The Dentist’s Diary – 580th

I didn’t go to France I had stuff going on back in Beverley and so as usual I watched the game at home on Sky, well done to those who went, but I think if I had, I would have been bitterly disappointed by the end.

Watching on the TV, it wasn’t much better. It was certainly exciting, edge of your seat, get behind the settee stuff, but for all the wrong reasons! When Bowden dropped that ball near the end when all we had to do was drive it out and kick deep to grab a point, it really epitomised the whole game, for we were pretty dysfunctional and careless for a lot of the time. In fact, we were in disarray long before we lost Kelly and Abdull and throughout we lacked the poise and structure to break down possibly the worst team of ‘con-men’ in Super League. For there is little doubt that the Frenchmen’s theatricals are unbelievable at times.

But, we didn’t help ourselves at all and in another of Mr Childs two hour marathons, we operated a compressed defence that left us open a bit on the wings, but even that didn’t work as we missed around 30 tackles many of which were down the middle. OK, there were some mitigating circumstances, we had some adversity before and during the game and it was hot out there, but there was no real excuse for some of our dumb play and the way that we let the home team dictate the game. We just seem to concede so much ground to other team’s packs these days, we lose the wrestle at times and constantly allow teams back into games.

The fact is, we should have won, we should have had two points and been back in the top 4, but instead we came home on Saturday night empty handed, bashed up and with a good deal of egg on our faces. It was a disappointing outcome all round for me because we fell into their trap, they slowed us down and we let them!!

I have to be honest here because, to me on Saturday we looked decidedly like a mid-table team, for there is no point beating the Champions one week, if you go and get beaten yourself by a team at the bottom of the league the next. With ten games to go to the split we are still waiting for the complete performance and its now moving towards the important bit of the season when we position ourselves for the final push. Let’s hope that showing was just a blip!

Of course there is always next week and we have a great chance to get back on the horse against Castleford this coming Saturday at the KCOM, but we are hardly engendering much confidence with that display are we? I don’t think, from what I have seen, that we actually know what our best team is at present, furthermore we seem to lack any sort of organisation on the field when we have any disruption or lose players to injury. For us this year it seems to be Plan A or nothing.

We know that if you aspire to be a good team and have ambitions of finishing in the top four you have to get over adversity in such games and against opposition that is niggling at every opportunity and struggling for confidence and points, you keep it tight and only open it up when the chances come. More importantly, you have to wait for those chances to present themselves. In the end we were only in it until the last minute because they kept inviting us back into the game in the final quarter, their discipline was shocking, but we got sucked into it all and ended up little better than them.

It hadn’t started well, as we awoke on Saturday, to be greeted by the news that Jamie Shaul had been left at home in England following a family bereavement and Marc Sneyd was suffering with illness and had stayed behind too. It seemed that after one week when we had our first choice spine intact and they really fired against Leeds, we were back to square one and two down in that department before we even got started. It was a cruel blow, which was about to get even more cruel still, but we had to get on with it I guess!

Sammo and the boys get ready for the game on Saturday Morning.

My pal told me he was speaking to Steve McNamara on Saturday morning and he was certainly very nervous about the game and I guess he wasn’t on his own either. All the while in Salou and the resorts around the Catalans base, the Hull fans enjoyed the sun shine and looked forward to a game which is always for the FC, one of the hardest away trips on the calendar.

A good collection of the FC fans taking ‘the waters’ before the game.

So I settled down to watch the game, wondering exactly what would happen. We should have had two points well and truly covered, but I knew that rugby league is never ever like that and ‘On any Given Sunday’ anyone can beat anyone. The weather was brilliant and a good travelling army of FC fans basked in temperatures of 23 degrees. The big news was that Abdull was starting at scrum half, only hours after being named by Donny for their game against Bradford on Sunday. In fact, he had been on the plane instead of Marc Sneyd, all the time.

