The Dentist’s Diary – 553rd

THAT WAS ALWAYS GOING TO BE TOUGH!

Thursdays was a horrible game and it’s hard to describe it as anything else really! Our lads did their best and in the end it was a lot better than many of us expected, but we were beaten not so much by the expected lack of energy but by bad luck, the bounce of the ball, having to force the play a bit late on and some baffling decisions and omissions by the officials …. again!

However, although we lost, I’m still smiling and furthermore I’m pretty confident that after that glorious day at Wembley, I will be grinning my way to the end of the season, whatever happens. I watched the Final again on Saturday afternoon in sort of real time – 7 days on, (we won again) and who knows I’ll probably do the same next Saturday as well!

But, that’s just me and talking this week to a lot of fans it appears that their feelings about the rest of the season are split pretty definitely along ‘age’ lines. The younger fans are by and large with the Coach and owner in wanting a Grand Final finish at all costs, with for some, only us winning the Super League Trophy being seen to make it a successful season. Conversely, many of us older members of the Hull FC community, although happy to enjoy whatever else comes our way, have already got what we wanted, because that famous old Challenge Cup is back in the cupboard again, we have been blessed to see history made and anything else that transpires now, will be a very welcome bonus.

Winning the Grand Final would be brilliant, although I think the possibility of that is fading a bit myself, but if you ask Adam where we are overall at present, he would admit to us probably still being a couple of years away from being where Leeds or Wigan are as Clubs, but to win back to back Cup Finals must give us a massive boost on that road to the top of the game.

Leeds was always going to be a big ask and in the end we put up a valiant and gutsy performance under difficult circumstances in a match, the result of which probably hinged on that Ellis sin binning and no action being taken against Burrows for a blatant head butt on Jake Connor.

Still we played well, gave it a real go, scored some good tries and could even have won it at the end. It gone now and there is little we can do about it, but even if you’re in the ‘Grand Final or bust’ camp, don’t despair, because we live to fight another day next Friday! But we do it in a game that will I’m afraid, be a very tough proposition indeed!

Of course last weeks was a game that shouldn’t have been played on the Thursday after Wembley at all. It was a total mismatch in many ways, because it pitted a team that had played in a massive final against one that had put its feet up for almost two weeks and for me, when there were other matches to televise, that just wasn’t fair. However, the RL made it perfectly clear to our Club when they complained, that Sky TV decides ‘who plays when’ in the televised games. I’ve noted too that their commentary team also regard the Challenge Cup as being much less important than their precious Super League and play it down whenever they can, simply, I think, because they don’t broadcast it! The fixture wasn’t a recent decision either because even before the first semi was played, either Leeds or Hull were going to have to play just 5 days after the biggest cup final in the game. However, I guess as is the case with all sports these days, TV rule the roost and the fans, the clubs and ‘what’s fair’ are a long way down the pecking order.

As a quick aside on that subject, it’s interesting to note that whilst gates fall year on year in the NRL, they are now talking about scheduling a regular 2018 Friday night game for 6pm, a time that they know full well will ensure that most of the genuine fans, that the game had relied on so much over the years, cannot attend. That’s OK though; the NRL gets 2 billion dollars in television rights from Channel Nine and Fox Sports. These days all their games are broadcast and again the competition is being geared for the TV companies and their armchair viewers, rather than the attending fans. In Australia, it was said this week, the game is being ‘prostituted to the media’ but is that the way that British Rugby League is going? Well it could well be because the only big money in sport these days comes from broadcast rights.

Still we can do little about that and so back to last Thursday when we fronted up well in a strange looking Headingley which saw, to the right of the Hull fans, a South Stand standing empty, ghost like and silent, as it’s demolition began. From the off, it was always going to be hard match and an extremely ‘big ask’ for our Wembley heroes. In fact, if we were to get anywhere near beating a home side, who had been sat with their feet up all last weekend whilst we got battered at the national stadium, we needed a good start and a share of the breaks. However, by and large we got the ‘rough end’ of both those requirements.

