The Dentist’s Diary – 548th

Heroes and villains!

It was without doubt a good effort, a bit scratchy at times, but a good effort just the same! We got the job done, saw some great tries, grabbed the two points and witnessed another pretty atrocious refereeing performance! (Get rid of the back line judges, Mr Wood, we now have referee’s with bionic vision!!!) Another week, another game; Welcome to the Super Eights!

Kelly was great again, but there was another hero against Salford!

On Friday it was all about the result rather than the performance, for it was, when you looked at how the fixtures fall, a must win game. Yet, as I walked to the Stadium, I pondered on the fact of how much our success at Donny would influence the outcome on the night. I believed that what we took from that victory, coupled with how a disappointing outcome impacted on Salford’s resolve, would probably decide the game. I don’t care how good a team you are, there is no way that you can completely overcome the physical and mental stress inherent in such games so soon after a semi-final and it was always going to be about who best overcame the ‘hangover’ from the happenings of the previous weekend. In the end some shrewd preparations by Lee Radford, during which the players just rested up and did little else, got us the win and as the results fell, we ended up with three points on the teams in fifth and sixth and six points on those in seventh and eighth.

So, with everyone having to play each other and thus not just gaining points but taking them off their nearest rivals as well, we are on course for the top 4, but with still a bit to do to cement our place. However at least that win gives us some breathing space and allows us to go to Saints with a bit of the pressure off and hopefully a couple of players back. Now we have a slight cushion over 5th and 6th and if we win our other 3 home games, we should be home and dry in the top four with another ‘objectives for the season’ ticked off. So all in all, Friday night was without doubt ‘Job Done’!

Lee Radford was obviously a tad concerned about the strain that was intrinsically linked to the ‘high anxiety’ situation we had faced just 6 days earlier and indeed commented that all we had to do was ‘just enough to win’ and I guess in the end we did…. just enough!

After as near to a perfect performance as you will probably ever see in that Semi Final, we had to face a tough turn around both physically and emotionally, as the scramble to get into the top four began and we faced a crest fallen and wounded Salford. Last year at this point in the proceedings and following that great semi win against Wigan, we lost to a rested up Castleford at the KCOM 30-16. That night the hang over from the big game was certainly apparent and the opposition took advantage! This time around we had to cope with the loss of Marc Sneyd, which was certainly a blow, as was us missing the steadying hand of Mark Minichiello, but we just had to get on with it because at this time of year that’s the cards you’re dealt!

However, Salford, with an equal amount of injuries to report after their semi on Sunday and a day less to prepare, were certainly intent on trying to get their fast receding good start to the season back on track and as they shifted the ball wide at every opportunity, it was always going to be a tough game.

The school holidays, the financial burden of another weekend at Wembley and the oncoming trip to Australia all played their part in influencing the attendance and I guess to get a five figure gate in those circumstances was good. The hangover from the Keepmoat was apparent in our energy levels but at least at this stage the RL had paired the 4 semi-finalists together in the first round and so it was no different for the visitors. However, although they took it to us at times, I think we just did enough to convince me that we might have learned from last year’s experiences and are better prepared (both with available ‘troops’ and emotional tenacity), for a two-pronged attack on the trophies; well certainly better than we were last season anyway!

We really looked hot at times and the second try was mesmerising stuff, but we simply couldn’t sustain that class for long enough to put the opposition away completely and so after a strong first quarter Salford came back at us to tie things up by half time. A chat from the boss and a few indications about sharpening things up followed and the team responded well in the third quarter of the game, as our cutting edge was back and we put the Red Devils to the sword. However, as if to animate our lack of energy, we then took our foot off the gas again. Then it was down to our growing ability to manage games in such circumstances and, as Salford had obviously expended too much energy trying to hold us at bay, we simply closed the game out and cruised to a good win.