We started well with a great 40/20 from Albert Kelly leading to a good push over try for Scotty Taylor. After that I thought we were scrappy at times and missing the direction of Sneyd as we wasted some good positions and ball near their line. At that point in the match our possession could have seen us build a 20 point lead and we would have had the game won, but we didn’t and I guess it was only a matter of time before they scored and we started to look a bit in disarray, as they started to come forward at us. But then I thought that try from Miloudi was quite exceptional because despite some slip shod defending it had to be scored and for me the lad did really well. However, we almost conceded straight away and we were lucky to be granted an obstruction to deny them a try at the other end; and so the back and forth stuff began!

By the half hour mark we looked pretty disjointed on attack and it just wasn’t working. The game ebbed and flowed this way and that, as did the mistakes, but Kelly was trying really hard although even he couldn’t get any cohesion into a line that at times looked all at sea. I thought at half time, we were so far off the way we played last week, it was hard to recognise us as the same team. We hadn’t run onto the ball, our passing was pedestrian, there were few dummy runners, little evidence of us punching holes in their line and in the latter stages we’d even stopped taken it to the line before passing the ball.

Luckily for long periods, they were worse than us, but they certainly picked up at the start of the second half when we were nothing short of abject as they strolled down the wing with a two man overlap whilst our cover defence looked to be still in the changing rooms. However, 6 behind and just when we all thought it was going away from us, Scott Taylor ran through the middle for a great try that got us back in the fight. What an effort it was and at last we were in the ascendancy. Kelly buzzed around almost breaking the line with every carry, but then disaster struck him as he contracted what looked like a bad leg injury and we were fast running out of play making options.

Faraimo’s intervention to intercept the ball out on the wing saved a certain try, but then as Abdull copped a really bad break to his leg, we saw the last remnants of our ‘spine’ disappear completely. Miloudi and Carlos tried hard to help Houghton get things going but we simply ran out of play makers and thus ideas. That Abdull injury was certainly one that was very hard to watch back and he was in a lot of pain as his ankle visibly bent sideways.

I was reminded throughout that Catalan are a nasty team, always spoiling, always playing on the edge, but instead of rising above it all, we were constantly getting drawn into their spoiling tactics. It was now all coming apart. The two points Miloudi conceded under the posts came from a dubious penalty, and at 24-22 it looked as if the injuries we had conceded and our abject lack of organisation at times, had done for us. We just had too many players missing, but true to the game and the poor quality and indiscipline of both teams, a fortuitous penalty got us back into it. That penalty they conceded under the sticks that saw us draw level had been a disaster from the French point of view, but we manage to equal that, when Bowden dropped the ball in front of our posts with 50 seconds left.

What a shambles that ending became and what a disappointing way to concede the points it was, as the way that Bowden failed to value the possession depicted exactly the way that the previous 79 minutes had gone. You know, I always want to be positive in here, but after a showing like that it’s hard to find many plus points at all.

Performance wise I thought that Miloudi had a good game. A bit suspect under some teasing high balls around the posts he tackled well, made no mistakes in defence, scored a great try and looked a real box of tricks with the ball. I thought Talanoa tried hard with the ball up the middle but didn’t get any scoring chances whilst for me on the other wing Bureta had a pretty ineffective game. Griffin worked hard and Connor tried to get things moving but seemed to struggling with knowing just where he was supposed to be playing and ended up being pretty ineffective. Abdull did his best before he was injured, but in another error ridden performance he isn’t for me the answer at present, he simply isn’t up to it and his tally of five mistakes weighed heavy on the team on a hot afternoon.

In Kelly however, we had the potential game breaker, before he broke down himself! We missed Sneyd in there in that second half, because we really needed some organisation at that point to kill the game off. Carlos certainly showed enterprise when he came on and must be pushing for a start, but few if any besides Taylor really shone.