In fact, in the first 40 minutes, we got nowt! It started badly for us but we battled on and fought back to make much more of a game of it than many pundits thought it was possible for us to do. The first half started with a really lucky Leeds try and finished with another that looked like the player had lost the ball over the line as he put it down, it saw Ellis sin binned for a dubious misdemeanour and then on the half time hooter, Talanoa received what appeared at first viewing to be a game, and perhaps season, ending injury. In that half we fought valiantly and looked nothing like a team that was fatigued after having played the biggest game in the British RL calendar just 5 days earlier.

Despite our pack spending long minutes on the back foot and Leeds spending most of the first 40 minutes in our half, we scored two really good tries and battled tenaciously. Sneyd did his best behind what was at times a flagging pack and Kelly tried hard to get things going. Shaul was made to pay for a bad dropped ball after a high kick as towards the 40-minute mark we looked rattled and ragged and Washy and a couple of others took the opportunity to put more pressure on ourselves by exchanging punches with a niggling and at times cynical Leeds defence. We managed OK energy wise, whilst exchanging sets of six with the opposition, but when Leeds were presented with a second set, often in controversial circumstances, it was visibly draining some of our lads.


He’ll be in trouble with the disciplinary panel I think!

At half time the Hull fans were a tad disappointed that we were behind after such a valiant effort, but we were not disheartened and speaking to a lot of fans since, it’s apparent that it’s unlikely they will in fact be downhearted for the rest of the season, whatever happens.

After the break Kelly stepped it up as he put Washy through for a great repost, but as was the way of the game, we were hit with a try on the next set and then we gave a couple of bad penalties away to march the Rhino’s back down the field again. We never then actually took the lead, but we never gave up and Leeds certainly knew they had been in a game by the end. In fact, as Bowden grabbed a great try off a short ball from Sneyd, we pulled back to be trailing by just 6 points in the final quarter. But, as we tired we became a bit frustrated and started to struggle with our composure as the fatigue started to bite. Then from somewhere we found some energy again and went close to scoring as Taylor almost got over in front of the FC fans, before that late try sealed the game for the hosts and gave them a bigger winning margin than they deserved.

Performance wise I thought that Shaul had a good game and never stopped trying to break through the Leeds defence although a bad dropped ball in the first half didn’t help our cause, but he never stopped trying. On the wings Michaels tried really hard but could cop a ban for a bad strike in the first half, while I thought that Talanoa looked really good until that injury, which could be a big blow for our last three games. Centre wise Tumavive did OK until he was also injured and Fonua had another good game, bust a couple of tackles and laid on a fine try for Michaels. Whatever else anyone says about him, he’s a right handful for defences.

Albert Kelly was error free and had a great match in which he made 30 tackles in a selfless display that almost won us the game. Sneyd however, just pipped Albo for man of the match for me, simply because his kicking was superb, his organisational skills apparent again and on a couple of plays he showed his versatility as he actually ran the ball, a tactic that was instrumental in setting up Bowden’s try. When you sit back and watch him, the mans a genius!

Scott Taylor was aggressive from the off and obviously wanted to win badly. He scored a great try and with Bowden who was massive in the ‘driving on’ department he formed a great front row. Houghton in between the two props had a quieter game than usual, but he kept things moving from acting half and played his part. Manu was massive and drove us forward, while Ellis did his best and carried the ball in hard although he looked a tad knackered at the end. I worry a bit about Turgot though, as he shows so much promise, but seems to be struggling to kick on, however he worked hard despite being off the field for a while with a head knock.

On the bench Thompson drove the ball in too without shining, Washy showed a lot of power when he was introduced and really suckered Ryan Hall for his second half try, whilst Brad Fash worked really hard when he was on the field with another of his no frills performances. Finally, Jake Connor, winding all the Leeds players up with his antics, did everything he could to break down their defence which included a couple of really audacious moves that almost came off. He’s a real talent although he lost it a bit at times too, but then again who wouldn’t if they were on the end of that cynical, and unpunished head butt from old Mr Burrows?