It was adequate, quite clinical at times and we did what was needed. I think we all sat there still watching in the afterglow of the semi-final and perhaps expecting the same levels of pressure and skill, both of which it would have been impossible for any team to reproduce in just a 6 day turn around. We should have known better I guess as it was never going to be about quality but more about getting the two points any way we could and moving on!

You know Robert Lui impresses me every time I see him and he was instrument all night in keeping Salford in the game. But if he shone for the opposition, our hero for the night Jake Connor ‘sparkled and crackled’ in attack for us too. He stepped into the considerably large boots of Marc Sneyd with aplomb on Friday and was without doubt our man of the match. It’s pretty obvious that when Marc is missing we are not as well organised or structured as when he is out there directing operations, but that means that with Kelly and Connor together we have two ‘maverick’ players with amazing levels of skill who at one moment look out of synch with things, but who can then in the next, turn a game in an instant. As Kelly ghosted through the defence to open our scoring, it was just what we expected really I guess, but then later in the second half Connor did exactly the same thing to record a carbon copy touch-down, which just showed us all how the youngster is developing and learning from those around him.

OK Jake makes mistakes and still gets caught out at times and he’ll have good and bad games as he develops, but he is a veritable box of tricks when it comes to off the cuff plays and his skill set is pretty amazing. With vision, good hands and superb balance, he is a player that if we look after him will become a massive FC hero in years to come, I’m sure of that. He is such an exciting player to watch, plus he’s becoming a pretty handy field kicker and a great goal kicker ‘to boot’. With just 5 tries to 4 in the end it was also Connors dead eye goal kicking that kept some breathing space between the two sides in that final quarter and his accuracy is a massive plus when Sneyd is missing. That in effect got us home.

Connors none stop performance saw him assist in three tries and then score a great one himself, plus he landed six great goals and dropped one to stretch the advantage at a crucial time in the game! He was into everything and is a massive ‘one for the future’ for me.

“We Got Albert Kelly”; Kelly still dazzles defences every time he plays and has been a massive capture this season.

There were some other great performances as well. Shaul looked sharp but was not spotted enough by our other breaking runners and although he again dropped a critical high ball Fonua had another strong game, before he was substituted by Michaels, who played long minutes to help him get back in the groove and drove the ball in tirelessly. However, Talanoa had a massive game yard wise and his catch and score from a great Connors kick was a skilful effort to watch. Carlos had another good game and is so easy on the eye when he is on the ball. His silky skills led to him scoring two good tries and he is real class, whilst Griffin again did well particularly when driving the ball in. Albert Kelly continues to impress with both his skill and unpredictability and Salford would have been pleased to see him rested in the second half.

Up front I was really impressed with Taylor who was second only to Connor for the MOTM accolade for me. He drove for yards and although Wattsy was a bit more subdued than we saw him at Doncaster, those two props gained countless yards particularly after the impact. Houghton ran from acting half with much effect against their tiring defence and did just did what he always does quite brilliantly and Seke Manu, who has been a revelation this season, was superb again. Ellis led from the front and got a well-deserved rest in the second half whilst Washy as usual slotted in well, whatever he was asked to do. Of the others, Green stood up to the big Salford forwards and added some energy when rotated with the starting front row and Thompson and Fash also brought much needed fresh legs to the battle and worked their socks off for the cause.

Chris Green, going well at present!

So all in all a satisfactory nights work in difficult circumstances and in the end it was job done. It was two precious points gained but it’ll be a lot harder to come back with anything from St Helens next week though!

Again sadly the official in the middle took centre stage in another awful display of refereeing that was littered with baffling decisions, unpunished misdemeanours and an abject inability to control the ruck or the off-sides. To see Mr Smith overrule an in goal judge’s decision from a kick-off, when he’s over 35 meters away from the line in question, on which the goal judge was stood, smacked of a man losing the plot to me! As I said earlier he must have bloody bionic vision?

