The Dentist’s Diary – 577th

The Easter farce is over, we’ve come out with 6 points from a possible 8 and who wouldn’t have taken that three weeks ago eh?

Yet, it has been a tough holiday season for the FC and there have been several casualties, a few alarms and a lot of talking points. Few fans really expected us to beat Saints and the majority of the Faithful were right. Many doubted our chances against Wakey, but we somehow sneaked a win with an amazing bit of skill, Rovers away was the expected lottery against poor opposition with the now usual miraculous outcome and, well, we had to beat Catalans didn’t we?

So I guess 6 points was as good a haul as we could have expected to pick up in these last 4 games, for whatever the rhetoric coming out of the Club, by that Saints match last Friday we were undoubtedly buggered, damaged and crocked and so paid the penalty for those massive efforts we put in on Good Friday and Easter Monday. However, we should not forget that Saints were in the same boat as us games wise too, yet they still produced a much more clinical and effective performance. Why? Well at the Totally Wicked Stadium our heroes were left at times chasing shadows, against a team that had suffered less injuries and in fact who perhaps even looked better prepared fitness wise than we were.

There is no doubting the effort and passion we put in and everyone gave their absolute all, but if I’m honest and I always try to be in here, we didn’t look as sharp as the Saints and in any case, we haven’t really played as well as they are at present, very often this season at all. We have yet to get it right for 80 minutes in any game, because we’ve played some good stuff at times, but only really excelled in patches. Plus, with injuries on the increase again we face a tough few weeks, with a position that is cemented in the top 4 (as was our aim at the beginning of the season), still looking to be a long way off. Saints on the other hand have been able to play the same 19 or so players for several weeks now and looked to be more settled than us. Cohesion is everything when you’re tired and we are struggling through injuries to find much of that at all at present.

Of course, it’s early days and perhaps that will come at the time in the season when it really matters, because all that is important now is getting to the 22 points mark, so as to see us avoid the bottom 4. Of course as I always say, perhaps that’s just me and maybe you see it completely differently, but we look to be struggling for consistency and coherence at times and that bit is still a concern.

I’m not worried yet, we have struggled since Australia with injuries and disruption, but I do think we are falling short at present when it comes to finding the sort of form that won us those two trophies in 2016 and 2017. We keep saying it’s still early days, but the season moves on and we are almost half way through.

So let’s have a closer look at those two games from the past week.

The prospects for the match on Bank Holiday Monday, as the rain siled down the windows in Beverley all that morning, were not good. It was an awful day to turn out and the gate of well over 11,000 was one that paid great tribute to the resilience of the FC fans. Even those who attend in ‘In Any Kinda Weather’ must have known that just 3 days and 4 days respectively after a pair of titanic tussles, both teams were certainly going to find it tough going and in fact perhaps in the end the result was always going to be a bit of a lottery.

For me at least it was to start in quite a unique way, for such horrendous weather does tend to wear a bit on a fan of almost 68 years and long gone are the days of going in my Hull shirt and no coat, whatever the weather. So it was that I went down to the shed to find the biggest warmest old coat I had, which I had stowed away there for just such occasions.

This garment, fur lined hood and all, made me look to be doing a good impression of ‘Nanook of the North’ and had hung there since last winter. I only kept it there ‘just in case’ and for me that day was just such ‘a case’. I unhooked it from the nail behind the door and immediately got stung by a wasp snoozing in the hood, as I appeared to have disturbed his winter sleep. With a measured outburst, something along the lines of “Little Twat” that could probably be heard in Driffield, I ended his slumbers and his existence before heading off to find some bite spray and an anti-histamine tablet. Not a good start to my Bank Holiday in the rain I thought!