Up front Tag was simply massive. He scored two great and contrasting tries and was our Man of the Match by a mile, as well as being perhaps the best forward on the field, while Matongo and Paea suffered a bit from poor service but drove the ball in hard and tried to gain the front foot we needed. Danny Houghton did what he always does and led from the front but again he lacked direction at crucial times and made two errors and gave two penalties away. Our back three were pretty ineffective though, Mini and Manu, before he went off injured, tried hard but could not stamp their mark on the proceedings, whilst Hadley drove in well, but never seemed to get the breaks he usually does. And whilst Jordan Lane continues to look the part he again made two big mistakes when we were on the charge. Boy we miss Wattsy in those situations!

So, all in all we came as close as you possibly can to getting a point on paper, but for me we were miles away from it on grass!!! We are simply so much better than that performance and we should have won!

Now we have to assess our injuries, determine how we can fix the team up for next week and look to improve massively before Castleford, otherwise we will be on the end of another defeat come 7-00pm next Saturday. That is, I know, all a bit negative and of course just my point of view, but for me, after such a good showing last week, it’s hard being an FC fan at present.

So to the week past and you know that Garry Schofield is a right prat. I’m fed up of him making hay at the expense of Marc Sneyd, just because he’s in the media, becauae he thinks he knows it all and because he can!! I have a good mate who knows Schofield well. He once asked him why he was so outspoken and controversial about players, Clubs, officials, and in fact everything that moves in Rugby League circles and he just said, “Because it’s the only way I can keep my job”. What a sad indictment of a journalist that is and how he could say this week that Marc is ‘not a match winner and nothing more than a good kicker’, beggar’s belief. Sneydy was our play maker in the last two successful Challenge Cup Finals leading the winning team around the field all afternoon and indeed won the Lance Todd Trophy for his efforts on both occasions.

He’s a great play maker and a brilliant half back, but he’s dependent on the players around him to do what they have practised and as with all players of that ilk, sometimes they don’t and he also has off days himself when whatever he tries doesn’t come off. Funnily enough, all players occasionally do that Mr Schofield. That happens to all the great half-backs and we’ve seen it so many times over the years. Sneyd is the player for the big occasion and the go to man when times are tough and the chips are down. Why Schofield has to see him as his arch nemesis, I have no idea, but as a journalist he lacks any credibility and quite frankly, just as when he produced those outbursts in the press in the 80’s, when he left us for Leeds in such acrimonious circumstances, he still talks a load of crap! I just hope the fans of the Club and indeed Marc take no notice.

Now, talking of it never being easy as an FC fan, I always say in here that I never avoid an issue and always try to look objectively at what’s happening at the Club I love, good or bad, whatever the subject matter and however unpalatable it is. As a reader you would now I suspect expect nothing less and after almost 13 years of doing the diary you’d certainly have a go at me if I suddenly started avoiding things, wouldn’t you? This week there has been an elephant in the room that everyone seemed to be avoiding talking about, as we all asked, “What the hell was going on in McDonalds late last Friday night?”

What a torrid old weekend a lot of FC fans had, as many of us were certainly upset with what we saw on social media. The Rovers fans loved rubbing our noses in it all, whilst as FC fans, we were also I guess, preparing ourselves for bad news surrounding, Albert Kelly, a player that has become quite a hero and in the process, set our back line alight.

That said, once we had seen the video there is no way any one of us could condone his behaviour, nor should we!! You can’t just explain it away, as every player who plays professional sport has a ‘duty of care’ to the supporters and their employers and an example to set for younger fans. He was certainly drunk and he should also have known that it being such a public place, meant that some ‘do gooder’ would video it all and soon it would be going viral. It was all a bit set up for me, but that doesn’t make it any better and his insulting and disparaging behaviour to a female member of McDonalds staff was simply inexcusable. We all make mistakes, but some are simply more far reaching than others.

The Hull Daily Mail were very subdued with it all. They handled the drug abuse stuff from Rovers the week before really well I thought and one can only presume they thought better than to go public with this stuff too, so they kept stum as the rumours raged across social media. Of course, on there, certain individuals wanted him hung out to dry in public and sent the video all over the place! Yes, we all have a laugh at each other across the river, but with some, desperate to get one over the other side, that’s the way things go these days, I guess.