Mr Collinson on RL fans said after the game, “What happened to team warnings, sin bin for professional fouls, head shots, constant lying on and backchat being penalised. Salford conned the referee all through the game last night”. What happened to all that indeed mate because few who were there could argue with what you had to say at all. What’s more throughout the game Mr Smith seemed oblivious to the calls of the linesmen, never looked at them and certainly never consulted with them. They were just spectators in the front row of the ‘farce’, just like the rest of us! The problem with referees like that who make bad call after bad call is that when they make a call that is right, all their credibility is shot and so no one gives that decision any credence at all. I’m afraid these days we watch a game where the supporters of both sides have lost completely any sort of respect for the officials and sadly I would add, with good cause as well.

Oh for the days when Linesmen were involved in the decision making in games!

The difference in the quality of officiating from one game to another and indeed one official to another is appalling and examples of good refereeing are these days very, very few and far between. When you compared the performance of Phil Bentham at Doncaster, (which was to be lauded and indeed even celebrated), where he was without doubt really in control and yet ‘seen and not heard’ as he should be, the two we have experienced either side of that semi-final have been nothing short of inept. We won both League games but the eventual successful outcomes in those matches were despite the officials rather than because of them!

Finally, on the game and a mention for the good old SMC, who make such a big deal about everything and seem to constantly ‘salt’ us as tenants of the Stadium. Yet you just have a look at the condition the journalist’s seats were in when the men from the press arrived on Friday to see that all is not well with the general day to day maintenance of our Community Stadium!

That’s the remains of a dead pigeon!

Discarded food containers burger boxes etc. had to be removed and Kirk Dixon who was doing the punditry for Radio Humberside had to get the Jay Cloths out before he could sit down!

Shocking and just look at the floor!

James Smailes Tweeted, “Is 2 minutes into the game the right time for the cleaners to be wiping down the press benches and cleaning up around my feet?”

So to the week past and that transfer news coming late in the day as it did last Tuesday, was a bit of a shock timing wise, but the content of it was less of a surprise as the two players we have brought on board have been widely rumoured to be signing anyway! I flagged up in here three weeks ago that powerhouse prop Mickey Paea was returning to the club and our confirming the signing of winger Bureta Faraimo was one which had been rumoured for ages on the message boards as well. Mickey’s return will be welcomed by both Adam and Lee who both always waxed lyrical about just what he brought to the Club off the field as a senior player and an ambassador for Hull FC as well, whilst I know our coaching staff really rated him as a player. He will be a great addition as long as he can keep injury free, which was probably his only shortcoming last time around.

Faraimo however is a bit of an unknown quantity and as such the USA international comes to us on a two-year contract, with something to prove and big boots to step into. The Parramatta Eels outside-back looked good playing for the Tomahawks in the 2013 World Cup and almost since the first day he became coach, Lee Radford has encouraged Motu Tony to pursue a player that Lee really rates. He is certainly an exciting proposition and his stats speak volumes for his yardage gained and tries scored. Let’s hope that he can fill that spot left by Fonua, who will none the less be a really hard act to follow! Lee said last week of the signings, “They’re two quality additions to our squad for next season and beyond. Mickey is someone who knows the squad really well and Bureta will add a lot too”. However, the signing of the latter was in the melting pot for a long time and was a case of ‘touch and go’ as far as the Club were concerned until very recently, because the number of first grade games he had played in the NRL certainly made him a tough proposition to get past the Visa regulations. Once that was done it was then just a chat Frank Pritchard about the Club and the fans that made Bureta’s mind up and Motu got his man.

Here’s a few Clips of our new signing!

I’m told that we have actually got as far as talking to Bureta on a few occasions in the past and we were in for him when we signed Mahe Fonua, but he ended up going to Parramatta. As Lee Radford said this week, “We’ve tried before to sign Bureta and I’m over the moon to have finally got him”. Let’s face it after what we have seen in the last two seasons as far as Lee’s recruitment is concerned, we simply have to trust his judgement on such things and hope that our new recruit equals his potential, while I for one welcome Micky back with open arms!