As my throbbing finger and I drove through standing water on the road the Skidby, I mused on the fact that perhaps this was an afternoon when we were in danger of being stung ourselves from a Wakey team who had been the hot tip for the top 4 by a lot of pre-season pundits. They had played a day earlier than us, completed their game against Castleford with 13 men (as opposed to our 12 against Rovers) and were a team that was intent on digging themselves out of a hole, having lost their last three games. The thing was, I knew that Easter Monday matches are always ones of slower pace, makeshift teams and lots of mistakes and we had over the last few years had our slice of luck in such games as well, especially in 2016 when we overcame the unbeaten Warrington by just two points.

Yet by the end of the game we had actually managed to present Wakefield with three of their tries, whilst for all their huff and puff and impressive handling across the park they had only managed to create one touch-down themselves all afternoon. So, despite the rain and the horrendous conditions one thing was to prove very obvious indeed; the passion and desire of that Good Friday miracle win was there in abundance once more.

As the rain poured down and the players warmed up I reflected on the fact that this year was so far matching up pretty well with that same 2016 campaign when we had a few losses, got back on the horse with a scratchy home win against a struggling team the week before Easter and went to Caravan Park to pull off what could only be call a magical win from 20 points down. After that in 2016 we played a well fancied Warrington at home on Easter Monday and beat them as I say by a slender margin, before heading off that year to Saints on the Friday where we won by one point from a Sneyd drop goal. The similarities I thought were striking, as I mused on the fact that I would certainly take a repeat of that slender win against the Wire again in the dreary KCOM on that soggy, saturated Easter Monday.

There had to be a winner and thankfully due to a miraculous piece of play it wasn’t destined to be Wakefield. Afterwards, as we’d condemned the Wildcats to their 4th successive win, their Coach Chris Chester commented through clenched teeth, “We we’re not far away, and we feel robbed with a 52-metre drop goal in those conditions, but it was a hell of a kick.” AND boy Chezzy, was it just that!

It was certainly a strange first half which saw us only going into their 20-meter area once in the first quarter and the Wildcats exerting all the pressure. Yet amazingly before we knew much about it on the 20 minute mark we were 8-0 up. They charged back and their relentless pressure (cause by us constantly giving away the ball and conceding penalties), eventually told, so that at 8-18 at half time they were perhaps unfortunate not to be further in front.

Abdull with the first!

However, even then, on that pitch, with such a makeshift team, it seemed to me that the game might just already be up. There were some good signs, particularly concerning the pace that was injected into the fight, after the introduction of Litton, but, we were making far too many mistakes. However, rather like three days earlier at half time Lee certainly lifted the team and sorted some of the obvious on field issues out as we emerged for the second half to score 18 points and grab the lead back in pretty spectacular fashion. As he sits in the stands though, Lee can do nothing about the catching and passing and the fact that we kept handing the ball back to the Wildcats was always a worry. So, after that amazing fight back looked to have secured us the points, they grabbed an interception and with the scores tied at 26-26, it was down to drop goals. Both sides fancied their chances but only we had Sneyyyydddd!!!!

I have seen some good field goals in my time (remember the brilliant one in the last game at the Boulevard) but none better than that one of Marc’s. Last minute, under pressure on a slippery boggy pitch, it was a massive ask. He’d have no doubt wanted his forwards to get him a bit closer, but cometh the hour cometh the hero and our acting Captain slotted over a pearl of a one pointer from 52 yards, to snatch us both points. You know, Sneyd gets a bit of stick at times from some sections of the crowd, but he’s a big game player and in those big game winning situations its invariably Marc that will make the big plays!

I was an unbelievable moment in a game that had failed to fire the fans for long periods, but as I said earlier it was always going to be a bit of a lottery, because these games always are. Easter is for me becoming a bit of a disaster for the sport at senior level and I hope that the upcoming review at present being conducted by the Super League Clubs will have a look at what is a massive strain on the players and perhaps even a welfare issue, cause by what is a veritable car crash of matches.

