as ‘the big one’ as he stated in the Warrington Guardian, “At the moment they’re almost injury-free and that gives them a really great chance. When you’ve got your top salaried players playing well and uninjured, it gives you your best shot at winning games. Whatever game is in front of us is our most important one, but we understand if we put in a good enough performance and come out on top that we can regain that first position. We’ll be doing our hardest to try and do that, but we also know it isn’t the end of our season if we don’t. We’re going to give it everything we can. We think we’ve got the capabilities to do it, it’s just a matter of putting that into action” Thankfully like us lot Warrington couldn’t do much of that and so a scrappy game, in which our brilliant defence restricted them to two opportunist tries and no breaks, was what was served up, but as I say….who cares!!

Beforehand there is little doubt that once the talking had stopped and a great contingent of FC fans had made the long and arduous pilgrimage across the Friday afternoon M62, the stage was set for a mighty battle. However history proves in all sports, that with such big games the actual outcome rarely really reaches the level of expectation. So it was on Friday, because it wasn’t pretty, but after 18 games to hear the BBC Breakfast News next day saying, “The battle of the two front runners in Super League was won by Hull FC” was good enough for me.

Slowly but surely we’re all starting to believe we are top 4 material and so it appears are the sporting media. Had it been Widnes, Salford or indeed Castleford who were up there at the top at this point in the process all the talk would be about amazing turn round’s, ‘the Leicester City of RL’ and indeed ‘the stuff that fairy tales are made of’ but this is Hull FC so our amazing renaissance has largely gone un-noticed! It seems in fact that it will take a defeat of the current undisputed league leaders to make any sort of real media impact at all. But then again, why aren’t I surprised!

As for the game, well, whether it was the ball, the constant ‘hands in the tackle’ the dew or just the ‘buttery fingers’ of both sides, I don’t know, but Friday was no doubt a comedy of errors for the uninitiated and casual viewer. Five errors in the first ten minutes prompted Lee Radford to say that had he paid to get in he would want his money back!! However we won and a great, great defensive effort reduced the League’s top scorers to two lucky tries on the back of two of those errors and in fact to me in the end the ‘Wire’ looking ordinary and well beaten!

What a bloody effort our boys have made this year and despite all those mistakes, with all the tenacity, wanting and sheer will to win, how far away does that drubbing at Widnes seem right now?

Compared with the quality of our scores, they were as I say very lucky with theirs, but come the second half we certainly all expected both teams to come out and stop the mistakes and we all knew, whoever did that best, would win. However neither team could deliver and in the end, despite a massive pull in territory, Warrington couldn’t get over the whitewash again while a great set move that saw Gareth Ellis heroically crash over under the posts just about saw us home, before a brilliantly taken Sneyd drop goal under a lot of pressure sealed it!

Watching the game back, how anyone can stand that Phil Clarke guy dripping on and on and trying unsuccessfully to be neutral ‘beggars belief’. He’s such a biased Dick and if it isn’t Wigan then he’s not interested is he? The moment that he thought Wigan were to be defeated over at Caravan Park he did nothing but trash both teams on show at Warrington. OK it was a first half littered with mistakes, everyone on the terraces could see that, but quite a few of those mistakes on both sides were either forced errors or ball steals and much of the sloppiness was down to the impact and brutality of it all. Clarke missed all that!!

Warrington. Warrington Wolves v Hull FC in the First Utility Super League Round 18 clash at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington on Friday 10th June 2016. Hull FC celebrate the victory during the Warrington Wolves v Hull FC First Utility Super League Round 18 clash. MANDATORY CREDIT: RLPIX.COM For editorial use only. Copyright remains property of rlpix.com

More smiles more heroics and more fun for the fans!!

There were then, despite the errors, some valiant efforts from our lads and even taking into account at times the ugly nature of it all, it was without doubt our best defensive display this year. For me there were two ‘Man of the Match’ performances from Ellis and Talanoa. ‘The Flying Dustman’ was immense throughout and although there were 35 handling errors in the game Talanoa made not one. He scored a great try and set up Mark Minichiello’s touch-down with a neat short ball, but it was his driving out of defence that looked so good. He simply ground out the meters with a total of 179 of them on the back of the most carries for the team of 21. Ellis led from the front and in the last quarter took the game and several Warrington players by the scruff of the neck, scoring a great try and pulling off a string of big hits to lead us home. What a captain he is and what a partnership he makes with Mark Minniciello. Mini made some mistakes with the ball but made up for all of them with some smashing attacking play in the heart of the battle and a superb step to score an unlikely try from around 30 yards out.

