The Dentist’s Diary –

WOW!!! where did that come from???

 

Again, for the second week running, this is a Diary that is not that easy to write, because in it I will be trying to describe and explain a performance that is perhaps best defined as unfathomable. On Friday those of us that were privileged to be in attendance witnessed what was quite an amazing victory for a bashed up, bruised and injury hit FC side, which none the less featured the best half of rugby we have seen all season. That shows, if nothing else, that we must live by some of the best values in the game, in a culture that runs right through the extraordinary group of players that we are so lucky to have at the club at present.

 

Salford were poor, no one will contest that, but our young guns took apart a team that had been sat with their feet up last weekend, whilst we had, just last Sunday, experienced one of the most intensely competed defeats we have seen for years. It had been a game that left us mentally and physically drained, and with just 5 days to turn things around. Furthermore, I guess in the context of a need to surge back again after that disappointment, Salford was a must win game.

 

Last week after a Diary that indicated my concerns about just how we could get back up for this match after that heart-breaking Saints defeat, I met lots of FC fans who didn’t disagree with me and although in the pub afterwards on Friday there were a few ‘smart arse’ after the event comments like, ‘Just what I expected’, the almost surreal and subdue acclaim the team got as they left the field after 40 minutes said it all. For on the terraces ‘shell shocked’ and ‘amazed’ were the best adjectives to describe the effect the 37-0 half time score-line had on the ten and a half thousand fans that witnessed that first half. Unexpected; you bet it was!

 

 

 

586 The Dentist Diary

 

Since last weekend, despite knowing that the dream that had been ours for almost three years had to end sometime, I’d felt a bit down, but I realised as well that we had to get back on the horse. In addition, we had to do it despite an injury crisis that was as bad as some have ever seen at the Club. Any sort of win would do for most fans, as we hoped that as a team we could somehow keep in touch with the top teams, whilst keeping well clear of the bottom 4. We all knew that we needed to try and hold the line until we could get some players back, however with Salford in such a parlous position themselves (having lost their last four games) and on the brink of the middle eight’s, I honestly expected a closer match. For me, as I approached the game, I just hoped that somehow our tired troops could hang in there and compete with a fresh and hungry Red Devils. Yet, in the end, how unfounded my doubts were to be proved.

 

 

Salford were poor and a team for whom none of the luck on offer was flowing their way at all, as they struggled to contain a rampant FC. As someone said in the second half, it was an evening for them, ‘When you know it’s just not going to be your night’ However, you have to front up to whoever you are playing and an FC team that could have been excused for not turning up at all, blew the Lancastrians away as by the half hour mark it was in effect all over.

 

No doubt expecting us to be jaded, the Salford players thought that they only had to batter us down the middle and we would crack and tire later in the game and although we did become fatigued to a certain extent in that second half, by then we were out of sight and what will be looked back on as a famous victory against the odds was ours. In the first quarter we scored four tries, but more importantly our forwards and particularly Taylor, Green, Mini and Westerman battered the opposition relentlessly down that middle. Taylor accrued over 100 yards from just 11 carries in a 25-minute spell alone! In addition, in possession our young backs provided a freshness and unpredictability that the visitors just couldn’t cope with at all. That all meant that despite losing Westy to what looks like a serious injury, we could rest Mini and Taylor for the full second half and test out the metal of our youngsters playing long minutes.

 

In a game that provided what Lee Radford described as one of the most pleasing displays of this season, we were superb as far as heart, tenacity and spirit was concerned, but with the brilliant Connor pulling the strings and the ‘young apprentice’ Harris, showing maturity way beyond his years, a few of the others like Logan, Miloudi, Downs, Fash and Litten showed up really well too. Harris does warrant a mention because he led the team around brilliantly. He’s certainly more of an organiser than Connor or Kelly and his kicking game improved no end as the game wore on. He likes to take on the line before releasing the players around him and that contrasts well with Connor’s ducking and weaving style. I can’t remember the last time we had a young British half back with such ability on our books and providing he keeps his feet on the ground he’s going to be a really good player.

 

Looking back in the cold light of Saturday morning, it was a strange game in some ways, as at times we struggled to get out of our own quarter, but at others we looked capable of scoring from anywhere. It was certainly an encounter that provided several candidates for the accolade of Man of the Match but for me I think on balance it had to go to Jake Connor. He had a great presence of mind throughout, a brilliant passing game and he showed some real maturity, plus, with 8 goals from 8 attempts, many of which were right out on the touch line, he excelled throughout.

