The Dentist’s Diary – 547th

 

What a Wonderful Afternoon!! Does it get any better??

 


One of our own!

If there was one question on the lips of the rejoicing FC Faithful at the end of that fabulous demolition of Leeds, it was probably, “Where the hell did that come from?”

There was so much skill on show, but I’ll tell you where it came from, because first and foremost it came from the heart, it came from the wanting and the passion the team spirit and the belief. Want to see that animated into actions? Then just look for a moment at how long it took us to form the victory huddle at the end of the game. We waited and waited until every player had finished their interviews, then Gareth Ellis told it to them all as it was, the team were together for a moment in absolute solidarity as one and then the celebrations began! But everyone was part of it all!

The thing is when that team plays like they did on Saturday they are pretty implacable and as I marveled at what was unfolding in front of me I was so, so proud of the effort they put in and the way they won it for us lot singing ourselves hoarse on the terraces!! Yes, it’s great to be hailed by the media for our performance, yes, it’s great to be back at Wembley and yes, it would be superb to do Wigan and retain the Cup, but for now let’s just savour that moment for all its worth, for such performances and occasions are so rare and so fleeting.

You know, people will have been sat in front of their TV sets in Rochdale, Swinton, Dewsbury and Oldham wishing it was their team that was getting the accolades and plaudits after that performance and that were about to set off on the journey to Wembley Way. They know that although they can dream, it will probably never ever happen, but for us lot its real, its happening and it’s ‘the famous Hull FC that are off to Wembley’ AGAIN and we are, in the context of all those other fans around the game, so, so lucky to have a team like that!!

What an amazing performance that was, you know as second half’s go it was up there with the very best some of us old timers have ever seen and for me we produced as good an exhibition of controlled and clinical rugby as you will see. After a first half that had seen us have to come back from 6 down twice, we then went on to completely overwhelmed a Leeds team that at times had absolutely no idea of how to contain us.


The one thing that has the power to beat anyone! Team spirit!

What a great game plan Lee Radford created and how well he managed the interchanges too. It was a master plan that completely annulled Leeds in the second half and that made them look pretty ordinary. They thought they were smart resting 10 players last week? Well they don’t look that smart right now! Scheme and bend the rules about fielding a weakened side all you like, in the end on Saturday a great plan, some amazing skill, team spirit and an unwavering will to win saw us through and I absolutely loved it!


Two massive heroes on a massive afternoon

You can easily wax lyrical about all sorts of facets of that game and I will be doing just that in here, for the skill level at times was just amazing to watch, but for me in the end it was fortitude, tenacity and the spirit of ‘Wembley 2016’ that won the day. What’s more, despite me feeling that after last August the scenario for cup rugby would now be one of supporting with the pressure off, to see us blow a team of the calibre of Leeds away, in such devastating fashion, made for a brilliant experience for everyone who attended. The atmosphere was terrific as 8000 FC fans determined to have a great day out whatever happened, sang, chanted and willed the lads to a famous victory.

That’s how it all concluded really, with a mixture of relief and ecstasy on the terraces and a deal of pride out on the field, but for me, it all started quite differently to how it eventually finished.

This game and the pre-amble to it was certainly uncharted territory for most of the FC Faithful, for it had been over 4 decades since we went into a Semi Final defending the Challenge Cup and the first time we were attempting to get two Wembley victories on the trot.

I spoke at length in my book about how, as we approached the Wigan semi-final last year, the tide of fortune seemed to be flowing our way, as little things, indicators and happenings started to fall into place and although I was scared by the magnitude of the task that faced us and Wigan’s Cup record, I still had just a glimmer of hope. It’s almost impossible to put into words what I felt back then, or what that feeling regarding a fans ability to sense the way things are going is all about, but I guess it’s something that most supporters experience anyway.