Still we got the points and there were some great displays. For the uninitiated it ebbed and flowed between a boring spectacle and an exciting encounter. As Sneyd’s one-pointer from inside his own half sailed through the sticks, it was the fifth and final time the lead had changed hands in a tense affair, so the casual onlooker certainly got his money worth. It was hardly a classic display though, but we won and that was all that mattered.

Talanoa was again Johnny on the spot and scored two superb tries. Albo came up with the try that started the come-back, Griffin had his best game of the season and looked to be getting better and better by the week and although missing the charismatic Houghton we managed in the second half to ensure that Kelly, and Sneyd got the service they needed.

Missing Danny and Shaul from our spine was a big handicap, but the stand in players did so well and even Miloudi who had a nightmare first half as he presented the Wildcats with two tries came good in the second, while Fash had a good game and Green and Bowden did a lot better on the rotation and really took the game to the opposition. Of course Taylor again had a real captain’s knock and showed almost super human levels of energy after his heroics just 3 days earlier.

In the end , all round it was a good two points that looked very unlikely at half time and indeed again, two minutes from the end. So shelled shocked were Wakey with that drop goal that they forgot to attempt a short kick off, although they lined up for it, and once the ball was in our hands in our own 10-meter area the clock ticked down to a famous two points. What an important win that was by the hooter went.

So we were on to Saints and a game that would be a real bonus should we get a win. I believed that a win would of course be great, but facing the best team in the League in such circumstances meant for me that it would be nice, but not absolutely essential, in the bigger scheme of things. Three wins on the spin had just about got us back where we needed to be, so anything else would prove to be a bonus.

The sun sets on our Easter Programme at Saints.

All the Coaches tell you that it’s the last game of the Easter Marathon that gets you and you couldn’t really have a bigger ask than to go to the League leaders, Saints, who were riding on the crest of a Ben Barba inspired wave. Everyone else in Super League had managed to get themselves shifted to a Saturday or Sunday slot to help overcome the fatigue, but of course thanks to Sky TV we were battling Saints as the only Friday night fixture of the weekend.

After we had all got over the news that Ben Barba was out, Mr Hick started faultlessly, as the official at least managed to blow the whistle to start the game! Then as the first Saints try was scored right in front of the FC fans, I did wonder as usual why, when you are trying to catch a ball over the try line as the attack is running at you, we don’t just bat it dead and live to fight another day.

The writing was on the wall for me even as early as that first score, but we battled on and Sneyd was desperately unlucky to not get a great 40/20 which just bounced back in field. Then we actually had a score disallowed from Griffin who touched down in front of the Hull player that had batted on the ball. Then, disaster stuck with the sight of Taloanoa disappearing down the tunnel limping which certainly piled on the pressure even more. We were struggling with several knocks though and it seemed every set someone got injured. Saints are without doubt a good team and were relentless in marching us back down the field with every set, as Fash was next to tramp off with blood pouring from his mouth and although he returned he was after the game diagnosed with a broken jaw that could keep him out a couple of months.

Continues to shine at Centre; Griffin on the march.

Bowden gave a soft penalty away at the tackle and Shaul saved us at the expense of a drop out, but our backs were already firmly to the wall. It was real rear guard defensive stuff and we were, I felt, lucky to be still only 6 points behind after 28 minutes. Then three minutes later Jordan Lane was almost in after a rare sorte downfield, but we dropped the ball over the line when a try on the left was on. The first half finished with us just trailing by 6 points, but it had been a bit like the ‘Siege of Moscow’, with Saints making all the play and targeting our retreating players around the ruck to great effect, whilst we at least came back a bit towards the end of the half, but that said by and large the Saints defence looked impenetrable.

All the while the referee gave some worrying calls again, including a ball going 4 yards backwards out of a tackle and being deemed to have been knocked forward. However, the overall view of the game amongst the fans at half time was that we had been amazingly smart in defence but after so much effort one just had to wonder just how much petrol we had left in the tank.