 

Back in the bad old days of Agar and even during the reign of Peter Gentle we were severely limited when it came to covering injuries in the half backs, but these days as one goes down another steps up, with Jake and young Harris looking the part on Friday, whilst Carlos was ready to stand in if necessary as Albo and Sneydy ‘looked on from the Stands’.

 

Even Miloudi can play a bit at pivot as well so as far as creativity in our spine is concerned, we have options aplenty. Talk about strength in depth in the play making department? Litten and Washy did a great job in Houghton’s absence too and both brought something to acting half, with the former proving a real live wire in the run up to half time as the opposition struggled to keep up in the closing minutes of the first half. I guess a lot of what we saw on Friday was down to the service the backs got and the quality of ball the runners received.

 

We should have been jaded and struggling for troops and although the latter is true no one told the youngsters about the demise we were supposed to be in, as they threw the ball about quite unpredictably at times whilst some of the older hands seemed to be struggling to keep them within the agreed structure. The game fluctuated from us putting in massive shifts of goal line defence, when our try-line only survived because of the exuberance and heart of the younger players, to us cutting lose at will and putting the bemused Salford defence to the sword. A particularly great piece of last ditch defence saw Shaul brilliantly hold up Ben Nakubuwai single-handedly over the line. Whilst time and again a player would delay a Salford attacker near the whitewash as another two or three of his colleagues would pile in to shore up the tackle. It was a great defensive display, which was hard to believe under the circumstances.

 

Only when we were down to twelve men, 40 odd points up and facing back to back sets against us, where we looking a bit stretched and jaded, but by then the game was won and although flying on fumes, we still fought valiantly.

 

The fact that Salford were poor as a side is neither here nor there really, because as I said you can only play what is in front of you and a team with less injuries than us, who had just had 14 days off, should have been able to get hold of a 17, stuffed with youngsters and patched up senior professionals, that was missing around 8 starting players. However, our lads wouldn’t allow that to happen. In fact, a feisty and heroic display was a joy for us all to watch, with the Shaul try on half time, (when Bureta broke away down the right and kicked ahead back in field to find our players lining up around Shaul to grab the ball), totally summing the display up. It was a great try when everyone in the stadium, including the Salford players, thought that Connors drop goal a minute from the end, had heralded the conclusion of the first half. That just epitomised the night for me and showed a flamboyant and cavalier attitude to attacking that our heart-breaking defeat last weekend hardly merited.

 

Radders said afterwards that he ‘Wanted the younger players to experience playing beyond the point they’d usually come off and he needed them to battle through the fatigue’ before concluding by saying that the average age in the second half was 22. Well our Coach certainly got all he demanded and more and some of the performances from the youngsters (49 tackles from Downs for example) were absolutely top draw. Afterwards young Jack Logan said it was the hardest game he has ever played in and so as far as Lee was concerned his tactics had the desired effect.

 

So, from worrying about scraping a win with a bashed up and depleted FC we were left with as emphatic a victory as we could have wished for and one that leaves us well placed in the table. The middle Eights although still mathematically possible are now pretty much behind us, I think, and we are still undefeated at home which in itself is a novelty for Hull FC since our move to the KCOM Stadium. We have now, I think, to just pick up as many points as we can as we look to get some bodies back in the team. However, as for last Friday it was certainly job done!

 

Finally, I thought that the referee did well and let the game flow and a thank you to the SMC for at last ensuring that we have some goal posts that are of a height befitting one of the best teams in the country!!

 

So to the rest of the goings on at the Club and it was great to see Brad Fash come out this week and reflect the views of the FC camp, as he expounded at length the goings on in the squad since that Cup defeat. Brad is emerging both on and off the field as a massive prospect and is also developing as a maturing member of the team as well. As a no frills prop forward (the sort of player every team needs) he faces a big task, because it is a long road for such players, as the skill set for the the bashing, crashing impact role is the hardest physically to attain. He spoke well about the changing priorities within the Club and the task in hand as far as the Grand Final is concerned.

 

At present I think, like Masi Matongo, he is a great prospect. However, with a good pre-season and a bit of luck, I think that both players will be up there and fighting for a spot in the starting 17 every week in 2019, even when everyone is fit. What’s more, Bowden and Green had better watch out too, as I think these two will both be breathing down their necks.