However, what eventually happened at Wembley last year made me believe that we had to have a chance this time around, and yet for this fan the odds were stacked against us, as we faced the prospect of taking on a team that had the hex over us and who had in fact beaten us in our last 8 meetings. Our Clubs record against the Rhino’s, the number of players they had for whom this would be their last chance for Wembley, the struggles we had experienced of late when trying to score tries and the two club’s records leading up to the final made me feel very uneasy indeed. But, most of all that feeling of apprehension and trepidation that I had in my gut, made me think that the tide of fortune that served us so well in 2016 had perhaps deserted us and was now instead running with the West Yorkshire Club. With that, the challenge became an even bigger one to contemplate, but I didn’t quantify for those magnificent men in their bar code shirts!

However, ‘every cloud’ I guess and so what had occurred last August at Wembley Stadium certainly meant that I was less anxious and nervous as the week unfolded and it wasn’t until Saturday dawned that the real tensions kicked in. Of course I was preparing myself for the worst, you have to! Years of disappointment and tragic defeats still makes me pretty inadequate when it comes to optimism, but I certainly felt better than I had done last season at the same point in the campaign.

Last August, as the euphoria of that history making win started to clear a bit and I walked back up Wembley Way I felt calm and fulfilled and I remember thinking that perhaps that’s how I hoped it would be in future, because quite frankly, I didn’t think I could survive anymore weeks of abject anxiety like the ones I had experienced before the semi and pre Wembley 2016! I hoped back then that this was the point that I could get back to enjoying my rugby again! That hypothesis was, I concluded, holding good last Saturday and being greeted by a beautiful sunny morning made me feel pretty OK about it all, that ‘Monkey’ was now off my back and I was determined to try and enjoy the game against the Rhino’s, even though, if I’m honest, I still didn’t much fancy our chances.

We travelled early and were at the ground as the turnstiles opened, in fact like a pair of kids eagerly anticipating the game we were first to our seats in our block. As the place filled up I looked across to see the whole of the opposite side of the ground full of FC fans which I estimated equated to two thirds of those there being FC supporters. I reflected that despite all the relief from Wembley 2016, the pressures of possible trips to Australia and the economic circumstances many fans find themselves in these days, the FC Faithful were out in force again and it was questionable, looking at them there chanting and singing in the sunshine, if any other group of fans is just so dedicated and loyal.


The best there is!

But despite all my best laid plans, by kick off came around I was starting to feel pretty anxious and just wanted to get on with it!

The game started at a really fast pace as both teams played the ball quickly and tried to gain the advantage, then a harsh video decision robbed Mark Minichiello of a try after Marc Sneyd had targeted former FC winger Tom Briscoe with the first of many high ‘up and unders’. Danny Houghton was however very unluckily pulled up for obstruction after Briscoe’s knock-on, with FC ending up with nothing more than a scrum ten metres out from Leeds’ line. Then, however, Josh Griffin was pushed into touch all too easily and the chance was lost.


In he goes!! I bet that try of Albert’s saw TV sets flying out of windows all the way down Preston Road!

Next up Liam Watts made one of our only handling mistakes of the afternoon and as Leeds scored from the next set I started to worry if this was the breaking point we had seen so often in the last 8 encounters with the Rhino’s. Would they pull away and cruise onto a win? Would they hell!

We hit back straight away after another Sneyd kick pressured Briscoe and we got repeat set near their line. We then grabbed an amazing try as Albert Kelly completely fooled their goal line defence and cruised in un-touched under the posts. As the game see-sawed this way and that we gave as much back as Leeds could throw at us, but they regained their lead with another Hall try before we got back on level terms again as a brilliant short pass from Sneyd put Carlos in for what our scrum half had made look an easy score.

Then we took the lead for the first time just before the break when Sneyd’s kick was deflected and landed in the arms of Kelly, who rounded a tackler and from low down near the ground he provided a superb offload for Chris Green to score. To see a forward backing up like that and catching a low and difficult pass at speed was quite amazing and we went in at half time in the lead, as all around in the FC crowd, an air of cautious optimism prevailed. But it was still tense and one wag commented to me during the break, “Never mind player welfare being paramount they should have defibrillation units here on the terraces for the fans!”