I believe that at Hull FC the culture is such that discipline is paramount and is dealt with in two ways, by the administration and by the player’s peers. Hull FC were straight on the case last Sunday. They investigated the incident, conducted the necessary interviews, admonished the player and moved on. At our club, it is all done very officially and there is a written and agreed procedure with regard to matters of discipline featuring a due process of warnings etc. I actually know first-hand of one player who was put on a final written warning at the Club, so I know that is the case.

Then there is perhaps the even more daunting prospect of facing the senior players group where discipline is monitored from within. Being judged and chastised by your peers is always a tough one and I certainly wouldn’t want to face Lee Radford under such circumstances either, would you. I expect the quality of the chicken nuggets will have been a long way down the agenda of that discussion!!

I have to admit that Albert’s behaviour disappointed me no end, although at least it appears that the Club took control of the situation and the messages coming out of the organisation. Once the necessary action had been taken by them, their only statement was that the matter had been dealt with internally and we all had to try and moved on. We will never know exactly what happened, it’s all been handled within the club’s disciplinary procedure and kept private and perhaps that’s as it should be.

However, as fans the whole sorry episode has certainly left a nasty taste in many mouths. I spoke to some very disappointed pals who are FC supporters on Friday night and they certainly, like me, felt they had been let down by the whole incident. The Club has acted and the issue has been ‘put to bed’ but believe me, there are now some bridges to be built by Albert with one or two fans including, as I say, a few I know personally.

Now to happier things, and if there was ever a case of someone coming up on the blindside or flying under the radar this season it has to be Jordan Lane. He has shot to prominence in the quietest of ways (if you get what I mean) both thanks to some unfortunate injuries to senior second rowers and the youngster’s ability to jump ahead of Jansin Turgut and Jordan Abdull in the FC junior players pecking order. Jordan only made his senior debut during Hull’s 20-16 defeat at Leeds Rhinos last month and has now played in six of the last eight matches, including starts in the wins against over the Catalans Dragons and Hull KR and the loss at St Helens. In that time he has showed a strength of character and focus that belies his tender years.

In modern day rugby it often takes ‘a structured’, measured development of a player over a couple of seasons, (as is the case with Masi) so to see someone catapulted into the first team and what’s more sticking there, is very unusual indeed. However, as I must have said at least 6 times on here this season, the difference is that when we introduce such players from the bench the intensity no longer dips. OK, he makes a few mistakes but in general Lee is very astute these days with the way he rotates his substitutions but none the less there is little doubt that Jordan is a real talent and our coach obviously feels a lot more comfortable with his ability to step into the fray, than he does with other young players who he has now apparently displaced in the pecking order.

The Cup draw that took place last week at last saw us drawn against a Club outside the 11 other Clubs in Super League. But, Featherstone will fancy their chances and let’s face it they should on that pitch in front of a really partisan crowd. It will be really tough and anything but the absolutely right mind set or a repeat of that Catalan form could easily see us undone. However, if we, as current Challenge Cup holders have any sort of aspirations to get back to the great arch of North London again in August, we would be expected to win out in this one and with at least 4 Super League teams going out at this stage, it’s a great opportunity to progress there again. The Cas/Saints draw is a massive one and the Toronto/Warrington match will gauge just how far the fledgling Canadian guys have progressed. It should be an interesting weekend indeed.

Well like most of the issues we seem to have with our game I have harped on and on in here, over the last few months about the ball that we play with and its inability to cope with wet weather. Two weeks ago after that poor game between Leeds and Wigan at Headingley, Jon Bateman blamed the ball for the stop/start nature of the game and for the number of handling errors. I noticed that he said on Twitter afterwards, “Interesting to hear the commentators saying it wasn’t a free-flowing game. How about giving us a ball that’s not like a bar of soap when it’s wet then?”.