Shaul though had a very uncharacteristic night, were although he caught the high ball well, he lost it twice as he hit the ground. Fornua and Michaels both ran really hard again, while Yeaman was instrumental in creating the space for Talanoa’s try by producing a great dummy run into their line and what’s more he also didn’t drop the ball once, as again he carried it for in excess of 100 meters. With 24 tackles Tumaveve was a really hard worker and kept taking the ball up to the Warrington line to delay his pass with great effect. He’s doing Ok at half back I think, while Sneyd, calling all the plays, ran himself to a standstill, converted a great game winning drop goal under tremendous pressure and for the third game running, didn’t miss a single goal kick.

In the pack once again, despite struggling a bit in his first spell, Taylor was massive in the latter stages and sapped their defenders strength with drive after drive, although for me Watts had a quiet game by his standards. Houghton had a ‘quiet game’ tackling wise with just 41 (joke) but was into everything and a constant thorn in the oppositions side around acting half, while as I say Ellis and Mini were just amazing at times. Manu before he was injured really did keep the phenomenon that is Ben Currie quiet and had a much better game I thought and Danny Washbrook was a real hero in the final quarter too as he defused a dangerous grubber and made three very telling tackles, he’s a great asset to have coming off the bench. To his credit Green, who I haven’t rated of late, did at least hold onto the ball and not make any handling errors, but Bowden was probably the least effective he has been all season. Finally with 112 meters Frank the Tank was back with a bang and suffered once again with not being able to find any support as he made one block busting run down the left near the end, like it or not other teams seem to really fear him when he has the ball.

So it was in the end again ‘Job done’, in a game the likes of which, for all the wrong reasons, we will probably have to wait a long time to see again. Seldom do both teams make so many mistakes is a match particularly a table topper like this one, but we won, the record shows us still top of the league and so it’s on to Castleford. Well done once again to not just the boys but also the Coach, all his staff and the fans who made the journey; the League table doesn’t lie guys and it shows the fruits of all your efforts!

There were reports afterwards of a melee outside the ground between opposing groups of supporters. What happened it appears is that a few Warrington ‘fans’, bad losers as they are, with their hoods over their heads, started taunting our fans who were getting on the buses for home! Apparently however the ‘Hoodies’, where then served with a bit more than they bargained for too; but we don’t need that sort of stuff in Rugby League at all do we?

It was I have to say, a funny old weekend for results really! The Castleford defeat to Widnes kept the West Yorkshire Club far enough away from us in the table and caused Rovers more problems, while we won to keep the two points clear at the top feeling staying around for at least another week. Then it was Rovers v Wigan and we wanted Rovers to win, so that we got 4 points on Wigan but then again, whoever wants that lot to win at any time!!!! So we couldn’t lose there either really and anyway you can’t rely on that lot at Caravan Park to do anything right can you? Is there no start to their talents?

Finally on Saturday we could have done with Saints winning in France to make sure Catalan stayed 4 points behind us, but they lost and yet that made the gap between us and the Saints 10 points and with just five games to go to the split and them in 5th it will be hard for even us lot to lose our top 4 spot now!! It’s a funny old game isn’t it, but there is no disputing that we are certainly well placed at present. In fact it’s all but nailed on that we are in there in that top 4 and Rovers are just about out of the top eight altogether! So all round not a bad weekend eh?

So to the last 7 days and there’s little doubt that this week it was almost impossible to find an FC fan who didn’t feel that Scott Taylor was well deserving of being named Super League player of the Month. In fact few across the game would argue with it either, as ‘Tag’ became the first ever FC player in the history of Super League to be so blessed. From the minute he walked in the door at County Road he has been nothing short of sensational and I feel really encouraged by the fact that despite all the money, lure of the NRL and prestige attached to playing for the Wigan’s of this world, there is still a need in some players to play for their home town team and the team they supported as a child.

Since he ‘stood on the terraces’ cheering on the black and whites he has been ‘One of our own’ and all he has ever wanted to do was play for the FC and although it took a roundabout route through playing for the old enemy (the Dobbins), Wigan and then having to take a year out at Salford, just so that he could come home, his decision and that of our Club, has been justified and he is now playing the best rugby of his career. What’s also quite amazing is that all this has happened and yet he’s only 24 and as we all know from past experience, for a prop forward at that age his best years are still very much in front of him. For me the early indications are that it is not impossible to see how one day he’ll be Club captain and will I’m sure, gain international honours along the way.