The second half started badly as Jack Logan lost a high kick as a Saints player got in his eye line and straight from the scrum as our defensive line was all over the place, Percival was in. It was all going against us with an unlucky penalty followed by two more points to Saints after a dangerous tackle. The officials were doing OK, but still baffled me at times as an accidental off-side was wiped off in favour of a baffling knock on. When again as far as the players of both sides were concerned, confusion reigned.

A great dink over the top from Sneyd almost got Shaul away, before a forward pass right out of the American Football playbook put us in. You will rarely see a worse decision from a linesman, who you could only presume was so intent on informing the referee of a knock on he thought he saw in the build-up (that wasn’t there), that he forgot to put his flag up!!!! Although a pass that was at least 3 yards forward benefitted us, you have to say that the quality of our officials is shocking at times, wouldn’t you agree?

Poor old Jack Logan lost the ball in a tackle after he had done so well to get off his line, and we got out of jail after a good video referee decision about a double movement but then after a Saints player got in the line and Taylor missed it, Zeb Tia got in and that was that really.

We got a great late try through Abdull and Green and Sneyd, on the hurry up, drop kicked the conversion. However, we lost our way again in a good position before they came back to kill us off, but I guess, for all the oppositions possession and constant pressure, a resolute and hardworking FC defence had at least kept the deficit to 14 points. We looked a bit sharper in those last few minutes as well, but that was when it was all too late. It came about because at last Kelly found some room to operate in, but it was only a valient failing effort against a very good team, who did enough to keep us at bay pretty much throughout the game. We battled valiantly throughout but simply had too many tired minds I’m afraid.

For me Bowden, Carlos, Griffin (who continues to impress) and Taylor were the pick of our players, but personally we never really looked capable of producing the end of set plays needed to put them under real pressure at the back, or the inventive plays that were required to pierce a really good Saints defence.

So, a valient effort came to nought, as in the end it wasn’t that our forwards weren’t big enough or strong enough but rather that we just ran out of players, energy and ideas. Fash going off was a big loss, whilst Talanoa was really missed in the second half for his driving out of defence that is so effective as team’s tire. That said, as often happens when you are under the pump, at times we were pretty unlucky with the cards we were dealt as well.

More impact needed off the bench.

Tiredness had taken its toll and watching it back afterwards, we were second best all evening. We had players either missing or carrying knocks and didn’t seem to have much in the way of spark at all really, whilst Saints, who had steered pretty clear of injuries and kept an almost intact 17 right over the Easter period, still looked more hungry and fresher than us. As happens when you down a bit, all the adversity that came our way in the form of bad decisions, injuries and bad luck came at exactly the wrong time during the game and the result, if you step away from the actual passion of it all, was never really in doubt from the start of the second half.

Those facts are for me what we can glean from last Friday and we now have to regroup and try and get something next Thursday at Widnes. Some say to me we have to get a replacement for Watts as if that would be some sort of ‘silver bullet’ solution to all our problems. However I think that we are at present, in the front row, a Club in transition because, do we go out and get what is available out there to sign, (nothing much), or persist with Matongo and Fash to support Taylor, Paea, Green and Bowden? Its likely with some game time that the two youngsters will be as good if not better than anything we could sign right now. However, to get that critical playing time, they have to get the minutes on the field, so it’s a bit of a ‘catch 22’ for the Coach really.

So onto other things and I wonder how Mahe Fonua feels these days having gone from being the idol of the KCOM and much celebrated and almost held in awe by all FC fans, to playing second grade rugby for the West Magpies. It was pretty common knowledge that his family just couldn’t settle here and that was why he decided to try his luck in the NRL again, but I just wonder if he ever regrets leaving the FC Army behind?

Adams programme notes for the April Edition of the 18th man (which certainly seems to be going well as a replacement for the match day programme) were without doubt revealing and included some stuff that every FC fan will have found interesting. They certainly deserve a closer look I think, so here goes.