We started the second half really well and almost added to the score as the mercurial Kelly made a break from deep in our half, Griffin then kicked inside before Jamie Shaul’s mazy run led to Sneyd sending a bullet like pass out wide only for Talanoa to drop it. Two years ago that would have seen our then fragile confidence break but almost immediately in a move reminiscent of Wembley last year Talanoa made up for his mistake by tapping Sneyd’s high kick down for Tuimavave to score. All the while Sneyd continued to stroke over the kicks and then added a drop goal to give us a 13- point lead.

I felt the whole game turned again just before that one pointer when a magical play by Danny McGuire, almost got Briscoe in but the ball travelled just too fast for the winger to catch and eventually it just ran dead. Leeds to their credit kept coming at us and as the clock crawled on McGuire put in a clever grubber to see Watkins reduce the arrears to 7 points. Immediately ‘the fat boy with the drum’ was roused from his slumbers and the Chants of ‘Leeds, Leeds’ echoed from the other end. Again I struggled to keep calm and as I fidgeted in my seat and the clock ‘went backwards’ I wondered a bit as to whether that tide of fortune would finally turn against us, we were wavering and the fleeting possibility of us being beaten at the death in the most tragic of circumstances flashed across my mind. But it came and went in an instant, as we were back at it straight away. A great grubber from Shaul saw Leeds having to drop out from under their own posts and in the next set Kelly drew in defenders and his short ball saw Liam Watts powering through their line and over the whitewash after brushing off two defenders. Leeds started to look gassed, the fat boy put his drum sticks away for good, while his comrades were marching on together…straight towards the exits!

I, like them, knew somehow that was it, and just as a united sigh of relief and joy seemed to exude from the FC crowd, a wonder 70-yard effort from Shaul and a crash over from Taylor concluded what was in the end a bit of a rout, to which a late Leeds try made little impact on the score or the three hundred or so Leeds fans left in the stand across the way.

As the hooter went the crowd went ballistic and scenes of unmitigated joy were everywhere. I cried as usual although I thought after last year that would never happen again. I also mused on the fact that, (as had been the case when we were drawn to play the media’s ‘darlings’ Castleford in the quarter finals and completely out smarted them with a game plan that they simply couldn’t handle), we had performed magnificently against the mighty Rhino’s, as Lee and the coaching staff created a game plan that the players executed to perfection.


Off to Wembley Again!

Performance wise, just where do you start? It would be easiest to say that everyone did well, so well in fact that we probably witnessed one of the greatest victories in the Clubs history….again!

Jamie Shaul had a great game and looked so much more potent running the ball out from deep positions whilst Mahe had a good crack going forward but had a bad spell in the first half when, under the high ball he was at fault for two tries. Described this week as the ‘Quiet Assassin’ Carlos Tuimiavave had a superb game at centre and scored two good tries, whilst Josh Griffin continues to improve and had another big game as his strength came to the fore as the game wore on. Talanoa just does so much work in attack and defence and that was a fine assist when he jumped to palm back for Tuimavave’s second. Albert Kelly on the other hand is without doubt ‘Mr X Factor’ and proved it again in devastating style in a game in which at times he was pretty unplayable, up until he left the field with a worrying sternum problem. Then there was Marc Sneyd who again proved all his detractors wrong. He is undoubtedly the consummate big game player and he ran everything! He loves the Challenge Cup almost as much as he loves playing behind our pack when they are on the front foot and you could almost see that fact from the minute he took the field.

Scott Taylor found the perfect way to mark his 200th career game and he really took it to Leeds, scoring a great late try as well. The hero of the last final Danny Houghton led the team whilst Ellis was off the field and could be seen chastising a couple of players when it was needed. He ran well from acting half and organised the side around the play the ball brilliantly. Liam Watts on the other hand was perhaps my man of the match for I thought he was towering at prop and his try came after several identical tilts at the Leeds defence close to their line, as he finally broke the cover and careered in for a great try, He was a mountain on Saturday. Yards after the collision was a massive factor in our victory and Sika Manu put in another big shift and is a real handful to handle with the ball whilest Mark Minichiello just showed once again, that he is just the man for those big occasions.