A few years ago Taylor was on the verge of breaking into the England squad having played for the Knights, but for some reason he just couldn’t kick on to the next level. However now with Wayne Bennett at the helm that staid and ‘favourites’ based selection process we have seen under the previous national coach will hopefully be a thing of the past and players will be picked on merit. As long as Scott stays fit he must surely be in with a chance of getting a game in the 4 nations at the end of the season.

He’s playing big minutes for us at present, but as well as having a great ‘engine’ he also has an attribute that is rare in such a big prop forward in that (as he showed for Jamie Shaul’s try against Widnes) he has, for a big man, great speed on the ‘break out’. However best of all I guess is the fact that he is like many more in the current squad, absolutely loving it and enjoying every minute of his time at his home town Club. He’s always got a smile on his face and he also possesses the best try celebration there is as, whether it is him or a colleague scoring, he roars at the crowd with happiness. Top bloke is our Scott!!

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At it again at Warrington, no one celebrates like Tag!!

I have in here over the weeks attributed our excellent bill of health thus far this season to the backroom staff down at County Road, who has worked tirelessly to keep everyone on the field. Yes we have had some pretty big injuries, to Carlos, Prycey and Fornua in particular, but we have come through and our preparation and conditioning has seen us rise to the challenge and come back to win games when behind and as other teams could be seen to be noticeably flagging. Lee Radford seemed to agree too when he said this week, “It’s a great position to be in and I keep praising our medical staff enough for they have done a fantastic job. To be where we are at this moment in time is really pleasing, especially compared to previous years. In the Eights last year we had 14 blokes out and we had to register two young kids at Wigan. We’ve done it tough in the past but hopefully we’ve learned from some of our mistakes and had some luck as well.” Many around the club put it down to the restorative properties of a daily dollop of beetroot juice that every player has to take and although that is certainly helping, I don’t think it’s all down to that, do you?

Despite the fact that everyone in the media was saying last week that the sale of Westerman and Lineham to Warrington for a collective fee of around £300,000 was good business both sales appear to have benefitted the club on the field too, because the spirit and togetherness in the group has never been better. It would appear that if the split was, initially at least, a bit acrimonious, all parties have become a lot more sensible about things of late and in fact last week Lee Radford commented that the three were still in touch when he said, “I speak to Joe Westerman and Tom Lineham a fair bit”

For me personally, I have to say that e no matter how the two players play or what they go on to do in their future careers, it was without doubt the right move and I still believe that a lot of that team spirit which has got us so far in 2016 is down to the departure of a couple of square pegs, but that’s just my view and of course everyone at the Club will deny it….now!

There was a lot of news ‘Down Under’ this week about the UK Border Agency changing its rules concerning players coming to play here, as the recruitment of Australian and Kiwi players to England took a hit with the tightening of visa rules. Many of the NRL players who want a stint in Super League won’t be able to come over unless they have played in 50% of the available NRL games that took place during their tenure at their current Club. The stricter regulations are a blow to many players who are keen on a move but who don’t have British or EU passports and apparently several clubs, like our noisy neighbours, with targets in their sights, are getting very worried about these changes. Of course it will be interesting to see how our game fairs on that front when compared with say Football, Rugby Union and indeed Cricket, who seem to always have a lot less problems than our game in that field! Interesting stuff though!

So with the last 5 games of the first part of this new and convoluted system of fixtures coming up, the table is starting to take shape and with 6 points between 4th and 5th and 5 between 8th and 9th it looks as if there will be a distinct top 4 a middle 4 and a bottom 4 in place well before round 23. However it’s to be hoped that a Championship team is good enough to upset the odds and make it to Super League, although looking at those current bottom 4 and the top 4 in the championship it looks to me that once again the premier clubs are just too strong for the others. The million pound game might spark a surprise, but I doubt it myself! In addition the second 4 are in danger of being cut adrift to be out of touch with the top 4 clubs before they even start those last 7 games in the Super Eights. So this marvellous ‘Every minute counts’ system isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be is it?

The solution is for me to look at things again and perhaps keep it simple! Maybe two years of this structure has now served it’s purpose and seen a distinct narrowing of the gap between Super League and the Championship however if we get more dead rubbers amongst the top eight and no side promoted once again, the structure will soon start to lose all of its integrity.If a Championship team battles all year and finishes top of the pile shouldn’t it get promoted? Isn’t that the fairest thing? Surely the best solution is to revert to the bbasic, one-up, one-down which works so well in other sports and guarantees one team goes up as the best of the lower division whilst the bottom Club of the Super League goes down.