Firstly, the news that we had made what was described as a ‘substantial offer’ to Albert Kelly to stay at the Club (which could I guess make him a sort of Marquee player), was certainly welcome by everyone. We are trying really hard to keep a player that is respected and indeed feared across the competition. Adam emphasised how settled his family and the player is, but that could just be emphasising the lengths we have gone to keep him, when we expect in the end he’ll end up in the NRL. Or, hopefully, it could be an indication that we are well positioned to pull off a contract extension. Time as I always say will tell.

Adam never mentioned Talanoa who is still out of contract at the end of the season and I hope that they are looking carefully at doing something abou that as soon as possible. He is only still unsigned because we were told that the Club wanted him to prove his fitness, but as joint leading try scorer in the game as I write this, I think he’s done that, although another knock at Saints can’t have helped.

Our owner then went on to discuss his disappointment concerning Hadley’s injury and then spoke about the signing of Lewis Bienek from London Broncos. He’s an interesting bloke who looks nothing short of ‘Superman’ in his video clips, but then again it looks as if he’s playing against school kids, rather than Championship players, at times. He’s an absolutely massive talent in every way and Adam revealed that we had paid a big fee for him and beaten both Wigan and Warrington to his signature. For me, to beat those two shows exactly the standing we have as a Club and augers well for the future.

Then Adam went on to more revelations this time about the progress being made to revise and redevelop the game. We all know that at present the game as a whole is going through a significant change in structure and Adam said of this “We are, as the Directors of Super League, very close to announcing significant and positive changes for the future. Ian Lenagan (Wigan), Eammon McManus (St Helens), Neil Hudgell (Hull KR) and myself are the negotiating team trying to effect the changes” Perhaps that’s why Gary Hetherington, at every chance he gets, consistently pours cold water on any talk of re-organisation. Our owner continued, “We hope that will start to move Super League forward in a positive way, in conjunction with the other clubs”.

Competition structure, broadcasting deals, Board structure and sponsorship revenues are all apparently on the agenda and will be addressed we are told again, “in the near future”. The article continued to say that a new Super League CEO is to be to announce (probably from Everton FC) in the near future as well and Adam concluded that “We have some really exciting initiatives and plans for the future and our new CEO is just the man to deliver our goals for the next five years, as we try to establish rugby league as a premier UK and international sport”. With apparently only a couple of Clubs dragging their feet, time again will tell, but let’s hope something comes about eh?

I had an interesting letter this week form reader Kevin who always keeps in touch and isn’t one to moan. However, this time he certainly made a good point as it concerned a ridiculous situation on the Walton street Car Park on match days. It’s pretty self-explanatory but all the same it seems to be a right mess all round. I’ve passed it onto the powers that be but he wrote….

“Are the stadium management company waiting until a car is hit by a train at the spring bank level crossing before opening another gate for entry to the car park [ £ 5.00 quagmire]. Even before the Catalans match Spring Bank both ways and Chanterlands Ave were gridlocked [rovers was the same and also even Wakefield] . It took 30 mins to leave the car park after the Wakefield game as the 3 exit gates at the spring bank end of the car park were all locked”

What’s all that about eh?

Now, just have a look at this!!

My Pal and extra-ordinary FC fan Kathy was 70 last month and her son Richard and the family gave her this wonderful hand painted piece as a present. It features her, in her FC colours aged 23 surrounded by images of her favourite players ‘Knocker’ Norton, Arthur Keegan, Clive Sullivan and Johnny Whiteley.

Whilst we are on the nostalgia stuff this week as the rain poured down I found myself remembering a game from the 1970’s, so in Codgers Corner this time I’d like to take you back to January 1977. That was a time when the City was rocked by the news that a tragic fire at the Wensley Lodge Old people’s home in Hessle had seen 12 men burnt to death and sport was the last thing on a lot of people’s minds. The whole City was in mourning. However as is always the case in times of local and national grief, sport continued there in the background bringing some semblance of order and consistency to things and so on 16th January I and about 4000 other supporters went along to a home game against Keighley at the Boulevard.