 

The loss to Saints was a game in which we were without doubt valient in defeat and that’s not a phrase I particularly like, or indeed use lightly. Our performance was one that the whole of Rugby League had something to say about and there is no doubt that the spirit of a depleted FC made us a lot of friends and attracted a lot of admirers. That said, once the dust has settled, we heard this week that the players had a frank and positive meeting last Monday when for the first time in three seasons they had to revise their targets for the campaign mid- season and focus only on the Super League title.

 

However, it won’t just have been the players who were talking, because I expect that the Club will have had to have a good look at the rest of the season as a company and will have had to revise somewhat their financial projections as well. You see, although you never budget for a Cup semi-final or final, after two years of experiencing those bonus games and great times for retail, there is no doubt that as a business, they will be realising that as in family life, good times do tend to make you live to your new means. Before, invariably any changes in circumstances come as a jolt to that level of ‘lifestyle’.

 

Recruitment is without doubt one area that could be effected, because Adam and James Clark (despite being desperate to succeed on the field), will no doubt be hell bent on ensuring that the club continue to prosper business wise as we strive to continue the modest, yet very encouraging profits that we have made of late. Despite rumours to the contrary, I hear that Mini, Manu and Fetuli are all in talks to remain at the Club for varying periods of time and if they all sign up, there is little room for new faces to be brought in. People talk about the great work that Motu Tony did at the club (and he did some quite amazing things), but the issuing of ‘back loaded’ contracts was not one of them.

 

Indeed, without the injection of cash a Challenge Cup finale would have brought and with cap restrictions, it’s hard to see how any ‘big name’ signings will arrive, particularly with the extra strain on our finances the recent and probably early emergence of all these young guns into the first team will bring. They’ll all need to be looked after and will have trigger clauses in their contracts based on pay rises linked to first team appearances, let’s face it under normal circumstances without all of our injuries few of them would have featured at all. Perhaps the experience that they are gaining is however a blessing in disguise, as we should all remember that there are not many of that ‘marque’ class of player about or indeed available anyway.

 

So, if they are hard to find and now for Hull FC even harder to finance, we are certainly in a really good place as far as the state of our squad is concerned, there is depth, great young talent that has bags of improvement to come, some real old heads and a plethora of current and emerging leaders. When for instance you look at our squad in the last years of the Agar reign or even the first of the Radford years there is no comparison with our roster today. These days we find we have halves of the class of Sneyd, Kelly, Connor and Carlos, centres like Griffin, Connor and Carlos and a pack of forwards as big, strong and adaptable as any and better than most in the competition. Now as opposed to back then, we are certainly in a very good place.

 

How our finances continue to evolve will depend a lot on season ticket sales for next year and how the lack of the ‘Wembley buzz’ affects them. In the last two years the newer fans have basked in the reflected glory of something that the old hands have waited a life time to see, but now we are out of the Cup and so everyone needs to rally around, because the squad we have at present, (that is capable of producing displays like that on Friday and at Saints in such depleted circumstances), is pretty special and worth following and supporting. That’s just the idealistic picture from an old timer. However, whilst most of us in that category will be back again next year even though we have seen something of late that we have waited decades to experience, whatever happens now the work done by the Club and the squad and culture we have developed over the past three seasons is worthy of support and the backing of everyone. Realistically however, it isn’t like that and there are a lot of fickle fans in every sport.

 

So, unfortunately, how we fare with season ticket sales next year will in some part still be down to how we end this one.  That’s something that is at present balanced on a knife edge, between a struggle to avoid a slip backwards due to injuries and leaving ourselves in a position where we can use the last seven games, (after the split and the return of most of our troops) to make a real challenge for the top 4. If we can get in or near there with a chance and do so without the distraction of the Cup, with the weekends off that brings and indeed with a healthy squad full of quality players fresh from a break for injury, anything can happen with this roster. So for me, despite last weekend departing from the competition that we had made our own, the coming weeks bring big challenges and interesting times for every FC fan.

 

I see this week in his programme notes for the third month running Adam referred to the fact that changes to the structure for 2019 are on the way. However at least this time in welcoming the new Super League Chief Executive he also stated that the revamped set up will be announced in ‘the very near future’, but I guess the answer to that, after the whole thing has dragged on for months, is “Don’t hold your breath!”

 

You know just as the game is spending a lot of time trying to get more exposure and a wider appeal to a bigger audience, the Albert Kelly ‘McDonaldgate’ incident and the one recently involving the Tomkins Brothers has certainly brought the game tons of exposure and national publicity, but for all the wrong reasons. However, bad behaviour off the field is not a new thing and those of us who have been around the game since ‘Victorian times’ will know that it was all the rage back in the 50’s and 60’s, well it was rumoured to be, but of course what is different now is that everyone is hooked into social media and carries a mini-video camera in their pocket at all times. If you sit down and talk to any group of ex-players over the age of 60 then although they love to discuss their ‘on field’ exploits, they’ll soon move onto a plethora of extraordinary and bizarre and often drunken incidents, though I have to say that clashes with young women serving in bars or fast food places, never ever features in them!!!!