The difference that Gareth Ellis makes just with his presence on the field was noticeable from the kick off and he got through a stack of work while from the bench, Green had one of his best games for the Club, Bowden was relentless and gained yard after yard as those two ensure we lost no power at all when Wattsy and Tag were off the field. Washy was his usual dependable self and Connor although not on very long did the business as well.

So it was a superb game to witness and one that was definitely placed in the top ten best games I have seen us play. It harked back I thought to that performance at Huddersfield in 2005 when under Johnny Kear we got through to Cardiff by demolishing the much fancied Saints. It was as well, an afternoon that was packed with indelible images to be seared on the memory for ever. There was Albo try, Halls face as he returned to await yet another kick off and ‘We all hate Leeds’ rang around the terraces, Gareth Ellis prowling the touch line like a caged lion desperate to get back into the action, Jamie Shaul streaming down the wing to score the killer try, Lee Radford’s joy at the end, etc. etc. etc. and so it just goes on and on. How proud Adam must be today when he reflects on another Wembley Final in the bag and how good will that be for the Clubs finances too.

But what about Lee Radford eh? His comments before the Huddersfield game that we had to ‘Get Back to Basics and quickly’, echoed, as I said last week, those he made before that dour victory we attained over Wakefield last year after the Widnes lock in debacle. Against the Giants it was dire and it was no frills stuff but it got the job done and from that came this wonderful, wonderful showing. The Leeds based Yorkshire Evening Post sited an ‘underpar Leeds’ but I don’t know how they made that out, because we didn’t let them play at all and controlled the game throughout so, they didn’t even get the chance to be under par!

However, for me it was special in so many ways none less than the fact that although it was a stressful and drama packed afternoon I was surrounded by my friends and a whole host of other people whose names I don’t know but who seem to me like life-long pals. If 2016 at Wembley was a seminal moment in our history, then this could just be the start of a reflected golden era. Let’s hope it is, but for now who cares I’m still buzzing this morning!

I was proud to be there on Saturday, proud of the boys and proud to be an FC fan! If you were there it will be a long time before you forget how it felt to be part of it!

Well somehow I guess I have now to look a bit further in all things FC wise and see what’s been happening this week at the Club we all love. The Super 8’s fixtures were announced on the same day as our semi-final press conference and indeed the announcement that we were off to Australia as I predicted would be the case last week. Taking the fixtures first, I have no issues with who we play and in which week because unlike in the Middle Eights where Hull KR have been given a chance to be promoted by game four, ours all look very fair but once again the RL show that they really don’t know what they are doing when they pair us with Leeds just 5 days after the Wembley final on the following Thursday. When the fixtures were put together it was surely obvious that either Hull or Leeds would be in the Final, so why not make the Thursday televised game the following weekend one between two of the four teams, who weren’t involved in the semi-finals. They could not as clubs have been involved at Wembley, nor could they be suffering from a Cup final hangover. Is there no thought at all going into the setting of the fixtures and the way that they fall, the RL are so bloody useless really! Still I guess that no one will say anything because as with the standard of refereeing in our game, it’s now just accepted practice.

The news that broke in Australia about the Super League fixture to be played there next year, came unexpectedly through their tourism people and as such scuppered the Clubs plans of a big launch announcement with Wigan this week, although in fairness the details of what was happening had been common knowledge for a few days. I said last week what a great opportunity it was and how prestigious it is for Hull FC and it’s great to see that the fixture is in fact a Wigan home game settled, it is said, by the toss of a coin, so as pass holders next season we don’t miss out on a home match either.

It’s a massive opportunity and I expect all sorts of packages being offered to the fans to get there, but it will certainly be a costly exercise. However, as I say as far as the Club is concerned the joint initiative that has been worked up by James Clark and Chris Radlinsky for the two participating Clubs is a massive feather in our cap and something all fans should be pleased about. It’s taken Clarky working for around 6 months, to get to this position but in the end its all paid off. What impact the trip and those two games over there will have on our start to the season is anyone’s guess, because there will be a lot of travelling involved, but as Hull Fc make history it’s a massive coupe for all concerned. Will I be going?