Bateman may well be talking a load of balls here, but he’s not the first player to complain about the Rhino brand that we currently use, or who has lament the loss of the much-loved Steeden ball which was good to handle whatever the conditions. It’s such an easy issue to rectify really isn’t it? Don’t we want to treat the attending fans stood there in the to a great spectacle of a game. Surely we should be striving to ensure we do whatever the weather? However as usual with the RL no one takes any notice of the fans, the pundits, the media and indeed as with Mr Bateman, the players, we just, like with so many things in our game, carry on regardless.

Something else I have discussed at length for weeks now, subject of video referee’s is now becoming the hot top across the game and I listened to BBC Radio Manchester’s ‘Sport at Six’ podcast last week, when presenters Jack Dearden and Trevor Hunt discussed the video refereeing system, whether the use of the man on the gantry was a good or bad thing and whether they helped the game or otherwise. League Express managing editor, Martyn Sadler, was a guest on the show and he concurred with my point of view that we should perhaps consider getting rid of the video referee altogether.

He said: “I thought they were great innovation when they first came in, but now I don’t think they are and I would get rid of them all together. There are several problems with video referees, but I would say the main problem is when we have only got them for two games out of six on a weekend, you will find that games are refereed differently to those that aren’t on television”.

Of course what we all want is for games to be refereed the same way right across the game. In the NRL, there are eight games every weekend and every-one is televised and every single game has the use of a video refereeing system in the bunker. This gives a consistent approach to the use of technology and they have very well defined rules on what can and can’t be adjudged on by the video official. However here some clubs feature on TV more than others and that’s not fair because some tries that are awarded or not awarded in a TV game, would possibly see the opposite decision were the game not televised.

The ridiculous situation surrounding the obstruction rule is one such case because in the game at present we have too much gamesmanship and some defending players are masters of pretending to be obstructed, as they deliberately run into a dummy runner, tumble over and then get a penalty for obstruction whilst the opposition have a perfectly good try yards away turned down. That would not happen in the majority of cases where there isn’t the presence of a video referee, so it’s influencing the results of games. I think most of all however that if we have to have the official on the gantry, the referee should not have to elect try or no try. If for some reason the referee is unsighted then he should go to the video referee and say “I didn’t see it you decide” unlike what happens at present where he elects what he thinks the score is and then after a word in his ear about ‘an obstruction’ the referee hasn’t seen either, he asked for the VR to check for an obstruction as well.

As I say I’d get rid of the VR’s and leave all the acting and off the ball foul play to the judiciary after the game. For me it’s either have them at all games or get rid of them altogether.

There is one question a lot of people were asking this week and that was, what is the secret to York City Knight’s success? Is it their head coach, James Ford? Is it the playing group they have put together? Is it their incredible work on social media and in marketing their product? Or, is it the ubiquitous Jon Flatman who left us, became a deputy head at a local school, went onto become Chief Executive at Wakey before he took the reins and masterminded the revival of York City Knights with, so far, great success. Who knows but perhaps indeed in the end it is a culmination of all of those things, plus more.

Last Sunday the League One outfit became an adopted team for 25,000 people for the afternoon as they watched the BBC’s live stream of York pushing Catalans Dragons all the way in the Challenge Cup. In addition, over 3,000 packed Bootham Crescent, which was more than double the attendance at the Widnes Vikings’ cup tie with Coventry Bears. It was also a bigger gate than at the AJ Bell Stadium, as Salford Red Devils defeated Wakefield Trinity in a Super League fixture!

However, It did fall short of their record attendance, as 4,221 supporters watched their dramatic opening day loss to Bradford Bulls, however the lack of any travelling supporters from Catalan compared with the 1000 or so that came over from Bradford had some bearing on that figure too. When you take that into consideration, last Sunday’s attendance of 3,081, is infinitely more impressive really. Whatever the actual detail, those figures show just what a brilliant job the Knights are doing on and off the field. What’s more that brilliant gate almost witnessed a real fairy tale triumph over their hugely favoured opponents, but in the end the French outfit just had enough to pull away in the final stages of the tie.