So, in the end I guess it was a case of us battling and battling and never giving in, despite our energy and power ebbing away as the game progressed. The thing is of course, as I said earlier, had the game been played on a level playing field and had we had a week off as Leeds had, we would have won. I’m convinced of that! While Kelly, Connor and that man Sneyd are fit, we’ll always have a chance to perhaps surprise a few in the rest of the campaign, but it’s a time when we simply don’t need two big injuries and a player on report. However, we fought so hard and the way that our two times Lance Todd Trophy never stopped trying despite forcing it a bit towards the end, was pleasing to see. As you can tell and on a personal note, I’m enjoying watching Snnneeeeeeyyyd at the moment!


A great leader and a strange sin binning!

So it was a game that I never expected to win, but I was, none the less, pleasantly surprised in how well a battered and exhausted team came out of it. I was a proud FC fans as the final hooter went and although it was a loss and the end of our top two chances, it was a great effort from some very, very tired players. So I guess, all in all, we gave it a real go, our energy levels were, under the circumstances, brilliant and I think that we surprised a lot of people with the way we had recovered and the way that we took the game to the opposition. It was only really that last minute Matt Purcell try that settled the game and we came out of it all with a lot of credit. OK we did tend to panic a bit particularly at the end of sets as the energy began to run down, but we move on, the Challenge Cup is back in the cupboard and as I said earlier, this fan is still smiling!

After the game when I watched on Sky, I noted Brian McDermott’s rant about referee’s and the issues he perceived there were around the ruck area of the play the ball, which is without doubt a problem that is blighting the game at present. There then followed a real blasting on social media for the Leeds Coach about this, but I think myself that he has a point, although watching the game every week, its guys like him that are coaching all the messing about at the ruck in the first place.

All the, ‘one getting up at a time’, and the ‘laying on and watching the referee before releasing’ is practised off the field, as is the player in possession going down again to feign interference at the play the ball and the defending team standing yards off side in the line well before the game has restarted. If the rules were clear and the players cleaned up their act to roll away from the tackle and then the man with the ball didn’t try to gain unfair advantage by trying to get penalties, (as was the case with JJB putting the ball on top of Shaul and as happens just about every time Mahe Fonua gets up off the ground), it would be a better spectacle for everyone.

At least if such action is taken it would allow the players to get on with it, instead of us constantly seeing them trying to bend the rules to their own ends at every ruck. It just causes issues between the players and delays the game with the constant penalties and scrums it spawns. It also makes the game drag on and on, as was seen on Friday when the first half at Saints lasted only 5 minutes short of an hour! Rugby in both codes is a great game as a spectacle, but it is what happens after the tackle, at the maul in Union, or the play the ball in RL, that seems to cause the most problems. So good point Mr McDermott but a tad hypocritical as well!

That said the referee was at fault a time or two for both sides last Thursday, but how Ellis can get sin binned for what he did, and then Burrows is allowed to get away with that head butt is a disgrace really and shows a much bigger failing in the game, than just what is happening around the play the ball! That’s the sort of inconsistency that drives the fans mad and indeed sees some walking away from the game. It’s just not working at present and more and more people walk away from matches or indeed switch off the telly talking about referee’s rather than the tries and heroics that they have witnessed. Still will anything happen about it? Well. Somehow I doubt it don’t you?

So, let’s talk one particular player now and you know if anything has stood out in all the rhetoric that followed the Final, it is that when you actually examine in detail what the players and coaches said, we played a lot better against Wigan than we did 12 months earlier against Warrington, which has to be a big plus. However, bearing those comments in mind, it makes the constant pillorying of one certain player by a couple of pundits all the more annoying really. It’s pretty infuriating that the ‘on field master mind’ of that improvement, Marc Sneyd, has come in for so much stick and the fact that Marc was still earlier this year being maligned as a player in some quarters, is obviously something that festers a bit with FC coach and players alike. I can’t do much about what the national pundits say, but I would urge everyone reading this to support a bloke who will I think, in future years, be revered as much as some of the great old timers like Tommy Finn, Dave Topliss, Peter Sterling and ‘Bluey’ Mackie, if not, dare I say, more than them.