What is really wrong in having Super League’s worst side relegated and the Championship’s best promoted? If you wanted more drama you could have the next four Championship sides play off for the right to play Super League’s second-bottom side in a ‘Million Pound Game’ – but there has to be basic promotion and relegation to give the sport’s lower-tier sides a fighting chance because it still appears that at present they don’t have one.

At the top, a shorter league season would make an already-competitive Super League more congested, with fewer games reducing the chance for major chasms opening up in the league table. More should be made of the ‘Plate’ because after a hard season first past the post is very significant, although there is also little doubt that the sport needs its Grand Final as well, because it’s the shop window of the game and watched by millions. Perhaps your happy with the current structure because let’s face it the new format has thus far been good for us this season. But last year cut adrift in 7th and 8th, ourselves and indeed Catalan had nothing to play for but pride in those last 7 games. If in the end nobody gets promoted and again we have a deal of meaningless games in the Super 8s, surely it’s time for change?

Now here’s a great story that was sent to me this week by Richard an exiled FC fan who lives and works in London. He told a great yarn about the benefits of being a RL fan when he stated in an E mail,

“I am fast becoming a groupie of the BBC and their free tickets. I have been to a few recordings recently with ‘ Have I got news for you’ a real highlight. But the one show that’s evaded me is Mock the Week which is a favourite of mine & my wife’s. Earlier this week she (Ruth) mentioned it must be back soon. Then sure enough they tweeted on Thursday that they’d be back in a few weeks time. I passed this tweet onto Ruth through a re tweet and a comment. Mock the Week liked my tweet. So I tweeted them, ‘Stop favouriting my tweets and give me some tickets instead. I’ve been applying for years without any luck’. I got a response in the form of the usual quiz question, it simply asked. ‘Name the first try scorer in the 1985 CC final’ Boom!!! I’m straight back with the answer Kevin James. (No Google required on that score). Correct was the response. They gave me an email address and I was told to give the Hull coach’s name as a password. So I emailed with ‘King’ Arthur Bunting and now, thanks to the producer who is a life-long Wigan fan, I have a choice of two tickets to see any recording of Mock the Week this year. Them Pies and the RL family are not a bad bunch at all really”

Great stuff Rich and thanks for that!! Oh and incidentally I believe that Arthur Bunting was 80 the other day!

This week in Codgers Corner as we look back at less complicated and perhaps less stressful times in the history of Hull FC I want to go back to season 1974/75 and a game that was brought to mind by this weekend’s match because of the passion we showed back despite the fact that we made loads of mistakes and couldn’t hang onto the ball at all. Then however the spirit was as it is right now at the KC although we had no money, no prospects and few wins under our belt. Times were really hard and all we could hope for was that we would actually have a Rugby team to support the following week-end. In the month of November we had already travelled to the bottom club and perennial underachievers Huyton and got thumped 32-10. So the following week it was hardly surprising that there was only 1051 people ’packed’ into the Boulevard to watch us play a very handy and well placed Whitehaven outfit that boasted several really gifted players and a typically massive Cumbrian pack.

On arriving at the Boulevard we found the pitch was its usual muddy morass, with the centre line painted onto the mud for the full width of the pitch. I watched the game in the Threepennies where all we could hope for was that the FC could keep the score down.

There was a massive difference in the size of the packs which was apparent when the beefy and somewhat statuesque Cumbrian forwards ran out onto the pitch and it was obvious that we would have to fight hard to get anything from the exchanges up front. As Referee Keane blew his whistle the heavens opened and it was so dark that the floodlights flickered into life after about two minutes of play. It never stopped raining throughout the game!

Kenny Foulkes resplendent in a shirt much more faded than everyone else’s, kicked off into the wind and for the first fifteen minutes, as the Whitehaven six tore into us, it looked as if our pack would be ground into the mud. It was no surprise when Cassie landed a penalty after Tony Duke was penalised for collapsing a scrum on our 25 yard line. Then straight from the kick off Shimming strode out of a poor tackle by Clarke and Salmon, to cross the line and after just 17 minutes we were already 7-0 down. The visitors certainly looked relaxed and confident and pressed again, before a couple of penalties saw us in their half for the first time. Duksey managed to slide through the ‘Haven front row to hook the ball back to win a scrum against the head and from this Foulkes turned the ball back inside for Geraghty to touchdown and with Alf Macklin (an unlikely goal kicker) landing the conversion, we were just two points behind.