In nothing else this was at least a glowing example of why perhaps, despite all the assignations going on behind the scenes at present, the third tier should remain beyond the 2018 season.

You know what this highlights is the fact that there are plenty of sleeping giants out there, rugby league towns and cities desperate for direction, and in most cases, funding. With no word on the future of the competition still to be delivered, it must be really hard for clubs like York to plan past the current season. No investor will be willing to plough money into a League 1 outfit now, as the fear of that same team ultimately becoming an amateur operation looms.

Yet, League 1 is the strongest it has ever been, with Bradford rebuilding, Doncaster leading the way and Workington Town, Whitehaven and Keighley Cougars competing for promotion. Whitehaven, in fact, put out a Championship Club for the second round running in the cup too!! As for York well I just have to say Well done to Flatty and all concerned it’s great to see such a success story just down the road and it’s happening to a Club that has had so much strife and trouble over the last two seasons.

You know, it is very rare for Hull KR to ever do us any favours but here in Codgers Corner this week we look at one game in which they might just have done that very thing. The 1985/86 campaign was one that saw the halcyon years of the early 1980 on the wane, as the club battled retirements, injuries and a lack of form, in fact as we entered the month of April we had only won four times away from home and had even had some real tonking’s, something that many of the ‘Johnny Come lately’ bandwagoning fans of that era, were certainly not used to. We had been beaten away 57-14 by Saints, 44-6 by Wigan and 43-16 by Warrington, so times were starting to get tough again and we seemed to lack the cash to do much about it. Gates were probably the main problem though and we had seen home attendances drop steadily from the 14,000’s of 1982 to sometimes only 5 to 6 thousand that season. It was as if the fans had just had too much success really, they still supported the club, but just didn’t do it with their feet or their cash. By April 1986 we were mid table, a situation that we were not used to at all, and things weren’t helped by the fact that Rovers had just beaten Leeds in an energy sapping semi-final which saw the mortal enemy progress to Wembley, (where thankfully they were to be beaten by Castleford).

On this breezy spring Sunday I went along to Headingley for the League encounter against the ‘Loiners’ which took place the weekend after that cup semi final on Sunday, 6th April. I drove over to Headingley having just changed my car and bought myself an Opal Manta and believe me it motored. In those days Leeds were not particularly well supported and the 1500 or so FC fans that made the trip were only joined by just over 4000 Leeds fans in a gate that totalled just 5,829. It was a windy afternoon and as was our want back then the FC Army completely took over the South Stands and before the match the rafters rang to the strains of ‘Old Faithful’ despite the fact that most of us were pretty disgruntled about the club’s demise and the League position we were in. In those days we sang no matter what!

Leeds’ were certainly no pushovers but looking back I do think that it’s a distinct possibility that their disappointment and stress after the previous weekends defeat helped us too that day. We kicked off with the wind at our backs and played from left to right, when viewed from our vantage point in the South Stand. In the first set of six Lee Crooks hit Rayne with a pretty high shot that went unpunished and then Dannett and Skerrett drove Grayshon back about ten yards with a blistering two man tackle. When we got the ball, half back Gascoigne worked hard to get our speedy outside backs moving and one long pass to Kevin James almost led to a score after 8 minutes. Then quick service from Divorty saw the ball go wide which created an opening for Leuluai who drew Creasser and put O’Hara in for a simple touch-down wide out. Lee Crooks brilliantly allowed for the wind and we watched his conversion drift just inside the posts and we were 6-0 up.