Last Friday before the game and at half time, I took time to chat to my pals about these two new arrivals at the Club and it was as interesting to hear their attitude towards our recruitment for 2018, as it was to hear their views on the individual players that were actually involved. Fans were split in their views of the players, with Paea seen as a good signing of a very professional player and a thoroughly good bloke who, providing he steers clear of injury, will be a step forward. On the other hand, they thought that Bureta was exciting, but largely unproven and most likened what we knew about him to where we all were when Fonua arrived. However as far as the volume of recruitment is concerned most if not all those I spoke to were in harmony with each other.

That surprised me a bit I guess because whenever we were recruiting for the next campaign back in 2013,14 and 15 and perhaps for years before then, fans wanted more and bigger signings and were never, it appeared, totally satisfied with what we ended up with. “We could just do with..”, or we are still weak in the…” was the usual mantra, on the terraces (and indeed in here) when the club announced that their recruitment was finished for the next season. Now, going well with a settled team, the fans seem to have changed their rationale and everyone I spoke to felt that those two additions, plus the fact that Ellis could well be staying and Hadley certainly will be, would do us for 2018.

The only fly in the ointment was a few lamenting the loss of Michaels who everyone now seems to think, as I do, will be off! How things have changed eh? It seems that all the hard work and gradual development that we have made to the current squad is now accepted to have worked and with young players coming through, Paea, Ellis, Manu and Mini offering sage like experience and leadership at the top end of things and Watts, Taylor, Shaul, Sneyd, Houghton, Bowden and Green etc. all on long term deals, plus Lee Radford settled as Coach, all is looking pretty good for 2018. We certainly have at the Club, at present, that very unusual scenario where we possess a squad and coaching team that feel like Hull FC is home for them and indeed who we feel at home with too.

Based on what I told you previously in here, I still expect Lee to strengthen his coaching staff at the end of the season and no doubt the club will continue to evolve in the back office on the administrative side of things, (Adam has a history of tinkering with great effect there) but otherwise that’s it I think and as long as injuries come and go and don’t reach crisis levels, I can see the club continuing to go from strength to strength, because we have a squad now that includes several players who still have to reach their full potential. As the owner Adam considers exactly what he does about the loss of Motu it will be an interesting one to watch, but it’s the sort of situation that Pearson deals with through shrewd reorganisation, although Tony’s contacts ‘Down Under’ have proved to bear some outstanding signings and he will be hard to replace. James Clark has settled well into the Chief Executives role and his appointment seems to have already borne fruit on several fronts including the exciting ‘Aussie Adventure’ which he has worked on for months.

That just leaves Adam himself, who seems to me to be completely happy with his position and no doubt the injection of cash Wembley will once again bring, will help him balance the books and produce another profit. Football will still be a lure for him, but I think he enjoys the honesty of rugby league when compared with the round ball game, plus I expect he revels in all the intrigue that goes on in the game at the top level where he is proving to be a pretty ‘level head’ amongst the owners; his great relationship with the Wigan owner being point of fact! He gets the ‘Hull family’ and local rivalry stuff and understands the game itself well now too, plus of course his two girls are as big a fans as you will find and they love the game.

We really do need him to stay, because he is proving to be a great and very shrewd owner. I’m absolutely sure he will and although you never quite know what’s around the corner in sport, all seems set fair for the next few years and when you look back to the Agar and Peter Gentle era’s we all have to admit how things have changed and what a fine job Adam has done since he took the helm! At present, when you look at the predicament other clubs like Swinton find themselves in, then as a set of supporters we are very lucky indeed.

However, if one thing still concerns me I guess it is the position of the Joint Academy, which was to be the first of several such ventures across the game. No others have as yet been forthcoming though and with the Castleford Tigers academy announcing on Friday that they have given scholarships to 8 of the top youngsters from this area, I am, to be honest, still a bit baffled by it all.