Well it would be great to send the Diary back from Aus. that week and I’d really like to make the trip, but as its probably the last time I’ll have the opportunity to get down there I would be thinking about combining it with a longer trip to see a few of the sights and a few mates like the Gentle clan as well. But. we’ll see! However, and whatever your thoughts on it, yes it’s a gimmick, another one, but it’s great that we have been selected to be part of it!

So Gareth Ellis is looking for another year’s contract extension which would see him become the oldest player in the 2018 competition. He was always going to play again, despite rumours abounding on social media that he was going to hang up his boots. That was never ever the case because he told anyone who asked him that he would get fit first, see how he felt and then make a decision. It was just a case of getting a troublesome sternum injury, which you can’t pad up or inject and that is almost too painful to touch at times, sorted out. How would he be when he got the all clear? Well Ellis, made nothing short of a sensational return to action in last Friday’s 14-10 victory over Huddersfield Giants and he admits the last couple of weeks had as he said. Relit’ his fire to go again in 2018 with Hull.

Gareth told the Hull Daily Mail, “If you would have asked me five or six weeks ago when I was in that tough place where I didn’t know how long it was going to take for me to get back, I might have been thinking enough is enough. But I always said I need to be playing before I make any decisions. Not only for myself but also for the club as well. Having come through the injury period and certainly after the last couple of weeks of feeling good and the comeback on Friday night, I don’t see no reason why not. Particularly one year. It may be that if I do sign for another year it will be my last, which in itself could be beneficial for everyone. Your last year is your last year and you know going into it that everything is your last experience”. The Club have already spoken to Gareth as has the owner and we’ll just have to wait and see what transpires, but if he plays as he has the last couple of weeks and can keep injury free, he’s fine to go another year for me!

Well, you know there aint much that I agree with Shaun Wane on but I have to say I certainly concurred with his views last Wednesday when he commented on the suggestion that the Rugby Football League (RFL) is considering moving the Challenge Cup Final from the national stadium to a stadium further north. I don’t like that idea at all as it is perhaps now the only traditional part of our game left as it was. The final was first held at Wembley in 1929 and the RFL is still at present in the middle of a 20-year deal with the Stadium authorities, but there is talk that some Clubs actually favour a change and a move away from the capital. However, Wane said on BBC Radio Manchester, “It’s part of our tradition and we need to stick with that. That drive to the stadium and seeing all your fans, and seeing your family in the bar afterwards when you’ve won, are memories that stay with you forever and it wouldn’t be the same if it was staged anywhere else”. I and I’m sure a lot of you will agree one hundred percent with that one, well said Mr Wane but don’t be counting on winning it this year!

Well I know Danny Brough has had a number of roles over the years and that he’s certainly a bit of a character, but I never had him down as a full blown comedian! However, when I looked at the Yorkshire Post last Monday I had to wonder a bit as Broughy said: “I thought it was a really poor game, I don’t think it was refereed great. It was slow in patches and then sped up when it suited him. They got a lot of penalties out of their 10-yard area which killed us; people diving on the floor and losing the ball on purpose and getting a penalty against us is frustrating”.

People diving and losing the ball on purpose! Believe me Danny we don’t have to do that on purpose we are perfectly capable of doing it as a matter of course and with Mr Kendall in charge who in their right mind would ever expect him to give anything for a dropped ball anyway? Bad loser is our Danny!

Watching Rugby AM on Estuary TV last week I was taken by the humour of a question and answer session with Wattsy and Scott Taylor. They really are a pair of jokers but at one point they were asked which player in the FC squad was most ‘under the thumb’ and Liam immediately said, ‘Mahe without doubt!’ When asked to explain ‘Tag’ said, that for the Feke Paliassina Ladies night when the players were ‘risqué’ waiters, Mrs Fonua had made her husband wear a waistcoat! However, after about five minutes and a lot of taunting from his team mates and the ladies, it was off and he was into the baby oil etc. with the rest of the players, to which Wattsy retorted, “He’s not been allowed out since!”