 

It is a shame when such bad behaviour gets so many column inches, when the great amount of outstanding community and charity work players do, tends not to. However, that’s just how things are in our present day, sensation seeking blame culture. That said, it’s also fair to say that bad behaviour on the field has also been an issue recently and when you stand back a bit it’s quite interesting to note that much of it has been in Challenge Cup ties involving Championship teams, particularly when they have come up against Super League sides.

 

There is a deal of petulance and hatred around in these clashes and its almost as if the focus has shifted from the old adage of ‘the minnows, full of passion and pride, wanting to get one over the big boys’, to a confrontational attitude that some pundits feel stems from an envy and jealousy about the differing circumstances, scenario’s and wage structures clubs from different divisions find themselves in. There was one red card and six yellows in our win at Featherstone Rovers, a sending-off and three sin-binnings for Toronto Wolfpack when they lost at Warrington and two dismissals and two sin-binnings during Leeds Rhinos’ win over Leigh. Of course we had three sin-binnings at Saints but all the same there does seem to be a pattern there don’t you think?

 

All this scuffling, contact after the tackle is completed and goading of players thereafter certainly doesn’t look good on television, but the growing trend towards abuse of match officials and feigning injury in such games, is even worse. There are signs that the sport is addressing those two issues and a few sending’s off’s and an extra ten yards been given here and there for dissent, will focus the minds and help that situation no end. Nevertheless, I do think there is a big need to clean up our sport both on and off the field and that has to start with some player’s understanding their responsibilities off the pitch as well as others having a close look at their attitude and obligations on it.

 

Just two words on Joel Tomkins moving to Rovers after he was suspended by Wigan for much worse than even Albert Kelly managed a few weeks ago. HOW IRONIC, is that eh? After all the slating and sending videos to the media we got from that lot across the river about Kelly’s misdemeanours!!!!

 

Talking of the state of the sport I see that this week Craig Murdoch and a couple of other pundits were lamenting that fake injury stuff that I said earlier is sadly creeping into our game. I watched the Huddersfield v Catalans cup game and it was littered with such incidents and there were even one or two when you watch our game with Saints more closely too. Everyone reading this will wholeheartedly agree that we don’t want to be going down the cynical, ‘bent’ route of football (where it would appear you don’t only have to be able to play but also need to have studied at drama school) and that it’s important that we do something about it. However, what exactly we do to sort it, other than having a couple of weeks of mass sin binning’s, I don’t know. Anyway how do you know someone is feigning injury anyway?

 

That said, all I would add is my own thoughts and those of a couple of ex-players I have spoken to in that at times the refereeing is so bad that players, (wrongly I would say), are resorting to such methods in sheer desperation and abject frustration. They are only human like everyone else and must get even more frustrated than we do with the ‘merry whistlers’ constant baffling calls, but if that theory is right, even some of the time, it still has to be sorted out. One things for sure and that is that we don’t want to be going down the same road as Football, because all my life I have prided myself in the sportsmanship and sheer honesty that our game has always promoted and projected and that for me should never change.

 

Now a big and probably final thank-you to everyone who bought the book ‘2016 The Year of the Airlie Bird’ (and for those who haven’t it’s not a bad time to have a look back at the reflected glory of that first ever Wembley win) Thanks to your efforts and with all the profits going to the Danny Houghton benefit, by the end of his year you will have raised over £3000 for our hookers Testimonial, so well done to everyone and thanks for your support.

 

Now, I have spoken a couple of times in here over the months about the resurgence of York under our ex Community Chief John Flatman and at present although they are currently a League 1 club, everything seems to be going well for the Minster club, especially when you consider that at the end of last season they were on the verge of folding completely. You’ll remember in here I spoke at length of their demise and indeed how bleak their off-field future was, as their move into a new stadium, projected to open its doors in mid-2019, seemed off the cards due to rows between the Council and the then administration of the Knights.

 

But since chairman Flatty arrived at the club, the Knights have been on the up and now everything is set for a push to the Championship. I know a couple of guys who travel to York from Beverley for every home game now and they say the atmosphere is great and Head Coach James Ford has got York playing a very good brand of rugby, as no doubt we all noticed in their performance against Catalans Dragons in the Challenge Cup and the first league match of the season against Bradford Bulls. However, it’s what the club is doing off the field that is even more impressive.