All those players were brilliant in very good FC teams and are now legends, but it’s still hard to image any of them, in the same circumstances, coming out with the man of the match in consecutive Finals, never mind with a 100% goal kicking record to boot (as it were). Even Sterlo who was the consummate magician in the half’s, didn’t kick goals and he didn’t stick around long enough to do the same as Marc anyway, even if he could.

Of course any such conjecture is I guess all pie in the sky and a matter of opinion anyway and although the game has changed a lot over the years the fact that none of those players was a goal kicking ‘points machine’ and certainly not one of such aplomb, proves that now we have the best of both worlds in our ranks. The fact that his accuracy with conversions and penalties is almost taken for granted on the terraces sees him, I think, being something of a hybrid of John Maloney the goal kicker and Dave Topliss/ Peter Sterling the half back.

Rosy memories, folk lore, legend and the mists of time play on our minds and are now of course on the side of all those other great halves. I know a lot will say you can’t compare ‘apples with pears’ but what I guess I’m trying to animate here is that some remember their best ever goal kicker in black and white, while some hark back to the best technician/organiser and others to their best ever field kicker in the halves, but at present at Hull FC we have a player that, with years of his Hull FC career in front of him, is in danger of being remembered as being the best in all those fields. There has certainly never been a more consistent goal kicker and that’s for sure.

My point is I guess, that although his presence in the team means that we don’t have memories of the best stuff to look back on, because its happening here and now, or as yet we don’t have the benefit of hindsight either, it’s hard to judge. Perhaps though, we have seen enough already to ensure that there is absolutely no excuse for anyone putting him down on the terraces or indeed in the media.

He’s going to miss goal kicks, he’s going to see his fourty/twenty attempts drop at the wrong side of the line, he’s going to drop the occasional ball and he’s going to carry injuries that restrict his performance. In additions there’s no doubt that from time to time he’ll look ineffective or have one of those games when he appears to be trying to force it a bit, because the forwards are not providing the right sort of platform from which he can utilise his skills. Like all great play-makers he need a little bit of time and space to work his magic.

The talk about him being much maligned by the pundits is mainly aimed at Mr Schofield who is his number one protagonist in the media, but come on guys we all know the ‘Big Gob’ in the pub who thinks that if you’re the loudest voice or the most controversial you’ll get noticed and being controversial has always been a well-used, if not ill conceived tool in the armoury of some less articulate pundits. I once met Garry the original ‘Judas’ over a sandwich at a Club Memorabilia Fair I was involved in at the KCOM and I took him to task about the attitude he had even back then, towards certain individuals, when he wrote in the press. He told me with great gusto that ‘I had to realise’ that being controversial was how he made his money and that he hoped that ‘people would never ever get to like it’.

I didn’t know at the time whether I was more amazed by his arrogance or by the fact that he thought that what he was doing was clever! Look at Gwilym on Radio Humberside, he was another guy who always seemed to thrive by winding everyone up and being as he put it ‘Devil’s Advocate’. However, although his posturing proved to be both controversial and irritating in the beginning, in the end that attitude saw the bloke lose a lot of his credibility as he became irksome, as like many such ‘Job’s comforters’ he seemed to take the contrary position on everything. His tactic of always being controversial has left him with little gravitas as far as the local fans are concerned and Schofield went that way too, big style, a long time ago.

It’s a ploy that, in the long term, simply doesn’t work. People years ago often used to use the put down, “Don’t be a Pratt all your life” but it seems Garry is ignoring such advice and managing to do just that. If a pundit is biased towards one team or one player then at least you know where you are and indeed where they stand, but when they just go against everyone else and take the contra position on everything, just for effect, it quickly just becomes irritating.