Now just for a moment let’s talk Conspiracy Theories!! Do you believe in them? Well I don’t really think I do, but then again I always jump at the chance at reading anything I find on UFO’s, little green men or alien abductions. I guess sometimes we’d just like there to be something in them because everyone likes a conspiracy! I haven’t actually ever experienced any such extra-terestrial phenomena myself, although I think I might have had a few close encounters on the way home from the pub!! There is however nowhere were those theories abound more than in the world of Rugby League and only last weekend even I was surprised to see Neil Hudgell (top of many peoples wish list for an alien abduction) release a very strange message on social media denying anything untoward had taken place that afternoon.

He did it in response to a few keyboard warriors who, with nothing better to do, cited the possibility that the Dobbins had thrown the game at Halifax to make sure Toulousse were not in the top 4. I had laughed the initial claims off and so should he have, but then even I thought ‘Doth he protests too much?’ Nah, despite the RL’s quest to get the ‘Unwise men from the East’ back into the elite league ASAP, they wouldn’t allow that to happen and the Rovers players wouldn’t contemplate it either, would they?

However, the RL didn’t help either when the conspiracy fires were further fueled as the draw for the Middle eight fixtures came out. Surely it was just a co-incidence that they came out in such a Rovers favoring way? The ufo-chasers can’t have been right there as well can they, they must have just have been a bit bored when they posted their theories on the draw,, or perhaps it was just a cloudy night? Then I received an interesting E Mail from one of the most level headed blokes I know who is also a valued reader and because it was so interesting I’ll simply include it here for your consideration.

“With regard to the Jamie Acton appeal – I no way condone his action on Greg Bird, but am wondering about the increase in his suspension from 9 games to 4 months. Counting the matches already served, the 9 game suspension meant he would have been available for Leigh’s last middle eights game and the Million Pound game if needed. However, the increase in suspension now means he is out until the end of the season. Now Rovers could well be involved in this million-pound fixture. What interests me is that the 3-man panel who refused his appeal and quite uncharacteristically increased the suspension, comprised of Danny Sculthorpe, Andy Raleigh (who played for Rovers) and someone named Barry Lilley JP. Now I know someone of this name is a former chairman of Rovers, and I know someone of that name is often a match commissioner. I have done a bit of digging around (unsuccessfully) to find out if they are one and the same person. Should this be the case, the situation absolutely stinks, but nothing surprises me about the goings on at Red Hall anymore”.

Theory after theory eh? Vested interest on the Disciplinary lanel eh? Nothing in it? Well perhaps there is and perhaps there isn’t, on balance its probably the latter but we are all at the very least a bit sceptical aren’t we? Well let’s face it the world of rugby league is full of Barry Lilley’s there must be hundreds of them…. not! It was quite feasible to have one ex member of a team that Leigh threatened in the Middle eights on the panel; but Two!! However, rather than me adding another string to the conspiracy theorists bows, I think that it’s not so much what they are doing at Red Hall, because that never surprises me, but the way that they just don’t seem to consider what folks out there might be thinking about their actions before they act. Why the hell don’t they move to at least safeguard their own backs. It’s almost a case of perceived arrogance isn’t it?

Look for instance in the fact that whenever Graham Hallas (who left our club in rather acrimonious circumstances after playing for several seasons for Rovers) is on the disciplinary panel our players get a ban! It could be a coincidence but there is simple solution; don’t put him on it and the myth is instantly dispelled! It should be the same with the fixture issued for the middle eights etc. make them totally transparent and select then by a draw or a random selection machine and do it in public, like they do the Challenge Cup. Don’t leave us and the Rhino’s fans wondering why we, as potential Finalists are both scheduled to play each other on the Thursday after Wembley. Explain how it came about, surely that isn’t asking too much!

There’s probably nothing in all the conspiracy theorists angles at all, or is there???? You judge for yourself, however, you’d think the RL would do something to watch their backs wouldn’t you? It’s easy to see why these machinations abound, particularly when the past has shown that sometimes, just occasionally, they prove in the long term to be more than just theories. The Truth is out there! Watch the Skies!