Now just a quick observation after (on Thursday) I watched the Cas. v Saints game on Sky, because I feel I need to say that the commentary team do leave a lot to be desired for a flagship Satellite broadcaster. But you all know that anyway don’t you? In addition to some baffling interpretations of the rules from Stuart Cummings and Phil Clarks usual procrastinations, it was the senior commentator not doing his home-work that got to me the most! Within the first fifteen minutes Eddie Hemmings had said, “Here comes John Wilkins top tackler in the Super League” while at that time that accolade was held by Danny Houghton, before he then added, “Saints sitting fourth in Super league” and they were in fact sitting 6th at that point in the game! Finally, later as a player got a real whack on the back of his shoulder he said “Was that his Sternum?”. It was quite shocking really and such a slap dash approach to broadcasting by a group who have obviously not done their homework. No doubt you can cite many more such occurrences but I’ll move on!

You know, I was thinking this week that the task that faces us at Wembley is a stern one, tough than last years and perhaps one that tests or fortitude and commitment to the full. I guess I say that because in the end it’s so much harder to be ‘hungry’ and ‘desperate’ when you’re already holding the trophy, and perhaps it’s when you ain’t in that position, like last year, that the desire to succeed and will to win is at its height! It will be interesting to see how we approach the final won’t it? However, one things for sure and that is that as fans, we’ll all be trying to do our bit and this week I realised just what lengths people will go to in their quest to try and help the cause be it practically, financially or as in this case, through us perpetuating the idiosyncrasy’s and traditions that we feel have helped the Club we love; however bizarre they are!

Long term fan Ian Middleton came around to our place on Tuesday to buy a book and get it signed before he went back to work off shore this weekend and he was telling me a great story that just perpetuated the myth regarding Wembley traditions and superstitions. We got talking about all that ‘lucky omens’ stuff and I waxed lyrical as usual about lucky scarves, conkers, underpants and even the person sat next to me having to be just right, but he was able to beat all that!

He told me that in both 2005 and 2016 when we won the Cup, he was at work on the high seas and not able to attend the final. This year sadly, he will be away on holiday abroad and so can’t make Wembley again, but he will be doing his bit just the same. Between 3-00 and 5-00 that afternoon, he won’t be in the bar, in the hotel, on the beach or even in front of the telly, because to perpetuate the tradition that he has always been at sea when we secured the trophy, he will, while the game is going on, be ‘off shore’ again, this time he said, on a pedalo! It’s hard to imagine that despite all the rigours, stress and anxiety that watching a Wembley final brings, my mind won’t at some point go to Ian, sat there ‘off shore’ again waiting for an hour and a half to pass! Great stuff mate and good to meet you this week!

Let me know of your superstitions and rituals, however ridiculous they are and I’ll reveal all in here in the next two weeks as we build up to the big day.

Over my 58 years of watching Hull FC, the game has produced some great British Coaches who have moved up from the playing ranks to shine at the helm of British Rugby League Clubs. Foreign Coaches were a rarity for my early years, but even in the Super League era, dominated as it has been by overseas coaches, we have still brought through some good ones; look at Brian Noble, for example. However, things have changed a lot of late and this is now, without doubt, the age of the British Coach because as you looked at the Super League table going into the Super 8s, the top five sides were all coached by Englishmen. What’s more only two of that five were old hands and the rest were all relatively new to Coaching and not that old either. Ok Daryl Powell (Castleford) has 12 seasons under his belt and in second place the Leeds coach, Brian McDermott has been around for 12 seasons as head coach too.

However, then there is our own Lee Radford with 4 seasons in charge, Ian Watson with three and Chris Chester with 4. Age wise Radford and Chester are just 38 years of age, Watson is only two years their senior at 40, whilst McDermott is 47 which, in coaching terms, is still fairly young. Powell is the oldest at 52 but it is only in recent years that he has come through to be accepted as a successful coach.

Shaun Wane, supremo of the reigning champions, is 53 and also a late developing British coach and when you look closely only two of the top eight are coached by non-Englishmen: St Helens and Huddersfield.