Winning the Lance Todd Trophy for the second successive year and therefore becoming the first man to ever be awarded it outright back-to-back, Marc’s actions went a long way to us winning that final and probably the one before that too, a fact that again underlined just how important he has become and indeed what an inspired signing he has been. Has ever £100,000 been better spent on a player in the Super League era? I very much doubt it myself! On both occasions he has provided both great field kicking and perfect goal kicking, which he combined with some excellent organisational and game management skills. If Gareth Ellis is quite rightly hailed as the catalyst around which our recent renaissance was initially built and Radford is the strategist and mastermind that has planned it all, then Marc Sneyd must be the guy who has in the most part animated and delivered it!

Yet still at the first opportunity Schofield and Co will be at him again, in an effort to ensure that although he continues to be extolled in the City of Hull he is largely overlooked outside it. For me, along with that horrible little man Luke Gale, he is the best in the British game, simple as, yet the International Coach sat thousands of miles away doesn’t see that at all.

Marc’s stock may not be high in the eyes of him, but on the terraces of the KCOM and in the dressing room he is held up as a real hero and at Wembley he provided as good a half back performance as you will probably ever see in the black and white. Thankfully he seems to flourish on the criticism and indeed tells anyone who will listen, that he thrives on it. As for us lot, well we should understand I guess that even the best half backs can appear useless behind a beaten or retreating pack and that we should be honoured to be watching a brilliant player who thankfully took no time at all to sign a new contract with us, when it was offered last year.


FC Legend material!

For me Schofield and Co know nowt and Marc has answered their taunts and criticism brilliantly as he lets his actions do the talking. He’s left them looking like Dicks and what’s more their ill-conceived rhetoric just to sell papers and keep them in a job is, I think, pretty pathetic!!!

Now talking about being critical. I have, over the years, been a bit of a critic of Chris Green myself, but he has certainly risen to the occasion in the big Cup games this year and at Wembley he had another great game. I was told when he signed his new contract that he was one of the most passionate local lads in the squad and that was born out this week when he said, “I was absolutely in awe of the Old Faithful’s turnout during an open-top bus parade around Hull yesterday and the balcony reception at Queen Victoria Square, Green reflected on the celebrations. It’s been special. To play for this great club means a lot to me and my family. I never thought the day would come when I had two Challenge Cup winner’s medals. It’s very pleasing.”

Lee has certainly put a lot of faith in Chris when some of us wondered a bit. Sadly, just after that great showing at Wembley, Green was struck down with appendicitis, which following what happened to Shaun Briscoe in 2005 seems to follow our winning the Challenge Cup around, so I wish him well in his recovery and I’m really look forward to Chris continuing to improve his game in the coming seasons.

Another player who had some interesting things to say after the Cup Final was Jake Connor. Unlike the majority of his team-mates who had experienced the open-top bus parade and the fans on the streets celebrating the victory back in 2016, Connor said he thought he knew what to expect, but he had no idea at all really of what was to come. He was apparently completely taken aback by witnessing it all for the first time. He said last week, “It was madness. There were people everywhere coming to watch us on the bus and on the balcony, they are the best fans in the league. I expected a good turnout at Wembley and it was the same in the middle of town. We won it for them”. It also transpired afterwards when we all studied the game for the fourth or fifth time, that it was in fact Connors quick thinking in coming into the front of the tackle that saved the line with Williams about to pounce and then his pressure on the same player contributed to him passing that ball forward. I’ve said in here a couple of times before that I’d give him a long contract and get him tied up, because for me he is really one for the future. Not bad for a bloke who likes a lot like a guy out of Emmerdale is it?

So, as the tinkering continues, Super League will revert to 7:45pm kick-off times next year, stepping away from what has become the conventional 8pm time-slot. This change has been something that has been whispered about in the corridors of power for ages, but it now looks like it’s going to happen in 2018. However as always it’s nothing if not a controversial move, although there is little doubt that all the newspaper guys struggling already to meet their deadlines will be pleased.