It had been a typical January in many ways with outdoor activities severely interrupted by the coldest weather that the region had seen for 13 years, as frosty nights and heavy snow brought the local road and rail network to a grinding halt. However, as it seemed was always the case back then in the East Riding the bad weather went as fast as it arrived and then the problem was flooding, with Springhead Golf Course, the Cricket Circle and Oak Road Playing Fields all under water. In fact by the Thursday before the game the South West corner of the Boulevard was under ‘a foot of water’, with just three days to go to the match.

Luckily the club were able to get the Council to provide some pumps and piping and managed to get all the water pumped away and into the drains in Division Road, whilst Fred Daddy the Groundsman was able to mark out the pitch. That meant that we were able to look forward to an exciting if not soggy encounter with the team from Lawkholme Lane in the West Riding.

On the morning of the match it was still raining although local radio had informed us at 10-00am that the game was to go ahead, although there was an appeal for fans to go down to the Boulevard with garden forks to help get some of the standing water that was gathering on the touchlines away. It was an important game because although we had experienced a run of four losses before Christmas since a Boxing Day defeat at York we had won the last two matches and we were back up there battling with Keighley to regain the top spot in the League table. As we stood on the Threepenny Stand sipping our Bovril and awaiting the 3-00pm kick off, little did we know of the drama that was unfolding in the dressing rooms.

We had suffered several bad injuries in a big win at Doncaster the previous weekend and our playing resources were already stretched to the limits. The previous night at training Ibbetson had pulled out injured and second rower Tony Salmon who was already picked to play on the wing was drafted back into the forwards with a young Terry Lynn coming in onto the wing and Chris Davidson returned to the bench. Then 15 minutes before kick off a head count by Coach David Doyle Davidson revealed that Mike Stephenson our off half was missing. This set the alarm bells ringing. Brian Hancock switched back to off half, and Davidson moved into his centre spot, whilst someone was sent to Chomley Club to find Mick Crane, but there was still no one to play second substitute with Clarke. We then all knew something was wrong when there was an appeal over the Tannoy for any players in attendance at the game to go to the dressing rooms immediately.

At one stage Steve Mallinson looked likely to make his first appearance but in the end retired A team coach Kenny Foulkes took the number 15 shirt. This must have buoyed a Keighley team who had won their last four games, and as the teams ran out it was clear that they were confident of getting some reward from the game. Before the game started Dave Bassett one-time Director of the club and lifelong supporter of Hull FC was presented with a scroll enrolling him as a life member of the Humberside Sportsman’s Club. He was already the clubs first ever Vice President and this honor was met with a warm round of applause by everyone there.

After Keith Hepworth had kicked off it was not surprising that the Airliebird’s looked disjointed at times. After just 11 minutes Keighley got the chance to go ahead but failed when after Mick Crane had fouled Piencazek, Jefferson their ace goal kicker saw his penalty attempt from 30 yards out, drift just wide of the target.

From the kick off Hull broke away but a good move faltered when a Jimmy Crampton pass destined for Lynne was easily intercepted by the visitor’s winger Morgan. Then as Crampton broke again he passed back inside to Tindall ignoring completely a two man over-lap outside him that would have led to a try for Hull. After that let off Keighley fought back but we started to slowly get some cohesion into our disjointed team and a big break by Tindall would have led to a try had Hepworth not have been adjudged to have knocked on as he touched down. As we kept on the pressure Jefferson made a try saving tackle on Alf Macklin, before play was switched inside and hooker Tony Duke was held just short. However, ever alert, Tony stood up played the ball forward to himself and ambled in for an easy try which Lynn converted.

Ten minutes later in the 34th minute Boxall broke out from deep in his own half and having made about 20 yards passed onto Crampton who raced to the line only for the pass to be adjudged forward and the try disallowed. Keighley were getting frustrated now and on a couple of occasions forward’s Cardiss and Illingworth had a go at Davidson and Crane and were penalized, as referee Naughton kept a tight grip on the game. With just two minutes to go to half time ‘cheeky’ scrum half Loxton was a bit too cheeky to the official, and from the resultant penalty Lynne sent us in at half time leading 7-0.