So with so many English Coaches doing so well in our domestic competition its getting to the point were the southern hemisphere boys don’t get a look in. Of course that makes no difference to the Rugby League because with all that young British talent in this country who are plying their trade and doing well, they appoint an aging Aussie, with a full time Coaching job Down Under, as our National Coach!! Why should we not be surprised?

My piece last week on conspiracy theories in Rugby League certainly got a few talking and thanks for all the comments you sent me, however it’s a subject that just seems to go on and on! Take this week for instance and continuing the ‘RL will do anything to get Rovers back up’, tack following them being scheduled with three of the first four games against Championship teams, who do you think was the match commissioner and final arbiter in any refereeing disputes at the Rovers Halifax game? Well one reader wrote to say, “Yep, you guessed it, it’s Mr. Barry Lilley JP. A past chairman of one of the participating teams”. The RL simply don’t think do they…. or do they????? You simply couldn’t make it up could you?

So to Codgers Corner and as its Saints away this week, I thought I’d hunt out a great game over there in which we had been victorious. There have been a lot over the years but as a change here this week, I’ll feature an extract from ‘2016 The Year of the Airlie bird’ and feature that wonderful league win there last season, which I hope brings back some great and more recent than usual, memories!

“……It was another Friday and another game in Lancashire and so, as usual, I set off early to see what the M62 could throw at me on a drizzly dank afternoon.

The trek over to Lancashire was anything but easy. It was rammed on the motorway around Leeds and stop, start all the way from Bradford to the M60 junction east of Manchester. I left at 2-00pm but didn’t arrive in St Helens until around 5-30pm and sat there in the traffic for long periods, it was at times pretty obvious to me who the ‘April Fools’ were that afternoon!

As I walked towards the impressive new Stadium, surrounded by what seemed to be hundreds of Saints fans, I ruminated on what an impressive layout of walkways and bridges there were leading from the town centre to Langtree Park and indeed how the Tesco’s Superstore that you pass on the way is probably the biggest ‘that Mr Tesco has built.

By kick off time, the away end was bouncing with over 1200 FC supporters creating a brilliant atmosphere. Then to add to all that about 200 rather ‘juiced up’ fans took up position at the back of the stand to lead the singing. Even before we started their chanting drowned out any efforts the home fans could muster and some of the stuff was at times pretty inventive too. I was up there on the standing terracing just in front of the ‘glee club’ and loving every minute of it. However, after two pretty incredible Easter victories I was still nervous about the possibility of a repeat of what we saw after our last ‘purple patch’ which you’ll remember followed the Catalan game away, when firstly Castleford and Wigan and then Widnes really found us out!

However, things didn’t start too well at all, as the home side opened their account after only three minutes when Fages dabbed a grubber in-behind the Hull defence and second-rower Joe Greenwood got to the ball before Stevie Michaels, to score. Luke Walsh converted to put Saints 6-0 ahead. But, we plugged away and eventually retaliated when Danny Houghton claimed his second try of the season. Sneyd played a clever grubber off the post and into the path of our hooker who touched down before Sneyd added the two points to level the scores.

Then not long after that, as the large St Helens crowd warmed to their team’s efforts, the hosts restored their lead when Walsh’s high bomb was allowed to bounce by Jamie Shaul and fell into the path of Jordan Turner. The former Hull man passed behind to Fages who found Matty Dawson in acres of ‘scoring’ space on the left edge and to compound our misery Jack Owens ‘slotted’ over the conversion from out wide to put Saints 12-6 in front.
That lead was extended when the home side moved the ball swiftly right, close to Hull’s try-line and Turner crashed over on 32 minutes after which it started to look as if we were about to witness a drubbing and that our worst fears would be realised. We battled on and our new found never say die spirit led to the FC combining brilliantly on the left edge for our second try of the evening which coming as it did just before the break got us right back in the game. For this score Pritchard found Jamie Shaul ‘out the back’ who passed wide to Naughton and the stand in winger, who’d scored a hat-trick against Saints at Langtree Park the previous season, waltzed his way past Owens on the touch-line to score. As the clock ticked down to half time the home side had the chance to get two more points following a high tackle by Hull’s Jordan Thompson, but a seemingly simple kick was pulled wide by Owens, to leave the home side just six points ahead at the interval.

