The Dentist’s Diary – 571st

“I’m really pleased with the effort. There were some outstanding individual performance’s today. I love the initiative by the two clubs. I’ve loved the experience and I really hope it can happen again. I’m obviously disappointed with the result but all in all, it’s been a great trip so far”, so said Lee Radford after the game and few can argue with that really, for playing through such adversity in such temperatures is tough!! And here’s a message for all of you Hull FC supporters reading this and still basking in the sunshine in ‘The Gong’; we might have been beaten but at least you can take some comfort from the fact that it’s been bloody freezing in Beverley!!!

It’s not often that I start these diatribes with an assertion that injuries in a game cost us dearly. Perhaps we are well conditioned these days, perhaps our injury management is good, perhaps we are just lucky, or maybe, usually, I don’t rate such excuses that much, but in the end on Saturday that scenario was indeed the case. In a game that, when you look back at it, we could still have won had we had a bit of luck and retained the ball better, we were hit by injuries big time.

As for the match itself, well, after going all that way surrounded by all that hype, it all came down to a game of rugby and someone in the end was going to lose, exhibition games are one thing, but when two Super League points are at stake it’s completely another. We lost and in the end, as our energy ebbed away, Wigan easily prevailed, but with a fair wind we could have undoubtedly got something out of it.

But the most positive aspect of it all is that around 12,400 were in attendance and taking Super League to Wollongong had therefore been a success. What an amazing turn out of FC fans we have seen in Australia, with the Faithful outnumbering the Pies fans by at least 3 to 1. We have well over 2000 out there supporting the lads and it’s another great example of the loyalty and passion of so many, some of whom will no doubt have made huge sacrifices to get there in the first place.

It’s just a pity they weren’t all better rewarded. Incidentally, it’s also interesting to note that the attendance was actually better than any game between the two clubs in the 2017 regular season, so well done to both Clubs and the New South Wales Tourist Board for getting that many people there.

It’s been great to see all the pictures of all our fans on social media and I’m sure like me, those of you who didn’t travel will have had a few pangs of regret when you’ve see the weather and all your pals out there with smiling faces. Fact is though, one day we were going to get a shed load of injuries and the bad luck that brings; it’s just a pity it had to be on such a big stage.

The team we selected was certainly a strong one and although a foot infection was tough on Masi, to have Watts back in harness was a big plus and otherwise it was just about as good a team as it gets. But you can’t legislate for injuries once the game has started can you?

As the game kicked off in around 25 degrees, it was a glorious setting for a game of rugby and there is little doubt the facilities and Stadia out there leave nothing to chance and everything is absolutely first class. It had all started so well in the sub-continent last week and I thought to myself that if ever there was an early indication of that Aussie professionalism, then it when the Hull team were straight off the plane and into a massive portable cryo-chamber, the size of a double decker luxury coach!!

The fans are OK!!!

But after all the meet and greets, the Civic Receptions and the prawn peeling competitions, the game was without doubt a disappointment. We produced a great rolling first set which took us down field with power and thrust so much so that we really looked ‘at it’, then Faraimo gets concussion, followed quickly by Marshall flying down that same wing to score two quick tries that saw our defence all over the place and that was effectively that! Then of course, Houghton copped one as well and it all got scrappy. We tried hard to regroup and get some composure back on the right hand side of the line but it looked hopeless at times as back home in Beverley for the first time in years I contemplated watching from behind the sofa. It looked like the game was up, but our tenacity and adaptability got us two try’s back and I was really impressed with Griffin in that second twenty minutes. He looks superb in the left centre.

In that first half our forwards fought hard to grab the initiative and Taylor, Manu and Mini were really strong, but mistakes from both sides with a slippery ball caused a bit of a stop/start game and that I guess, looking back, actually stopped both teams getting any sort of real rhythm into things. But with Mini and Mint out injured and us short on one wing we were down to one interchange and in that heat it was then only a matter of time really.

Somehow however, we were just two points down at half time, which under the circumstances was pretty unbelievable, Mini returned to play a big part in the second half and ‘back to back’ sets in their half with 12 minutes to go, should have brought some reward, but instead Hadley spilled the ball, our energy levels were severely tested and you felt then any chance we had to come back into it was gone. However, there is no taking away the effort everyone put in and I thought that the same Hadley had a good game after having to take over at acting half from Danny Houghton. For such a big guy, he shows great presence in that position

As our energy ebbed away it went from a high intensity performance to a shambles at times, but although there were still some big efforts from a few Hull players others, like Sneyd and Watts, (who was injured again but played on), failed to impress me much on this occasion. That’s maybe a bit harsh, but for me in the first half Albo, perhaps conscious of the fact that he was in the shop window a bit, seemed to be hogging the possession and Sneyd was starved of the ball. That said, when he did get his hands on it Sneyd, usually the big game player, was for me a bit disappointing. Their half backs out played our two, for whom it was always going to be tough going anyway, when you consider the disorganised play that was going on around and in front of them.

The FC fans in full voice!

There were some real big efforts however, especially from Manu, who was perhaps my man of the match, Mini who, as I said, over-came what looked like a bad ankle knock to have a good second half and Taylor who never stopped trying and looked to lead from the front after Houghton had gone off. However, I was disappointed with Bowden and as for Mickey Paea, well, after a great return to the team last week, he dropped far too much ball for my liking. Luckily for us, ball retention was a challenge for both sides in such humid conditions and proved a good leveller.

At times as the action unfolded it was certainly a case of me hoping against hope that the game was more of a spectacle for those folks out there than it was for us at home, but boy, did we as a team put some effort in. Some of it as I said was misplaced but the industry and determination cannot be faulted at all. Still, in the cold light of Sunday morning as I write this, it maybe just shows us all as well, just how much we miss Houghton in such circumstances. We simply lacked direction going forward for a lot of the time, which after ‘Mint’ had left the field, certainly aided the opposition.

So, I was disappointed and suffered from a feeling of real anti-climax afterwards. I guess I have to admit too that for a few hours I was glad I hadn’t gone over there. That certainly wasn’t sour grapes or anything like that, far from it. However, despite the fact that since Wembley 2016 I’m so much more relaxed and chilled about everything and indeed can cope with defeat reasonably well, the manner of that reversal, with the injuries and the lack of any sort of luck going our way, meant I would have found that hard to take, particularly if I had travelled 10,000 miles to see it.

Should we be surprised? Well not so far as our history is by and large littered with such calamity’s in big games and on big stages. We’ve just recently got used to winning these matches, so I guess this one was a real blast from the past as well!

As I said our luck was out for most of the match, however for once the officiating was I though pretty good, even when the referee made mistakes, like Manu’s ‘Knock on’, he certainly looked a bloke who took no rubbish and was in charge at all times, that engendered a deal of respect from all the players and its easy to see why he’s the best they’ve got in the NRL.

However many are now asking, was it a financial success for us? Well it was according to an article in the Sportsman on Saturday which said and I quote:

“By any measure, the decision to take a competition game down under has been success. Reports state that the two clubs will walk away with £500,000 each from the tour, a figure that can’t be sneezed at. The whole journey has been bankrolled by the NSW Government and NSW Tourism. It is believed nearly 5000 English fans made the trip down under for this game, and the matches with Souths and the Dragons a week later in Sydney”.

However, the level of casualties after the game is really worrying. Connor has a PCL knee injury and will no doubt be out for a while, whilst Danny Houghton and Wattsy have muscle tears and will be doubtful at best for Castleford. You could see by Danny’s face on the bench that he knew it was a bad one. As for Mini well it’s a case of wait and see I guess.

My major concern with these two games ‘Down Under’ was the energy it took out of us and the fear of any injuries rolling over into our return to this country. I feel we need to field a scratch team next week and protect our assets for the Super League games to come myself. Who is to say we wouldn’t have sustained those injuries had we been playing the game in Lancashire, for one day it was going to happen, however now in what is little more than an exhibition game this weekend, some have to be rested and nursed through their knocks for the Castleford match. Indeed, if we have to send for some re-enforcements, then let’s do that rather than risk any of our best players who might be carrying knocks.

The fact is of course, we’ll just have to wait and see, but these casualties, because of the players that have sustained them, could, for me, cast a whole new complexion on the forthcoming games in Super League. I really do hope that they don’t!!

Well, the future of Albert Kelly at the Club after this season seems to have perhaps already been decided, as, this week, he continues to drop hints that there is a strong possibility that he’ll be plying his trade in the NRL next year. I guess it’s to be expected and his continued suggestions about his family reminding him that 4 years away from home is a long time, seem to see the likeable half-back preparing us all for the worst. It’s completely understandable I guess, but still hard to take.

Last week in Australia he said, “We are making history and it’s a good opportunity for everyone to put themselves out there”, which speaks for itself really. That’s code for ‘Out there’ to represent the British game with pride for some and just ‘in the shop window’ for others, I guess. I want him to stay I really do, but who can blame him chasing the money and the NRL adulation, when our game is stagnant in this country. There is little doubt that the lack of new money coming into the game is shackling the Club owners when it comes to comparative wages and salary cap limits. We are always going to lose our best players to the NRL and I just hope that’s a situation that can be addressed ASAP. Meanwhile Albo will no doubt join Pies players, Williams, Burgess and Bateman in putting himself in that ‘shop window’ whilst he’s out there in the sunshine.

How good it is too when you see one of my all-time heroes Peter ‘Sterlo’ Sterling entering into the spirit of things around the Hull fans and what a great player he was, for those of us who were privileged to see him play? He worked hard and played hard as on the field we saw a real magician and one of the greatest ever players to don the famous black and white of Hull FC, whilst when off it he played hard too. It’s said that when he left the local casino owners all wore black arm bands. What a hero and what a legend!

So, there we were driving past Castle Hill Hospital on Tuesday lunchtime listening to Radio Two. The news came on and the last item indicated that three inebriated Englishmen had been rescued by a helicopter from the roof of a camper van that had sunk into a flooded river that was reported to be inhabited by crocs. All this had apparently happened in Queensland NSW in Australia.

Mrs R. immediately turned to me shook her head and said, “I bet they were Hull FC supporters”

Back together again!

Whilst we are out there in the Southern hemisphere pushing our game and Super League ‘Down Under’ at home the speculation about the future of the game continues apace and James Smailes got in on the act last week when he said, “I fully expect we’re heading to a 14 team Super League once again, but surely that can’t be the case next year because imagine a scenario where we play the Million Pound Game only to then announce nobody is going down and two teams are being promoted from the Championship. Surely we couldn’t see that happen, could we?” Well James, I believe perhaps we could and as Smailsey himself admitted, “I wouldn’t even be surprised to see the Middle 8s begin with a rule change that sees the top five secure of a Super League place and sixth taking on seventh in the Million Pound Game to confirm that 14th and final position in the 2019 season”.

James continued, “Anything is possible and the fact the RFL appear rudderless at present only adds fuel to the fire. Super League’s owners have taken a greater control of the game in which they’re relied upon to prop up and invest so much time and money in. They went about that fairly quietly with little fanfare, but expect them to make a noise moving forward as they seek more stability for their investment”.

One things for certain there are certainly some key decisions to be made, but they will have to be done while being fully aware of the paymasters at SKY, whose money keeps the game going and who still have a major say. They’ll be doing that for a while yet, particularly with the current television contract in place until the next decade. Money in the game is really tight though so it was almost incredulous to read that hot on the heels of Mt Woods £500,000 pay off, League Weekly reported last week that Super League chief Roger Draper will receive a severance payment of up to £300,000 after leaving his dual role of Super League Executive Director and chief commercial officer. I find all this really hard to stomach to be honest, when people leave their posts rather than being sacked and then get hundreds of thousands in compensation. For me it buggers belief really doesn’t it for you? The RFL declined to comment on the topic when asked about it by League Weekly (you bet they did!!), insisting severance payments made to employees were ‘absolutely confidential’.

With the growing noises about Eddie Hearn getting involved in the game of Rugby League in some capacity, (although this week he’s ruled out taking the top job) there is I guess hope for at least some fresh ideas and a real charismatic driving force behind the sport. Along with his father Barry, they have become renowned for the ability to transform sports, predominantly darts and snooker and their big forte has undoubtedly been reaching new and wider audiences through visionary marketing and a knack of being able to develop commercial strength, all areas in which rugby league is sadly lacking as it stagnates as a senior British Sport.

Eddie, perhaps best known as a boxing promoter, actually came out and commented publicly on the prospect last week. That’s certainly got plenty of people excited about his imminent arrival to save the sport, but with the RL and one or two of the more ponderous Super League Clubs dragging their heels and not wanting such a dynamic change, it might not be quite as easy as that. However, I think anything or indeed anyone who can act as some sort of catalyst to get things moving and shake the game up should be welcomed with open arms, for boy do we need some help. The Clubs have to embrace it for there will always be change (except of course from the KCOM ticket machines!)

That said, as much as Rugby League could do with some of the Hearn magic and expertise in promotion and marketing, they do as a family, tend to deal with sporting events rather than a sport in totality and such is their style that they also demand full control of whatever they take on board.rf Knowing our game of old, it’s therefore hard to imagine Eddie Hearn managing to secure any sort of autonomy when there is the RFL Executive, Mr. Rimmer, Mr. Hetherington and 12 Super League chairmen to contend with.

In fairness as well, the Super League clubs are talking positively about their own progress since removing Wood from the board and taking more control of decisions affecting the competition themselves, if that is they can get some sort of consensus p move things forward. Noting the thoughts of various club owners recently, there does seem a unified approach to make things better from within. But they don’t seem any closer to sorting things out, as there is still a stand-off between the clubs wanting to increase to 14, and those wanting to remain at 12, plus. I’m told, the allocation of the TV money to the lower league clubs is apparently also a thorny issue.

That was made clear this week by the Leigh owner when he went a long way to clearing up the detail about the unrest there is in the game and what went on with their parachute payment at the end of last year. I told you a few weeks ago I thought it came from the Super League clubs themselves and I was spot on!! The parachute payment was suggested in the early summer months along with the suggestions of a new structure. He said, in his programme notes, that “At the time we were looking as a group to get the game towards fourteen teams. Two clubs I won’t name stated that if relegated they felt it would be the death of them and clearly that wasn’t desirable. Furthermore, it was envisaged KR would have issues of maintaining their challenge if they didn’t succeed in getting back at the first attempt”.

He continued, “Anyway well before it was known who was in the Million Pound Game it was agreed there would be a parachute allowance of £500k on the conditions that the whole of the central funding had to be spent on players, so that, in all, came to £1.25m. I was very grateful of this situation and had no issue with the caveat.”

Obviously a lot of Championship clubs are upset at this and are ‘shouting’, “Where’s our money then” and on that the Leigh supremo went on to say, “I fully understand other clubs’ feelings on this but the money is from the clubs of Super League, not the RFL, so in simple terms if they all want to sponsor another club it’s not really anyone else’s business and that’s what occurred in principle”.

“No way would Super League put more money into the Championship to be shared by all the clubs; the purpose was to keep the relegated club as a Super League club in readiness for expansion, if that was the decided route, which as of now is still an unknown, I should also point out that as part of the termination clause players who hadn’t signed elsewhere were entitled to be paid three months’ notice, meaning I had to pay a new squad in December and a large number of my old squad which itself ate into the parachute as well”

So there you have it I guess, and I’m sorry about such a long quote but it comes from the horse’s mouth and explains better than I ever could a situation that occurred amongst the senior club’s way back last June. Since then however it would appear that little has moved forward and some Super League Clubs are dragging their heels about making the changes the game needs to survive. If we are not careful we could end up with an impasse here, with Rimmer in charge, a aging Aussie running the national team for the next 4 years and Sky continuing to rule the roost. I for one, bloody well hope we don’t!

Jed Rust, Dan Tomlinson and Friends flying the flag at the airport!

Now back to things Down Under and I asked readers to let me know what was going on over there in Australia and a lot have done just that and thanks so much everyone for getting in touch. I was particularly taken by a note I got from a reader and one of the real good guys Club Chaplain Tony Cotson. On Valentine’s Day, this Wednesday on Manley Beach Tony will be officiating when Paul and Kim Longley celebrate 30 years together as they renew their wedding vows in the company of the players and the Clubs fans. Tony tells me that he will be using the following statement in the ceremony, “On this special day for lovers everywhere, we meet in the presence of our Old Faithful God in this magnificent setting of Manley Beach in the company of family, friends and the Faithful, as we witness the renewal of wedding vows and the blessing of Kim and Paul as they celebrate 30 years together”.

Tony sets off on his adventure!

The whole thing will be covered exclusively in the media and Sports Chaplaincy UK will also hopefully be covering the event. That organisation is a great body that support the hundreds of chaplains in the UK and Ireland, who provide spiritual and pastoral care to professional and amateur sports. In a fashion note I’m told that the Reverend Cotson will be wearing shorts, flip flops the FC tour shirt and wearing a black and white irregular hooped dog collar. Talk about entering into the spirit of things, what a great idea and I’m sure the congratulations of all Diary readers go to Kim and Paul, who won’t forget their trip to Australia in a hurry. So, if as I know some of are, your reading this across the equator Down Under, get there if you can and help make it a great celebration. Well done Tony enjoy the trip!

Favourite pic of the week is a famous bin man on the last occasion he worked in Australia!!

The AFL, I was reading this week, are still worried about the after effects of concussion suffered by their players despite the fact that they were crash helmets when they play. Our game seems to be worried too and with the concerns about heading the ball in football, you have to wonder how long it will be before our game sees players wearing some sort of protection. Perhaps that will happen sooner rather than later after former Wigan player Ian Roberts has revealed rugby league has left him with irreversible brain damage.

The ex-Australia international, 52, was one of 25 retired players who took part in a study into the effects of repeated concussions. He said this week, “I was fully aware there was something wrong with me, but to be told I had scarring on the brain was surprising”. He concluded by saying, “It’s irreversible damage.” Roberts played 20 games for Wigan in 1986-87, winning the John Player Trophy and Lancashire Cup. Since playing he has launched an acting career – which has been hampered, he says, by his brain injuries. “My ability to learn lines has deteriorated. I’m just not as sharp as I was in the past”. That’s all a bit of a concern I think myself!

The 2017 Rugby League World Cup didn’t make as much money as the International Federation needed it to but it was a great occasion in some ways in that in Fiji and Tonga, it gave the sport a bit of a roadmap to the future. The thing is now however, that road is crumbling somewhat. In Fiji players are threatening to strike over missing prizemoney that the FNRL denies it owes them (they say the World Cup is supposed to pay it). The players are agitating for a change in their International administration, even though just about all of them live overseas.

Meanwhile, Tonga and Samoa have been drawn to play at Campbelltown, where they use to meet at the start of the century and are expected to play in front of crowds numbering in the hundreds. The players want to play in New Zealand where the gates will be much bigger and where a lot of exiled natives live. Neither of them are too keen. Even though tickets are already on sale for the ‘Pacific Tests’, it’s not known whether they’ve even signed the participation agreements. Maurice Linsay was once quoted as saying, “Born of discord, forever condemned to wallow in it”. Perhaps in our game at present there is certainly some truth in that!!

This week, I was reading about the Toronto Coach and hearing from their owner what a renaissance he had brought to the fledgling Club and that got me thinking about Coaches who had really made a difference from day one at our Club. One was of course Arthur Bunting but perhaps the biggest ever impact was made by Brian Smith. So, this week I want to look at a game towards the end of Smithy’s first season at the Club, which animates perfectly what a change he had engineered, with little money, few resources and within a very short period of time. You’ll remember, in that first 88/89 season we started with four defeats and ended with an appearance at Old Trafford, in what was the start of a new, if not a short, glittering ‘Era’ for the Black and Whites.

If we started slowly some memorable performances often against all the odds followed and saw us sat fourth in the table behind Leeds, Widnes and Wigan come Wednesday 5th April when we faced Widnes at the Boulevard. We had by then won 16 of our 25 matches played, which after that start, was nothing short of amazing! However, few of the 7,900 who attended that night could have imagined what a treat was in store, as, to quote the pundit on Radio 5, as I was driving to work next day, “This was the night that Brain Smith let his hair down”

This remark was focussed on the fact that we as fans, the players and particularly our Coach went wild at the end of a brilliant performance against the title favourites. It was before hand destined to be a game too far and one that no one expected us to win. Dick Tingle in the Mail summed up the performance the following night with the words, “The team that is supposed to have everything – class, pace and power- were found wanting for heart and character by a team that had it in spades”

It all started badly though! Soon after the match had kicked off we were found wanting by some brilliant Widnes play and I remember commenting from my position on the Threepenny Stand that “It looks like Smithy’s magic might just have run out tonight”. Within 5 minutes we were 8-0 down. After an early Jonathon Davies penalty, we marched down field and on the sixth tackle Gary Pearce tried a deft grubber kick towards the corner. In a flash Davies snatched it up and went on a blazing 75 yard run with Nolan, Eastwood and Blacker chasing him but, as they were about to catch him ten yards out, a late swerve saw him evade the would be tacklers and dive in for a try that he converted himself.

In a surprise decision before the game kicked off Brian Smith announced that Steve Crooks was to be the Captain for the night and he proved an ideal choice, as he led the forwards from the front. He clashed with Derek Pyke and a ‘bout’ of fisticuffs saw the Widnes prop sent to the sin bin for ten minutes.

However, on 20 minutes and whilst he was off the field, it was scrum half Windley who transformed the game. On the fourth tackle after good work by Dannett, Wilby and Sharp, Phil deftly slotted a teasing kick right between Full Back Tait’s legs and Lee Jackson nipped in to touch the ball down for what was amazingly his first try, for the first team, in three years. Pearce converted and despite the opposition having a good pull in the scrums, we were back in the game. I often say that its funny what you remember but then it looked like a chimney in Carrington Street had caught fire as a plume of acrid smoke descended across the pitch. However, it didn’t dampen Hull enthusiasm, as we tackled everything that came at us and were starting to play a bit of neat football ourselves. Three minutes later out of ‘the smog’ Dannett and then Sharp charge forward and a quick play the ball saw Windley create some space for Pearce, who scythed through to score near the posts and we were in the lead.

Hull were now really running hot, and Widnes, who had started so well were struggling to keep up. As Pyke returned to the fray it made little difference as Windley and Pearce struck again. This time Windley zipped round the back of a scrum sold a superb dummy, ran on and released Pearce again, who bludgeoned his way through two defenders to fall over the line for his second try in 7 minutes. We were going wild in the crowd, as ‘Smithy’ paced the touchline barking out orders and soon Pearce was at it again, this time with a beautifully times drop goal that stretched our lead to 21-8. Everything looked set fair however just on the stroke of half time a piece of sloppy defence out on the right, saw Price and Eastwood miss Tate and his blistering pace saw him score from half way. With Davies’s conversion from the touchline going over, we went in at half time leading by a very unlikely 21-14, which in fairness flattered the opposition.

We all thought that the fancied ‘Chemics’ would come back at us in the second half to snatch a victory and we were even more worried when after just 4 minutes Davies stroked over a penalty, as, accompanied by the ironic cheers of the fans around me, that chimney started belching out smoke again. The fear that Widnes would at any time find a gap in our defensive line certainly haunted our thoughts as we watched the likes of Offiah, Hulme, Koloto, Eyres and Currier trying to find a way through. But what a defensive display we produced. It was rugged, tenacious and consistent, as we drove the Widnes ‘stars’ back time and again. Sharp, Divorty Dannett and Lee Jackson all pulled off try saving tackles which eventually turned the Widnes ‘winning’ machine, into a shambles.

Widnes hardly got out of their half despite a 5-2 advantage with the second half penalties and as we grew into the task again we started to attack ourselves. In the last twelve minutes only spectacular try saving tackles from Kurt Sorenson on Divorty and Dannett saved tries, before Divorty was awarded one, only for referee Geoff Tickle to change his mind and rule it out on the intervention of the touch judge. Finally however we executed the killer blow, just two minutes from the end, as a frustrated Jonathan Davies slapped Blacker across the face as he ran by him and Pearce stroked over the penalty.

At 23-16 the game was over and as the hooter went the whole place went mad! Smithy arms aloft ran onto the field to ‘let his hair down’ and salute the cheering fans as the players applauded and danced with delight. It had been no fluke; master tactician Smith had the right game plan, and most importantly the players executed it perfectly, as a dazzling advert for Rugby league was capped with some brilliant individual performances. That year definitely saw the start of a new era; we had some wonderful times to saver under a previously untried Aussie Coach, who completely changed our game plan in both defence and attack, and all that after a couple of years when under different management we had gone backwards. Recognise anything; I hope so, don’t you!!!

The other week I was talking in the Diary about two of the great heroes of the 70’s and 80’s Keth Hepworth and Kenny Foulkes and that prompted Steve Kirkwood to write, “After reading codgers corner I thought you may be interested to know that Keith Hepworth and Kenny Foulkes attend nearly all our home games. Heppy is around 80 and has, at present, a groin strain from slipping on some grass. They still refer to Hull as us/we and really enjoy the games. Great to see them There”, it sure is Steve and thanks for letting us all know.

So that’s it, a disappointing climax to a great week for the Club and one that might have repo-cushions for the season going forward. Some of those injuries are certainly worrying and for me whatever happens this weekend is academic really. Our camp on Sunday was full of the walking wounded and we’ll just have to hope for the best I guess. Thanks for all the correspondence and contact from Australia and closer to home over the last week. I got a great E Mail from Darren Southwell in Wollongong and others from Jim Waring, Brian in Lincoln, Sammo, Billy H, Iain and Jem and indeed another dozen or so folks who got in touch straight after the game.

Let’s see what this week brings eh?

Try to keep believing!

Faithfully Yours


And Finally Its quite amazing who you bump into at a gig in Huddersfield! Boy he’s a big bugger!