Next it was Divorty’s turn to score. Our loose forward was proving to be a real live wire on attack and causing the Leeds cover untold problems as he created play at both sides of the ruck. Trevor Skerrett was having a great game as well and he drove in and managed to slip a short pass out to Gary who was following him on his shoulder. Away raced Divorty, and round Leeds full back Mark Conway, to score. This was an easier conversion for Crooks and after just 15 minutes we were an unexpected 12-0 up. All good things…as they say, and so it was that straight from the kick off Leeds got the ball back and as we appeared to go to sleep in the defensive line, Rayne fed onto Kevin Dick who hoisted a massive ‘Bomb’ that was destined to come down in the swirling wind, about 5 yards from our line. Both Crooks and Gary Kemble left it for each other and Grayshon nipped in to grab the ball and force his way over. Creaser goaled and Leeds were back in it.

Crooks was as usual quite brilliant in open play with ball in hand and it was he who in the 23rd minute laid a try on a plate for Gary Schofield, who took his pass and rounded a bemused Conway to touch down wide out, before another conversion re-establish our twelve point lead. Crooks who was quickly establishing his claim to be Man of the Match then found Fred Ah Kuoi open on the left and as the Kiwi drew three players to split the cover, up ran Kemble from full back as he did so well, to finish off the move. Sadly Gary pulled a hamstring on touching down and had to be replaced after the try by substitute Windley. Just on the stroke of half time we relaxed again and Kevin Dick produced a bit of typical scrum half magic as he went one way and then the other leaving Windley for dead to score under the posts and as half time arrived, we led by 22-12.

Playing into the wind in the second half we found it tough making any ground, but a break down field by Gascoigne, saw our scrum half tackled twenty yards out and as Schofield scooted to acting half, he stepped to the side and dropped a perfect goal as the ball hung in the wind and just fell over the bar. Straight from the kick off Crooks barrelled down field and into the Leeds half before releasing a superb reverse pass to Leuluai who drew Conway and put Schofield over the line, this time under the posts, and our centre converted himself and we were then pretty much out of sight at 29-12. .

As we all sung the usual “You’re supposed to be at Home” at the Leeds fans they did come back at us in the 50th minute with try by David Heron, but on 63 minutes Dane O’Hara broke away after Schofield had picked up a loose ball and Leuluai had provided the perfect pass. Dane drew Alan Smith dummied inside and then continued on to touch down in the corner and Schofield this time produced a spiralling kick to convert the score. That was it really, Savoy Tyres, who back then, sponsored the Hull FC Man of the Match both home and away, gave the award to Lee Crooks, but then again he was the only candidate for it really, as he was superb all afternoon in a game in which referee Mr Kershaw of Easingwold had little to do.

All in all it was a tremendous win, however although we were to beat Leeds again at home the following week the rest of the season was poor fare which saw us lose to Widnes, Warrington, Oldham and Halifax although our one other win was against the Dobbins 28 -2 at Caravan Park in the last but one game of the season so that made up for a lot. Still at least our performance that day put a few smiles back on some long faces and everyone went home satisfied. We missed out on the top 8 however and it was a sign of things to come as hard times were on the way, but that day at least we got a good win at Headingley and I certainly enjoyed the ride home. Boy that Mantra could motor!

So that’s it and after a week of Kelly’s misdemeanours and his, Abdull and Sneyd’s injuries and a disappointing defeat in a game that we should have won with something to spare it’s the end of another Diary. Well done to everyone who made the trek to France because all the effort you made to get there after all the travelling of this season really shows your commitment to the Club and it was great to see so many FC fans there. I’m glad I didn’t go, because I was so disappointed afterwards that I would have found it hard to party all night, but that’s just me, I still take it all a bit too seriously and like to grieve alone I guess.

Thanks to everyone who has been in touch this week, I expect we will see a bumper gate at the KCOM on Saturday and we’d better turn up or we’ll get done good and proper by Cas. However as Lee Radford said as he fumed after the game in France, “We are a good team” but we have to start getting it together soon and no mistake because after a great win against Leeds we weren’t at the races in France.

I guess we all need to keep believing!!!!

Faithfully Yours