There was a superb article this week on the Talk Sport Site by Adrian Durham that was entitled ‘Why is there such a Pro Castleford Agenda in the media’, in which he examined how a lot of RL fans had been brainwashed into thinking that the only thing of interest this season is the Castleford Tigers.

He said….

“When we should be excited about taking our Super League product to Australia, or looking forward to the Challenge Cup semi-finals, the media agenda has steered back to Castleford. They deserve more credit than they’re getting apparently. Right, ok…

Cas are playing great rugby, but no better than Leeds a couple of years ago when they won the treble, something Cas cannot emulate this season. No better than the free-flowing stuff Warrington treated us to last year.

And let Warrington be a lesson to Cas. They won the League Leaders Shield, but ended up wondering what might have been when they lost both the Challenge Cup final and the Grand Final. I know for a fact Warrington were gutted with how last season went.

So why is there such a pro-Cas agenda in the RL media? One reason is that they are desperate for the underdog to do something. Castleford haven’t won anything worth winning since the mid-1980s when they beat Hull KR in the Challenge Cup final.

The other reason is timing: RL writers and broadcasters are sharpening their knives ahead of England coach Wayne Bennett’s almost inevitable failure at the World Cup later this year. And Cas coach Daryl Powell is the man they want to take over, so why not set the tone already?”

I have had a few fans going on and on about Cas after that comment that, ‘They have reinvented the game’ but they haven’t really had a dip yet and that will come. Everyone likes an underdog but there’s more to the game than that, although I admit that I think Cas are a great team and I admire the rugby they play, but they only do it when they are allowed to. They ain’t at Wembley and in the running for the treble and we knocked them out of the Challenge Cup with sheer fortitude and tenacity? Cas are doing great, but they need to seal the deal. They can’t win that Challenge Cup, so the only thing worth winning now is the Grand Final. If they get that job done, then Cas and Powell will deserve all the plaudits they’ll get. But, as for the media frenzy that seems at present to surround them I thought Adrian Durham actually made a very good point and I believe that Shaun Wane and a couple of other coaches agreed with him too!

I went down to make a book delivery to the FC shop in Paragon Street on Thursday as they had just about sold out there first one hundred books and I bumped into Diary reader Glenn who was just buying one of the last copies. WE had a quick chat and I thought I’d give him a mention it was also good to see Stivey, Ricky, Steve Roberts, Tony Roberts, Iain and Lauren, Northern Soul Neil, Harold F, Carl, Bill Thornton, Jed and everyone else at Donny on Saturday with particularly mention of Diary reader Brian Wright from Lincoln who stopped for a chat on the way out! Everyone was having a great time afterwards on the car park and in the streets around the ground after the game.


I came across these three Diary readers on the car park afterwards, pouring wine out into some rather nice glasses on a car roof. They’d got it sorted!

So there we are then and who would have thought that this week we would all be sat back basking in the reflective glory of another trip to Wembley after the annihilation of Leeds. That’s what it was in that second half, but watching the game back you have to admit that with all the Leeds tries coming from what the American Football lads call Gadget plays (in that they are pieces of individual brilliance that come against the run of play) we controlled the game through-out, played it at our pace and on our terms and finished the job off in fine style. So much so that the Leeds Coach, for whom plaudits are as rare as bacon sandwiches at a bar mitzva said, “But Hull were good”, three times in his post-match comments. And we were good, Bloody good in fact! What an afternoon and what a game eh?

Well on Friday its Salford at the KCOM and a new set of challenge to face against a team that will be down and battered after the happens of yesterday in Warrington, it’s a great chance to give the lads a big welcome after the semi-final and show our appreciation so get there if you can. I don’t fear Salford or indeed Wigan for that matter and anyway for now who blooming cares? Enjoy the week, I’m off to watch the game again!!

COMEONYOUHUULLLLAAAARRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!

Faithfully Yours, (and daring to dream again),

Wilf