The half time discussions amongst the fans were almost drowned out as the rain beat on the roof of the stand, but by the teams re-appeared it had stopped again and the second half started much as the first had finished. Charlie Birdsall who was playing loose forward for the visitor’s tripped centre Mick Crane as he carried the ball forward and another scuffle ensued. Nevertheless, we were now starting to play some better rugby much of which came from loose forward Nick Trotter who held the makeshift pack together superbly and instigated a lot of moves, carving out several gaps and causing the opposition problems all afternoon. He twisted clear in a tackle after 45 minutes but Tindall dropped his pass when he should have scored. However, we pressed again and Jefferson had to kick the ball dead, as Hepworth threatened to score from a grubber kick through by Crane.

From the resultant drop out Hepworth, who was now starting to run things, collected the ball and passed onto Foulkes and the veteran instigated a flowing cross field move that saw Alf Macklin score in the corner. Lynn failed with the conversion but we led 10-0. Then there was a concerted period of Keighley pressure but the visitors lacked much invention and their attacks proved too orthodox to break down what was developing into a resolute FC defence. When we did get the ball back Macklin again went close, before he took a great ball from Davidson to go wriggling and squirming towards the corner flag with three defenders in attendance. As a fourth joined the effort he popped out a great pass back inside to Mick Crane who ambled over the line untouched.

The best move of the game though came ten minutes from the end and it had everyone in the stands and indeed on both trainer’s benches, on their feet applauding. Hepworth broke the line and passed to a marauding Boxall on his shoulder who crashed down field, his blonde hair flowing in the breeze, before Chris Davidson appeared from nowhere to grab a pinpoint pass and fly in to score in the corner with four defenders trailing in his wake. With a 16-point lead we relaxed a bit and Birdsall, who was easily the visitor’s best player, sent Morgan in wide out from an obvious set move. As referee Naughton blew his whistle for the end of the game we jumped over the railings and slipped and skidded our way across the morass that was the playing surface to congratulate the players and as the Tannoy let rip with a rendition of Smokey’s hit, ‘Living Next Door to Alice’ the players left the field for a well-earned plate of sandwiches and a beer or six. We were back on top of the league!

So the silly season is over and we move onto a more sedate one game a week format for the rest of the campaign. However, despite St Helens, I think the Easter period has been kind to us because we really needed the 6 points we gained before that game, to maintain at least a challenge to the top four teams. But for me, the whole Easter format still has to be looked at, because it is causing a lot of visible strain on our players and those of other clubs across the game. At Hull FC we are certainly struggling for both some form and ‘some bodies’, but we just have to get on with it and try to scrape some points here and there, until we can get a more representative and settled line up out there on the field.

Our back three starting forwards at Saints worried me before we even kicked off, because without players like Mini and Manu operating on the fringes of the pack we were always going to struggle. Still what’s done is done and I’ll remember that performance at Rovers and THAT drop goal against Wakefield for a long time to come.

I had an amazing amount of correspondence this week after the Diary returned from a short break and now we’ll battle on in here for the rest of the season, although due to circumstances beyond my control,

    next weeks will be out a day late on Tuesday 17th April

. Thanks for all you support, to Uppo 10 for the picture I ‘borrowed’, and for all your suggestions, complaints and comment which are all gratefully accepted.

We really need now to try and get something against Widnes on their plastic pitch (which is never easy) to keep things on an even keel and it’s a pity, (due to us, for some reason, reversing the fixture), that we aren’t playing the game at home as was originally intended. I say that because we are just starting to look to be a team that is hard to beat at home. Still, whatever the outcome I’ll be back next Tuesday, if I’m spared!

Keep Believing if you can!

Faithfully Yours