After the re-start and with the score 16-10, Hull applied some early pressure as Sneyd’s dangerous field kicking continued to torment the Saints, while Gareth Ellis’ brutal defence halted them in their tracks to deny any more chances to score. Our Captain was really standing out as he made 3 and 4 tackles in every set and he was, without doubt, having his best ever game for the Hull side. All his efforts finally paid off as we eventually levelled the scores just before the hour mark with a vintage Yeaman try. Naughton made an instinctive break and found Kirk, who was playing his 349th game for Hull FC. Yeamo beat a man, scurried towards the line and somehow stretched out to score; it was at first sight a try which made it look like our centre had an ‘extending arm’ as he reached out under tremendous pressure to touch down! What a relief that was for the FC fans and all around me the Hull end was absolutely bouncing and with 20 minutes remaining Sneyd’s conversion brought the scores back level at 16-16.

Yeamo scores and the boys celebrate!

From then on it was all about the defences and some great tackling again from Ellis and Taylor kept Saints at bay, although it took a massive four man tackle to stop Dawson on the line. Houghton was absolutely everywhere harrying and tackling everything in sight, but we were next to squander a chance as Sneyd nearly scored a miracle try from 50 meters out. The half-back collected an offload from Pritchard before chipping the ball over the top, but with the whitewash beckoning, he couldn’t gather it in and the chance was lost.

Then as the tension was cranked up another notch and we squirmed and fidgeted on the terraces, with just eight minutes remaining Scott Taylor pulled off a heroic last-ditch tackle on Fages. Saints next looked to nudge themselves ahead with a drop-goal but another fantastic effort from Houghton to block the kick made Fages slice his effort wide with just 6 minutes to go. Then, in a move that for all of us behind the posts at the away end seemed to go into slow motion, from 45 yards Sneyd aimed to drop a goal and as the ball hung and hung in the air it finally went over and we all went banana’s. As the ball eventually found its way between the posts it was as if the visiting supporters in holding their breath, had somehow sucked it over the bar. That effort gave Hull FC the lead for the first time in the game and took Sneyd’s drop-goal total to eight for the Club, which was two more than any other Hull player in the Super League era. Despite a couple of late scares, we hung on again and the hooter sounded for the celebrations to begin.

What a night!

The relief was palpable and after a real party on both the field and the terraces the team eventually started to leave and head towards the tunnel, before a chorus of ‘Old Faithful’ from the 1200 FC fans who had all stayed to the very end, brought them back. Then, stood in a line in front of us all, they, to a man, sang along with the supporters who had throughout the game completely out sung the home crowd. Houghton led the singing, Shaul gave his boots to an amazed 10-year-old lad called Finley Cheeseman in the crowd, while ‘Big Frank’ Pritchard doing a good impersonation of John Barbirolli on the Last Night of the Proms, conducted the masses in front of him. It had been a great night, a great win and a great and memorable occasion for us all…….”.

So, let’s hope for more of the same next Friday eh? Although I suspect it will be a big ask myself especially against a Saints outfit that are probably the form team of the competition at the present time, but nothings impossible for this FC side and as always for us all ‘hope springs eternal’!

We will however just have to wait and see what Friday brings because in the end, as I said in starting this week’s Diary, winning our remaining three home games is my biggest priority at present! One things for certain, it will be a long haul coming home and let’s just hope that the motorway’s clear this time around. Thanks to everyone who has contributed this week and to all those who contacted me, continued to buy the books or just said hello last Friday at the KCOM. Thanks too for sticking with another Diary, I do my best and really do appreciate your support, comments and feedback!

Keep Believing

Faithfully Yours