For those journalists, like that perpetual moaner Garry Carter from the Sun, at least they will have the assurance that they know that there will be less pressure on the staff before the papers go to print and we might even get a bit more coverage in the tabloids next morning. That’s the hope, at least. But don’t go holding you’re breathe!

Then of course there is the fact that a lot of Mums and Dads thinking about school next day after Thursday games will see a bit of daylight in the decision and grab the extra 15 minute with both hands and I guess we’ll get a bit more TV punditry and discussion after games which of late have often over run badly. However, in the end for me its people like my mates Ian and Sarah who I feel for. They have to work and often race out at 5-00pm, jump in the car in Hull City centre and literally ‘high tail it’ to Widnes, Wigan or Saints often arriving in their seats on or just after the kick off.

Fifteen minutes doesn’t sound like a lot I guess, but in their case it will be. I know it’s never a problem in football when evening games routinely kick-off at 7:45pm, but in a sport which already battles against an attendance slump on a near-weekly basis, it’s perhaps not ideal to throw another spanner into the works. I’m retired and as such I can set off at 3-00pm in the afternoon and it can still take up to 3 hours to get there. So for me that’s the real issue and I honestly think that it will be a problem for quite a few people. In my opinion, late finishes have nothing much to do with the kick off time but more with the pratting about that goes on during the game and the near 20-minute half-time break there is in Sky Games. On Friday the Saints v Wigan game kicked off at 8-00pm, but because of the buggering about that went on with stoppages, hold ups, video referees taking an age to see what we could all see by the second replay and a deal of unnecessary time-offs by the referee, it finished exactly at 8.55pm. What’s that all about? 15 minutes of wasted time that’s what it’s about! Perhaps, as someone said, we should have a ‘shot clock’ like they had in Australia for scrums, drop outs and indeed perhaps it should be use to time the video referee as well! Watching at home we see the replay once or twice and then 95% of the time call it right, whilst they just go over it and over it until the whole thing is just a mess. Just of course my thoughts!

Incidentally, the announcement that this earlier start might be on the cards came as the RL declared that the Super 8’s would continue in their present format for the 2018 season, with a continuing review of what would happen in 2019. So no change next year then? Well let me tell you this and it comes from the highest possible source there is, 2018 will be the last year of the present format, unless, fettered by a promise to Sky TV that the Clubs knew nothing about, the RL can persuade a host of Clubs otherwise. Which I’m told incidentally, is very unlikely.

John Bowen stopped me in Beverley Market place as I was on route to the pub on Friday tea time and asked me to feature a game in the Diary that he remembered from Odsal Stadium in the mid-nineties. It was his birthday that day (Sunday 4th April 1994) and he remembers he and his mates went for a Curry afterwards in Bradford. It’s funny what you remember isn’t it so here for John is the game in question courtesy of ‘’Roamin the Range Together Book Two.

“ ….Hull FC’s were poor away from home that year although travelling out of a sense of duty rather than anything else, I had managed to see most of our away games. That April just 4,641 attended at Odsal Stadium, of which around 1000 were from Hull. However, as the usual poor atmosphere was reduced to no atmosphere at all it was like playing in a Cathedral, and a pretty draughty one at that.

That afternoon Pete Lavine and I drove over to Bradford for a game we certainly did not expect to win. Our ‘away day blues’ was a worry and a draw at Leeds and wins at Swinton and Salford were all we had to show from 12 away games, while Bradford had only lost twice at home all season and sat proudly on top of the League.

That day as we stood as a beleaguered group of ‘FC pilgrims’ on the North End Terracing, as a storm force ‘South Westerly’ blew round the bowl in a clockwise direction and straight into our faces. With the ferocity of the wind it was always going to be ‘a game of two halves’ and having won the toss Bradford decided to play into the wind in the first half. Almost immediately a brilliant one on one tackle by Hull prop Mark Jones was mysteriously penalised, and as Bradford quickly tapped the ball Greenwood put Cordle in at the Corner. When eventually we got into the Bradford half our first attacking move of the game saw Dixon and Busby exchanging passes and Rob Wilson crashing over near the posts. However, Bradford’s Deryck Fox then slotted a perfect grubber kick through our right side which held up well in the wind and Cordle again beat the retreating Eastwood to the touchdown. Fox failed again with the conversion but against the wind the home team held an impressive 8-6 lead after just 18 minutes.