It wasn’t long though before the Cumbrian’s extended their lead after a high shot by the fiery FC prop Alan Wardell on Maquire saw Cassie kick his third goal before Shinning crossed again after some poor Hull tackling. Back came Hull with some crunching tackles and as the crowd warmed to the task in hand, Steve Portz split the defence on the right and the mercurial Howard Firth shot is at the corner, looking like a Viking warrior with his matted wet blonde hair trailing in the wind. Macklin just missed with a conversion that many in the Best Stand swore afterwards went over the top of the posts!!

As half time approached both Casey and Wardell went close and it was with some renewed hope that we went in at half time just a point behind. That margin against a well fancied team certainly heartened the fans and a buzz of conversation in the Threepenny Stand continued throughout the break and better still was to follow in the second half. Straight from the kick off Tony Duke won another scrum near the visitor’s line and Casey almost squeezed through a tackle to get over. However straight from the play the ball Brian Hancock fed Mick Crane who passed onto Geraghty for the full back to shoot out an inch perfect cut out pass past Clarke to Alf Macklin who barrelling into the corner for a great try. Although ‘Super Alf’ missed the conversion from wide out, we had the lead for the first time in the match, but at 11-9 with 30 odd minutes to go it was far from over.

The Cumbrian Forwards regrouped and came at us in wave after wave of attacks and struggling to overcome the weight difference, three and sometimes four FC players continuously piled into the tackle to stop the visitors getting over the line. Casey hung onto the ‘boot laces’ of Evans who released the ball for Martin to lunge over the line, only to find Crane underneath him holding him up and preventing him getting the ball to ground. Then Morris shot down the wing, only for Crane to come to the rescue again, this time just stretching to push the player, who was in full flight, to first disturb his balance and to then make him step into touch. It seemed like it was to just be a matter of time before our line was breached but we battled and defended till the end.

The visitors had a chance to level when Kenny Foulkes was penalised for ‘feeding’ a scrum with a minute to go, but as every one of the 1000 plus crowd booed the kicker and the rain poured down, Cassie’s kick just shaved the wrong side of the left post, and we were home if not exactly dry, 11-9. After that humiliating defeat the week before we all ran on the pitch, slipping, sliding and falling in the mud, to congratulate our heroes. However although as always it was great to win, as we left the ground in the pouring rain, amid rumors of bankruptcy and official receivers we were still pretty concerned as to whether we would have a team to support the following week. They were really hard times but as has always been the case down the years, tenacity and passion just got us through. We have a deal of that right now at the Club too!

So in a week when football hooliganism has reared its head again and we are swamped with the bullying and ridiculous claim and counter claim of the EU debate, Hull FC march on!! We sit at the top of the table with a tricky looking game at Castleford up next on Sunday. They will be looking for a response after Widnes did them the other night and will be high on emotion by they take to the field. We have to prepare well and ensure that we keep our feet firmly on the ground. Anything less and we will be beaten, I’m sure of that!

We are going extremely well and it’s never easy in these situations because in the eyes of the fans however far you have come as a team you’re still only as good as your last performance. Some still want more, but for me the time to gripe is when the whole thing falls apart and certainly not after just one game, one poor showing or one defeat. There is little doubt that despite all their fine words most of the fans of other clubs are waiting and hoping for our bubble to burst. Despite all that though and with this Diary approaches a seminal 500th edition, I’m still enjoying the best ride I’ve had out there on the terraces for at least ten years.

Next week is important but not I would wager as important as the week after, for this is a League thing, an accumulating pointer to success in a weekly continuation of fixtures; whilst the Cup is sudden death and we simply have to beat Catalan.

As for the Brexit debate, well whether we are in or out and it’s remain or leave, we are all apparently doomed, so my advice would be for us all to run for the hills as soon as we possibly can. Perhaps with us playing the Dragons two days after the vote, if we are out of the EU, the Catalan team will be stopped at the border and we’ll get a bye!! Well you can but hope!

Thanks to everyone for reading another Diary and for all your support and comments! Friday was another of those nights when it was a great honour to be an FC fan and let’s hope next Sunday is too. One thing’s for sure there will be the biggest away following that the Tigers have seen this year in attendance, let’s just hope the boys can deliver for us all!

Keep Believing

AND

COMEONYOUHULLLLLAAAARRRRR!!!!!!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf