The Dentist’s Diary – 573rd

“I don’t think we gave ourselves a start to be honest. Performance wise there were so many people not at the races. It was scary and we were always going to be second best”. So said Lee Radford and we are left, I guess, to make of that what we will.

You’re not supposed to say that Australia might have been a distraction, it’s appearing to be a taboo subject around the Club and something that isn’t talked about by the press either. I really don’t know whether it was or it wasn’t, but that is still, as far as many who attended at Wheldon Road, the ‘elephant in the room’ since that defeat, for although we looked physically prepared we were certainly not mentally at it at all! It wasn’t (as happens when you have an off day) just one or two players either, but as Lee said there were so many of our lads right across the field, ‘not at the races’ on Saturday.

All week we had heard about Jet Lag and fatigue and how it wouldn’t affect us and I’m pleased as a Club (just as was the case with Wigan), that we would never ever ‘run’ to such excuses and anyway whatever our preparation, it was always going to be a tough game and a big ask over there.

But, you know what, I was really disappointed at the end, because we could have won that game, it was ours to take and we blew the chance. So, that said, I decided that perhaps I would watch it all back again on Saturday night, when I was more composed, a bit more rational and before I wrote this week’s Diary.

Having done so, I had my thoughts reconfirmed as we certainly did well to maintain a level of physical verve, but for me we just ran out of mental energy, if that is, some of the players had any in the first place. The usual ‘smarts’ and plays were missing, our ball retention was poor, our sliding defence was horrendous at times and our organisation on both attack and defence on occasions shocking. However, all that said it was still a game we could have won and who knows, perhaps a game that we would have won, on any other given weekend.

These are of course just my own personal thoughts, but for me it was certainly back down to earth with a bump on a sunny yet bitterly cold afternoon, at what is increasingly becoming a dilapidated Jungle.

That said, it’s still hard to fathom exactly what went wrong for so many players on Saturday. We never gave up and never gave in and that’s so commendable, but it just wasn’t the Hull FC we have come to know at all and in the end it was also again an afternoon when one of those great last minute come backs, that we have come to expect and have seen so often in the past, never looked like coming about.

It had all started as always, with hope and optimism abounding. The back way into Cas (M62 then the A1) is always the best bet when we travel to the Jungle and I’m told on Saturday, that it was certainly the best option then as well, because Junction 32 was gridlocked as the hordes of FC fans met up with the Xscape, Retail Village traffic. In fact, one or two I spoke to actually arrived late for the start, despite setting off two hours before kick-off.

No doubt the realities of the British game, set out all around them, will, for everyone who went Down Under, have seemed a million miles away from the sunny shores of Australia. If, as we are told, that culture change didn’t affect the players, then it certainly was a big adjustment for all those sun kissed FC heroes, who had made the trek half way around the world and back to support their team.

Both teams, for different reasons, had experienced a patchy start to the season and it was a game that although not season defining, would I thought, give one of the two teams a chance to set the tone for future matches. So the stage was cleared at an atmospheric Wheldon Road for an epic tussle. What’s more it was a tussle where much would depend, for both teams, we all thought, on how they started.

The boys on the pitch may not have cut it on Saturday, but this picture courtesy of reader Sammo, shows that apparently the lads off it certainly did!!

That pretext was ill-informed and, in the end, proved pretty academic, but it was a fabulous turn out and a tribute to Saturday afternoon rugby as we kicked off in bright sunshine and our first few sets were indeed first class. We showed energy and good end of set options but then all of a sudden, we started to put our end of set kicks too deep which gave Castleford some time and a growing confidence bringing the ball back.

You know, when you watched it back afterwards, that the initial drop out we conceded was the first real test of our resolve and energy and the jet lag theory, yet we held out and got the hand over at the end of 2 consecutive sets of tackles. So far so good I thought, we look pretty composed and energised! However, although we had our chances in that first quarter, misplaced passes and brain farts ensured that we simply didn’t take them, whilst all the while the home team’s self-assurance grew.

Brilliant score!

Still, that first try by Sneyd, when it eventually came, was a brilliant piece of Rugby by a player not renowned for running at the line at all and it was also great to see us capitalising on a repeat set to grab that chance and take the lead. Then the lapses of concentration started to bite harder and a stupid penalty conceded on the 5th tackle by Connor gifted Cas another 6 tackles and they were on the board. After that the rest of the first half was a pretty scrappy affair, but I still thought our energy level was OK under the circumstances. The endeavour was there, but you have to hang on to the ball and we couldn’t, furthermore it looked as if we were struggling to organise ourselves in defence when Webster stepped through the line, for Cas. to go in with a lead that they really never deserved.

Tough Going

So it was 10-8 at half time and all to do after what was I guess something of a familiar story as we had dominated and controlled a lot of what had happened, but then lapses of concentration did for us and we found ourselves behind.

The second half started as badly as it could have and to concede two tries in the manner that we did, saw the writing on the wall as the tide of the game ebbed away from us. In that period the much talked about Castleford momentum did for us and even though we had a couple of let offs, we started to look a bit predictable and ragged and certainly lacking in ideas as to how to break the home team’s dominance. But, Faraimo did so well when we looked completely out of it and somehow we were back in it again after what was a move Kelly had no doubt rehearsed dozens of times at County Road.

An unlikely win was back on, we were in with a chance again but we needed to have the mental strength to take it. However then, straight from the restart, our concentration went again as Shaul gave the wrong call on a ball that was without doubt his to take and we let the bloody kick-off go dead. You could feel the whole away following deflate at this point, you just can’t do that and mistake after mistake and penalty after penalty came and went as we struggled for shape and to retain the ball. In fact, I remember thinking during the game that to be only 8 points down at three quarter time was in many ways something of a miracle.

We were under the cosh and didn’t seem to have anyone capable of changing things around at all, we desperately needed some inspiration to reverse the flow of the game. Three sets of six on our own line did for us and we were stretched out right and another try ensued wide out. But back we came and Mickey Paea, who is making me eat my words by the week, scored a great try under the post. It was then I guess game on once again, the crowd raised again, but across the supporter base, though the fans sang and did their best to lift the boys, it seemed we all knew in our heart of hearts that with 15 minutes to go the writing was on the wall. True to type as soon as we started to come back again, our most influential player and ‘the man most likely to’ Albert Kelly copped a big head shot, got laid out and that was effectively that.

Watching it back, away from the passion and involvement the live game, it was as I say, quite clear to me that with a bit more thought and a few clearer heads, we would have won, but we didn’t and the chance was lost. as two points that should have been ours went begging.

So for me in conclusion a good first 30 minutes, then the errors and indiscipline kicked in. There was plenty of endeavour and effort, but we looked predictable and pretty much devoid of ideas in attack. We were slow and lumbering at times and Castleford were just more switched on and slicker than us. In the end for me I was, as I say, pretty disappointed and that was because it was as displays go, much worse than the 10-point margin indicated. That final score flattered us as the home team bombed a hat full of chances, which could have easily seen them past the 40-point mark.

As for performances, well for me Paea was head and shoulders above everyone else, Hadley tried hard again and tackled manfully throughout, Sneyd looked sharp and continued to try things to the end and I thought that Fairamo had his best game so far for us. However, on the other side of the coin an apparently unwell Connor made some telling mistakes at critical times and Shaul had a mare. In between those two extremes, the rest looked for the most part like a team whose heads were elsewhere and a few fans at the end were hazarding a guess as to where. You’re not supposed to say that and there will no doubt be detractions all week, but I can’t dress it up because that’s just how it looked to me. The effort was there but the mental application and tenacity certainly wasn’t!

Friday is now a big game at ‘played three won one’, because to stay safe in this league you have to win half your games at least. We now need two more points on the board and no mistake, because with Warrington followed by Leeds and Salford away, it will be easy to fall behind the pack at the top end and what’s worse, slip down towards the Badlands of the bottom 4. Early days still? Yes of course it is, but we need to be on our guard I feel.

So to the rest of the week and I had a great chat last Thursday at the gym with Lee Radford who was still bubbling about the success of the Australian adventure and the benefit it had bought to all the players who went. He’s such a great bloke and one who always had a word for everyone. After the performance the previous week, he was genuinely excited about the quality of the youngsters we have coming through and emphasised as well all the hard work that had been put in on the coaching side of things, to deliver such a promising crop of young players. He was also, I have to say, just as worried as we all are about the state of junior rugby and the chances of such quality ever coming through again in the future in such numbers.

It just highlights for me that the sport has to do something to kick start the junior game. Hull FC are doing their bit, as they are sending players out just about every day to the schools to spark enthusiasm and encouraging participation, but that lot at Red Hall just ain’t doing anything to revitalize the local amateur teams and the youth development they have to do, to create the flow of promising players coming through.

So, the parlous state of junior rugby obviously bothers those in the game too, but there’s little any of us can do to sort it out because it has to come from ‘the centre’ and at present it certainly ain’t. Lee said that the Aussie trip had been great for team morale and they did miles more ball work and tactical stuff out there simply because the weather was so good. He felt as the season unfolded we would really benefit from the experience too. I think most of those at the Club would go back to Aus. again in the future, if it was practical and financially viable. Whether some reading this would be as keen remains to be seen however, well it does judging by my post bag this week.

There was an interesting interview with Jake Connor in the Yorkshire Post last Tuesday, which explained a lot of what we probably already suspected; that Lee Radford fella is not just a good bloke and a real fan, but also an excellent man manager. Jake said, of the time when he was wondering whether to renege on his agreement to join Hull FC and instead stay at Huddersfield, that Lee used his own experiences to help make his mind up. He stated, “That’s exactly what we spoke about; Radders said he went through the same (with Bradford) and he didn’t know what to do either. It was nothing against the club, it was just what I was used to and comfortable with at Huddersfield. But Rads just told me to get out of my comfort zone and push myself a little bit deeper. That’s what I have done and I’ve become a better player for it. He’s helped me through those times. He’s been there and done it himself. I’m not going to lie, I was having second thoughts, I was just used to what I had and comfortable there in the first place ”.

He continued, “A few things broke down at Huddersfield and that’s when I looked elsewhere and had the first conversations with Radders. But he probably was panicking when I rang him back! I’m really glad he persuaded me to come, though, as it’s probably been the best move I’ve ever made in my life. He basically just said give it a try. I did that and haven’t looked back yet. I’m here to win silverware as well and in the first year we won the Challenge Cup. Now I just want to win more. It’s a great club and I’m just glad to be here.” An interesting insight that I thought!

The points haul of Hakim Miloudi last week for Doncaster certainly turned a few heads and was, even though it was ‘only’ against the Coventry Bears, quite a feat. To score 4 tries and 8 goals and to equal the Doncaster Club’s point’s record, is one thing, but to do it after coming off the bench, to take up a role in the half backs, is certainly worth a mention in here. You’ll remember that I was certainly quite excited about this young man’s off the cuff ability the first time I saw him play. That’s probably because young players who do the unexpected and look to change things around a bit outside the rigid frameworks of modern rugby, are rare indeed. They tend to have that flamboyant trait knocked out of them at a young age, or at least trained out once they are signed up full time, but I suspect that is unlikely with Hakim.

Some believe that his future lies in the half backs, but of course there is no guarantee that he will be at the Club after this season, for we have seen so many players impress, but in the end fail to make the grade particularly, it would seem, in the half backs. With Albo likely to leave the Club at the end of the 2018 season there is a vacancy for a play-maker, but the young Frenchman will really have to sparkle to get in front of Abdull and Connor, both of whom are excelling in their own development and indeed, ‘off the cuff’ players themselves. The rigors of the salary cap mean that you can’t keep everyone who shows some potential and so big decisions have to be made annually on retention and release. Do you go for the out and out maverick that perhaps doesn’t conform to the normal day to day image of a professional sportsman, or do you go for the safer and yet less exciting option? Lee has been proved in the past to have the man management skills to do a bit of both. However, it’s probably one of the most difficult jobs that a Coach faces, because as well as all the attributes he needs to run a successful team, he also has to come out of his own comfort zone or at least have the ability to deploy a crystal ball when assessing a players potential.

So far, our Coach has just about got it right on that front and few have been released from Hull FC and then gone on to shine elsewhere. Hakims disciplinary record off and on the field still hangs over him a bit too, so it is now a pretty critical time in his development. Perhaps a yearlong loan to Donny has been considered but then again, he is probably the best under-study for full-back that we have and so he may be retained and sent out on duel registration; just in case Jamie Shaul cops one in the future rounds.

That refreshing ability to do the unexpected or at least try it, was the first thing I noted about Jake Connor when he signed, but he was older and a bit further down the development road. Hakim’s doing well and after a string of misdemeanors that I expected would have seen him out of the door, it seems Radford has taken him in hand and he has settled down a bit. Lee must have seen something or he would have been out on his ear a long time ago, particularly after his bad behaviour at Donny and missing the bus to the World Cup. We just have to hope that he’s learned his lesson, I for one certainly hope he has, because players of true maverick qualities are few and far between in the modern game and when you come across one, it’s a joy to watch them play, particularly if they have your club’s shirt on.

The machinations over the structure for next year rumble on and despite Mr. Hetherington saying there will be no changes, the Sun last Monday indicated that Super League could shrink to 10 teams, or it could grow to 14. Either way, they understood “that Super League is keen to break off from the rest of the game and have full autonomy over itself”. It is expected the Clubs will vote on whether to increase the top tier to 14, with much stricter off-field rules on eligibility to play in Super League, but the tabloid added, we are now probably looking at changes for the 2020 campaign.

But the newspaper said that they had learned of another proposal that would see it cut from 12 to 10, with another tier of 10 underneath. However, all central funding would go to those 20 clubs, so we would in effect have a top tier of 2 Divisions of 10, parachute payments and possible two up two down every year. That would mean in essence that anyone outside the elite divisions would have to find money themselves or I guess, wither and die. It’s all a real mess really. However, for me, if Ralph Rimmer, who is one of the old Red Hall brigade, is appointed to the Chief Executive’s job then, we’ll just get more of the same old, same old and perhaps the only way forward is for the Super League Club owners, who let’s face it invest the most money in our game, to have much more autonomy and say in what happens. Let’s face it can you trust the development of the game in future in a regime who have just doled out around £500,000 in ‘golden handshakes’ to two employees who appear to have left of their own free will after just a few years’ service?

Now we all know that one of the main problems is that by and large Rugby League struggles for media coverage and yet, there are so many great stories around. But, whilst the national media were handing out the accolades to us and Wigan for a great marketing initiative in going Down Under, they did, in general, miss another great and significant story that came out last week. You see if the clubs, wherever they play, can market it right, then we have a bit of a chance of growing rugby league, but some of that growth has to come from the bottom and on that premise, step forward York City Knights and their media team. Gavin Wilson is the media manager at the Knights and his marketing, along with the help of a couple of other volunteers, brought 4,261 spectators to Bootham Crescent for their first game of the season, as they just fell short against League 1 favourites Bradford Bulls. Ex FC Foundation Boss John Flatman is now CEO at the North Yorkshire Club and everyone there should certainly be commended for the effort they put in to create what was a very heartening attendance.

The amazing Crowd at York last weekend!

On the other hand, hang on a minute this is Rugby League we are extolling here and so true to type on the same day that RL pioneers, Wigan and Hull were flying home across the equator and York were packing them in at Bootham Crescent, disaster for our game’s image struck in West Wales.

Just like a player should always remember his boots for a game, the Club Doctor, who has to be in attendance, should remember all of his medical paraphernalia as well. So it was that afternoon, that the West Wales Raiders were forced to cancel their League 1 clash with Newcastle Thunder due to the doctor, that has to be provided by the Raiders, not having all the correct gear with him. There is a strict check list of what medical equipment has to be on hand and although some stuff is often owned by the club themselves like stretchers etc. the responsibility for that list being complete, is down to the Club Doctor, who has to be there in person. The Match Officials have to ensure all is well in that area before the game can go ahead.

Many of us remember going along to Brantingham a few years ago for an Academy game, (back in the days when we actually had one), only for the match to be delayed for ages, because a Doctor had not turned up and we couldn’t start until one appeared. The Thunder squad and a full coachload of their fans must have been pretty fed up after making the 720 mile round trip, because I know I would have been. After the good stuff last weekend, what a let-down that was, as the story from West Wales stood side by side in the sports pages of the national newspapers with the adventure in Australia. But, let’s face it, that could only really happen in Rugby League, couldn’t it?

I see that Rovers said at their recent fans forum that they are closing their Club shop in Savile Street in the City Centre and moving all their retail operation to Caravan Park. With merchandise such a massive part of the financial mix these days I would have thought that a retrograde step myself, but sales figures will have been studied and perhaps their shop isn’t as successful as our often ‘rammed’ unit is next door.

As for Wayne Bennett being given a two-year deal to continue as GB Coach and the RL almost begging him to take the position, well I won’t be commenting on that. You all know my views on it and the snub it gives to British Coaches who are very well qualified to cover the position. It’s short sighted and short termism, for his new tenure doesn’t even take us up to the next World Cup in 2021, if the team is, for whatever reason stuggling by then, he can get out and that for me reduces the accountability and is pointless, but, as I say I give up and I’ll just move on!

We were all talking the other night in the pub about the great forwards we have had at the Club over the years. It was a conversation fired by a discussion about Matongo and Fash and how we seem to have had no problem over the years with finding big strong front rowers. We went right back to Bill Drake and Bob Coverdale in the 50’s and covered both big stars and real grafters, including Craig Greenhill, Eric Broom, Mick Scott, Andy Dannett. Karl Harrison, Keith Tindall, Gareth Carvell, Bill Ramsey and Vince Farrer, in what turned out to be something of a hall of fame of front rowers. Someone suggested that I should write about my top FC prop in the Diary, but I felt that it was almost an impossible task because there were so many that were my ‘favourites’ at the time they played for the Club. However, this week I have selected the two I think was probably the best ever and players who will always be big heroes for me.

Many props are referred to by the pundits as tough uncompromising characters, but for this supporter, none fitted that description better than the man Dick Tingle at the Hull Daily Mail often described as ‘A Mountain of a man’ and ‘Tough as Teak’. That player was Mick Harrison. What a hard man he was. I remember back in the 60’s when we fielded a poor team in a period of change and difficulty for our Club, he and second rower Jim Neale were worth the admission money on their own because they were always in the thick of things and no-one no matter what their reputations, got the better of them!! If we were not winning, then it was likely those two would be scrapping!!

You have to remember that in those days the scrums were not the foregone conclusions they are now and props had to work really hard with the hookers to get the ball out of the scrimmage in the first place. How tough was Harrison? Well, I remember a benefit night for Arthur Keegan back in the early 1970’s when I asked two of his ‘celebrity’ guests at the supporter’s club who was the best player that they had ever faced. Both those Featherstone hard men, Les Tonks and Vince Farrar agreed that Arthur was the best full back they had ever seen and that Mick if not the best ever, was by far and away the toughest forward they had encountered!!

Mick signed from Fish Trades at 18 years old and made his debut against Hull KR. He started as a second row but was soon promoted to prop and in an age when forwards were traditionally late developers, he surprisingly quickly progressed to playing for Great Britain at the tender age of twenty. Most of the good work that Mick did was unseen by us lot in the stands, and if he had been a boxer I guess you would say that he was the master of “Working inside in the clinches” against his opponents! I remember him best for his smother tackles and the way that he just kept going throughout the game, grinding up-field and battering the opposition!!

His positional play was good too. In one game I remember he laid out two Halifax forwards with one punch, which he executed brilliantly on the ‘blind side’ of the referee, to ensure he stayed on the field. Meanwhile, the two players, still comatose, were carried off on stretchers, by those almost comical St Johns Ambulance guys, to the accompaniment of the Threepennies singing the Laurel and Hardy theme! Great days indeed.

Mick left Hull for Leeds in 1974 but after 8 magnificent years at Headingley, he returned to the FC aged 36 with the intention of coaching the juniors.,

However, an injury crisis led him to be recalled to play on a few memorable occasions, including that epic battle against the Aussies at the Boulevard when we were just beaten 13-7 by “The Invincibles”, in the Kangaroo’s toughest game of their 1982 tour. Mick belied his years by constantly taking the game right into the Aussies faces. True to form he was scrapping within ten minutes and he worked himself to a standstill, to a point where he could visibly be seen to drop onto his knees exhausted before a late scrum. Mick played his last game for Hull in 1983, but will remain for me at least, the hardest player I have seen in a black and white shirt!!

In 1980, whilst Mick was still at Leeds, Hull FC were ‘on fire’ and heading for a short period when they were probably the best club side in World Rugby!! We were really on top of our game, and always on the look-out for quality players to add to our ranks. The 1979 Great Britain Tour of Australia had been its usual disaster, but one star that really shone out in a battered GB side was Wakefield Trinity’s prop forward Trevor Skerrett, who had a fabulous series.

There was talk of our interest (back then if a good player was around, we were always interested) and so, with Knocker Norton, his room-mate on the tour, no doubt having a quiet word in his ear, when Trevor returned home it was no surprise to hear of him putting in a transfer request. We were in like a shot and within three days we had captured his signature, paying a then world record fee of £40,000 to secure his services!! What a forward Trevor was. He was big and strong with great hands and he like Mick Harrisons was also always available to ‘stick one’ on anybody who set about any of our smaller players!! In the days when both Hull and the Dobbins had some fantastic backs, it was still prop forward Skerrett who got the Man of the Match award when we beat the old enemy in the 1981/82 John Player Trophy final!!

That day he had a towering game and almost single-handedly beat the Dobbins pack into submission! I remember him best for his fantastic upper body strength. He appeared at times to have a very low centre of gravity and a regular sight at the Boulevard back then was to see Trevor ploughing through the opposition with three or four of their players hanging onto his legs and waist, but unable to stop his progress.

He also won a Championship medal in 1982 and played in a total of 9 finals for our club! I said earlier however that he was unlucky and so he was. His international career was going really well and in 1984 he was awarded the highest honour possible when he was named as the first ever Hull FC player to captain a GB tour ‘Down Under’. He was then tragically struck down with a severe knee injury that led to him withdrawing from the tour and that injury blighted his career for the rest of his playing days. Another injury blow hit him in 1985 when he missed that famous Challenge Cup Final against Wigan and three weeks later, disillusioned and looking for an upturn in his fortunes, he asked for a transfer.

He was listed at a then phenomenal asking price of £75,000 but did not leave for Leeds until the following season! The deal that saw him depart featured both Trevor and Andy Gascoigne going to Headingley with Kevin Dick, and a fee, coming the other way!! Skerrett played two more seasons at Leeds and two at Keighley before he eventually retired, citing that old knee injury as the reason for his eventual departure from the game. He was a great prop forward though, probably one of the best I have seen in the irregular hoops!!! Two great players and great memories eh? So really, all that needs to be asked is this, will fans like me be talking about some of our recent front row forwards in the same terms in 35 years time? Well, I hope so but I wonder just the same, if we will!

Well, still on the Codgers spot, last week’s piece on the icon and legend that was Mick Crane, certainly stirred some memories and a bumper bundle of correspondence and comment about a player who obviously touched a lot of people’s lives and who’s a guy that all Hull FC fans hold close to their hearts. It’s impossible to tell all the stories you sent me, but I have chosen to include some extracts from an E Mail I got from Dave Cutler who wrote, “For me, the two often overlooked aspects of Mick’s play were his tackling, as he had a textbook technique of wrapping his arms around the ankles to take the opponents legs away (a lost art)? The second skill Mick had was striking for the ball at the play the ball. He was often able to retrieve the ball for Hull by getting his leg over the ball once it had touched the ground and rake it back like an experienced hooker. However, I once remember Mick scoring a try for us at a derby at the old Craven Park. Dave Marshall had taken a penalty kick that hit the post and rebounded to Mick who was stood fairly centrally around the 25-yard line”.

Dave continued that, “As was the norm in those days, the Rovers team were spread out across the full width of the pitch, right along the try line. Mick ambled towards them selling an outrageous dummy to the first attempted tackler. Unbelievably, he sold the same dummy another four or five times (I kept thinking that he’ll never get away with that again) before scoring in the far corner at the scoreboard end.

It was a try that no-one else could have scored. John Fieldhouse in the Hull Daily Mail described it thus “Marshall’s poor penalty kick luckily re-bounded to Crane, who managed to force his way over in the corner”. But, what else can you expect from a journalist who once wrote after a derby defeat by Hull, ‘On a different day, with two different teams and a different referee, it could have been a different result’.

Thanks Dave for a fond memory of a great player, the old play the ball rule and one of the most biased journalists I have every experienced! Great stuff!

If that made me think, then what made me laugh this week? Well I certainly had a bit of a titter about Rovers fan’s Forum when surprise, surprise under siege Neil Hudgell was nowhere to be seen and Rob Crossland who was due to attend, reneged at the last minute. However, the biggest laugh was when CEO Mike Smith said it could have been them going to Australia with Wigan because their Chairman like Rovers more than us! Oh Dear, rearrange this well-known phrase or saying, “Straws that’s Clutching really at”!!!!

I also laughed a bit too myself as I thought of one Leeds fan who severely chastised me about 5 weeks ago, for saying that the problem with the games ‘Down Under’ was the change of conditions and the resultant amount of injuries you could get, he actually said that I was ‘a real Job’s Comforter’ and I needed to be ‘More optimistic’. You can image then how I felt this week to read this headline in the Yorkshire Post, “Leeds to be without Eight Forwards for Widnes Clash!”

It’s a big birthday this week for my pal and Diary reader Kathy Kirk. She, often helps with what I put in here, when we have chewed the fat a bit over a few beers. It was also great to receive so much correspondence about Mick Crane and thanks too to everyone who got in touch. It’s now a really important game on Friday and I hope that as many of you as possible will get along to the KCOM to support the lads.

It’s a big game for us because if we have any serious ambitions of top 4 it’s practically a must win match already! Indeed, as I said earlier, to be safe from the bottom 4 we need to win every other game until the end of the regular season and that has to start on Friday.

Try to Keep Believing!

Faithfully Yours