 

I have often thought that it can’t be that hard for some Clubs in the lower reaches of the game to improve their gates from the 250, 500 or 750 that they regularly get. There must be tons that can be done with hard work, the internet and willing volunteers but some just don’t seem to be bothered at all. York have got this down to a tee with some superb initiatives and ideas that have been hailed by the fans and pundits across the sport. In the lead-up to the record-breaking victory over West Wales Raiders, York’s marketing team released something called the Fordy Fivers. Many pictures were photo-shopped to have celebrities, including Leonardo DiCaprio, the Wolf of Wall Street, Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather, holding Fordy Fivers. A promotion for cheap tickets for the game.

 

It was certainly effective and with hardly anyone travelling to Bootham Cresent from Wales and a pretty unattractive game in prospect York still managed to gain a healthy crowd of 1,081 through the gates. Following on from that, York have done other eye-catching promotions such as an April Fools jibe that saw coach James Ford becoming Lord Mayor of York and that was followed last week with a story about captain Tim Spears getting a tattooed on his leg, to mimic Raheem Sterling. Innovative initiatives like this makes York stand out from the crowd. Perhaps a few other Clubs should take note and well done to Flatty for heading it all up.

 

My pal Dan Tomlinson who edits and produces one of the game’s best fanzines, the great ‘Up the Cream’ referred to me the other week in an article about Mick Crane as a fan who had supported the Club since ‘Victorian times’ which gave me and several Diary Readers a good old laugh. But I have been supporting the club season after season since around 1959 and so in the spirit of that article and a great chat I had with stalwart of the A team Tom Ball on Friday after the game, (who might even have played in the game concerned) this week by way of a change in Codgers Corner, I want to have a look back at a typical weekend for this fan, way back in 1962.

 

Back then at the tender age of 11 I had started to keep a Rugby Diary and a scrap book and on recently consulting the former, I noticed that I was just enjoying the benefit of my second season pass as a junior, bought from the club for (as their marketing said), ‘Five half Crowns‘ (that’s 65p in ‘new’ money). It was the end of the 61/62 season and we were having a difficult time as the ageing greats of the 50’s ‘Panzer Pack’ were leaving the club, and we struggled with a lack of good young players coming through and with a distinct lack of funds. We young fans though religiously watched the first team one week, and the A team the next as without a motorway network and in my case parents who struggled to make ends meet travelling to away games was almost impossible.

 

That April, we had lost 5 of our last 6 first team games, most recently to Oldham and Wakefield at the Boulevard, although despite this poor league form, we had still battled our way to another Cup semi-final when Saints were destined, three weeks hence, to ‘give us a good seeing to’ at Bradford. During the first week of the month, much of the fans discussion’s surrounded Peter Bateson, our full back and goal kicker who had been the mainstay of our successful side in the late 50’s. Peter had never been the same since Wakefield’s Rocky Turner laid him out in the game just before the two teams met in the Challenge Cup final the previous season and it looked like he was on his way out of the Club.

 

This particular weekend, myself Steve and Garry, (two other young season ticket holders) crossed the road from where we lived in Airlie Street, and went to watch the ‘A’ team take on Featherstone ‘A’ in the Yorkshire Senior Competition. It was quite a nice day, and as always for these games we took up our place on the Threepenny’s with another 700 die hard supporters. Transfer listed Bateson was in fact playing for the second string that day, whilst Arthur Keegan, a young up and coming full back played for us in the first team at Bramley. As is often the case when a player is dropped, Bateson showed up really well in what was a dire game against the Colliers, who were always heavy on big brawny forwards and light in the backs.

 

The FC ‘A’ team ran out in faded shirts, some without numbers and some of which their wearers obviously found to be badly fitting, with Prop Malcolm Storey’s so tight it looked as if it would burst open at any time.  Tries for Storey and a young Brian Sullivan saw us lead 10-0 at half time but the tough uncompromising West Yorkshire men fought back in the second half, with two stars for the future Tonks and Morgan scoring tries, whilst a young Eric Broom, who was two years later to sign for Hull, kicked a couple of goals.