From that point onwards however the first half was all FC. Paul Sterling snapped up a sloppy David Heron pass to completely outpace the cover and score a brilliant try which Eastwood converted, and then Divet popped out a pass to Richard Gay who plucked it out of the air and shot in wide out.

Then Northern’s Paul Grayshon knocked on and as the Bradford players set themselves to form a scrum, referee Mr Connolly waved play on, Divet picked up the loose ball, ran wide, drew centre Karl Hall and then found Sterling who flew in again at the corner for Eastwood to again convert and then a sweeping move between Divet, Doyle and Hewitt left the Northern defence mesmerised, before substitute Nolan took a pass to score in the corner. Eastwood missed the conversion but in blustery conditions we led 28-8 at the half way point.

Of course, as has always been the case with Hull FC you’re never ‘home and dry’ until the final whistle and as if scripted, just when we needed to keep our line intact at the start of the second half Bradford’s Cordle scored again. Luckily Fox was still having trouble mastering the wind and he missed the conversion, something he was thankfully to repeat throughout the rest of the afternoon. We needed a response and we got one when Hewitt hung a kick in the wind, which completely confused Summers, allowing James Grant to gather it and score. Eastwood again converted the try.

For the rest of the half Hull were under constant pressure. Newlove again got free and put the stretching Trevor Clarke in, despite a brilliant attempt at a tackle from the retreating Grant. To the cheers of an increasingly agitated FC contingent huddled on the terraces, Fox missed the kick again but with just five minutes to go another precision grubber kick from Fox saw Eastwood slip as he turned and Cordle pounced for his fourth try, only for Fox to miss again, but it was 20-32. A minute later Hall scored for Northern and Fox missed again! As the wind howled around us we all knew there was more to come and in the fourth minute of injury time Fox kicked again, the ball bounced, shot up in the air and straight over Full Back Gay’s head, for Hall to score.

Thankfully the hooter went as Hall celebrated, and with just 4 points separating the teams, with the final kick of the match, Fox got his first conversion of the afternoon, and we’d won…. just…32-30.

That day we got in the wrong lane at a roundabout on the way home and ended up driving towards Leeds on the A647, when we saw a great sign on some gates that had us laughing for years afterwards. We would often take a detour that way, just to show ‘newcomers’ a board that read ‘Singh and Sons Builders, You’ve tried the Cowboys now try the Indians’. Great memories eh?

Well we lost at Leeds but, did many of you expect us to win? Because I certainly didn’t! It’s still been a great couple of weeks for every Hull FC supporter with that Wembley win and the superb weekend we all had, plus of course the home coming, which is all still I’m sure, burning bright in your memory. I’m sorry to go on a bit this week about everything, but for me Rugby League is something I love, but a game that is in this country at least, as far as I’m concerned, being ruined by the administrators and the broadcasters.

But, despite their best efforts we still support what is a great game and we should count ourselves lucky to support a team like Hull FC, who have won the games top trophy back to back for the first time in their 152-year history. However, for all that, I was thinking the other day that even the best sport of all has its surreal moments and so I pondered on the fact that last weekend 25,000 passionate people stood in the national stadium singing (with all their might) an 82-year song that was written by a cowboy about his horse! It’s a funny old world isn’t it?

Friday will be a big game and in the contest of the League a winner takes all encounter against probably the form team in the League over the past few weeks, but we’ll want it, badly, and so as fans we can at least approach the game with some hope!

For me, well. it’s still hard to believe just what we have actually done, but those recent good times will make for great memories further down the road!!! Good luck to Joe in his new job and my appreciation goes to everyone who contacted me this week. Moreover, thanks too for sticking with a bit of a bitchy old Diary this week!
See You all on Friday!
Keep Believing!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf
And Finally …….