 

For us, both Terry Devonshire a young off half, who was to make it big in future seasons and Jim Macklin had big games as did veteran Johnny Whiteley and Storey. The main action though took place in the last few minutes when our big trialist prop Wiles was felled by Morgan, and a full scale melee broke out, (something that happened every week back then in A team games, if you didn’t get a scrap you wanted your money back) in the end the referee had to physically wade in to sort things out as Mr. Smith of Dewsbury manhandled the instigators to separate them.  As I indicated earlier in the end Bateson was to prove the hero, and whilst both Hollingdrake and Keegan were missing goals for the first team over at Bramley, Bateson stroked over a last minute 52-yard penalty, that followed the outcome of the punch up, to make the final score 12-10 to Hull A.

 

We then all trooped off to congregate around one of the old Tannoy speakers on top of Bunkers Hill at the Airlie Street end, to await the result coming in from Bramley. After about ten minutes the speaker crackled into life with the announcement, ‘The Final score from Barley Mow is Hull 8 Bramley 16. Another defeat for the first team saddened us all, as we trudged off chuntering and moaning.

 

When the Green Sports Mail arrived at home at half past six it indicated that the away game had ended up 2 tries a piece, but ironically for us lot who had marveled at Bateson’s late goal, the lack of a goal kicker meant that the home team took the spoils. We were having problems at half back and had tried Dick Gemmell at number 6 instead of in his more customary centre spot which had not worked well at all, although my then hero Wilf Rosenberg, who was Man of the Match, scored two great tries to see us level at half time. The first was after just 4 minutes when he scooped up a loose ball 40 yards out and charged down the wing to finish with his usual spectacular dive in the corner. We missed the conversion, and then just before half time Wilf scored again after a 20-yard run that followed a rare flowing move from the Hull backs. At least that’s what the Green Mail said happened. Much of what we tried as a team though was, the Sports Mail continued, ‘hopelessly out of tune’, and we dropped the ball regularly in the West Riding mud in a game that featured 36 scrums!

 

The paper informed us all that Trevor Whitehead was the pick of out forwards and although in the last ten minutes Keegan kicked a penalty goal, four goals in the second half by Bramley’s Smith saw them home. The Sports Mail’s headlines said, ’Hull may have to recall Bateson’ but those who went to West Leeds told us that Keegan had a fine game at full back despite his goal kicking being wayward.

 

So another defeat for the first team and a close win at home for the A team, was probably topped off by a bottle of Tizer and The Beverley Hillbillies and Bonanza on our new Rediffusion TV before bed. However, the weekend was far from over and next day, Sunday, saw us all back across the road at the Boulevard for a special charity event for the Johnny Whiteley Testimonial Fund. As Mum and Dad stayed home to watch Sgt Bilko, we grabbed the chance to watch a football match between a Johnny Whiteley 11 and a Freddie Trueman 11(the Yorkshire Cricketer who was also having a benefit that year). An amazing 6000 people paid £1000 to watch the spectacle, and after expenses both beneficiaries received £350 towards their funds.

 

At Half time a collection, realizing £31 was conducted in the age old tradition, when four brave souls carried a sheet around the ground, whilst the fans in the Threepennies as usual were more intent on trying to hit the guys carrying the sheet than depositing their coins in it!!! The score ended 4-4 with David Bell (Hull and ER), John Whiteley and grounds man Ron Tate scored the home teams goals, whilst Brian Close scored a hat trick for Trueman’s team.

 

So, I hope this week’s Codgers spot, which leaned heavily on the jottings of an 11-year-old lad who had just passed his 11+ Exam, was a bit of a change and a look at supporting the FC back in the days when because of the roads, few travelled to away games and most of us fanatics watched the A team playing in those faded, tight shirts. The shirts that some maintain to this day, got us the nickname of ‘The Cream’. Great times eh?

 

Well now it’s a bruised and bowed Wigan this weekend, but more importantly I think an 8 day turn around for the lads. Boy there were some sore bodies on Saturday morning, but what an amazing game we all witnessed last Friday eh? At the game it was great to speak to lots of Diary readers, particularly a great guy that I walked in with who recognized me despite my attempts to claiming that I wasn’t ‘Wilf the Dentist’. He used to be a city fan but he said he was now totally captivated with Rugby League and he even enjoys this Diary! It was certainly great to hear from him.

 

 

Thanks as always for all the correspondence and contact over the last week too. There were some disappointed souls after the Saints game, but on and off the field we have now all dusted ourselves off and witnessed a quite amazing display from the youngsters in our team. My pal said after that first half that it was “Just like watching Castleford” and who that was there could argue with that!! Bring on Wigan I say! Speak to you all again next week!

 

 

Faithfully Yours

 

 

Wilf