The Dentist’s Diary – 587th

Oh Dear, It’s the first home defeat of the Season.

 

Still, it was so close in the end and on this occasion, rather like against Saints in the Cup, some dumb decisions, our inability to steady the ship in the last few minutes and a big stroke of luck going the way of the opposition in those final moments, did for us. It was a valient effort and well done to everyone who went along and created what looked to be a great atmosphere.

 

I had thought all week it was to be a big ask simply because all the endeavour and passion in the world will, sadly, see you one week come up short, particularly when you are missing your top quality players. Against a wounded Wigan, who had been under the cosh from their own fans, it was always going to be tough and I just somehow thought that circumstances dictated that this could well be that week. So it was, but there is no shame in that performance and it was certainly nothing to be too down about with just two tries each; their first being fortuitous and their second down right jammy.

 

Wigan had lost three successive games in league and cup and they were the team under pressure, while we were amazing everyone with our resilience in adversity, but a stroke of luck brought their poor form to a conclusion and compounded our issues with regard to catching up with the top 4. Short of a miracle it is now a fact that a couple more defeats and we could be adrift before the top eights even start.

 

We have a week off now, a time to regroup both on and off the field and then we simply have to beat Widnes, but that’s for another day and for now we just have to learn from the mistakes, curse our luck and dust ourselves off to go again! Don’t be too disheartened for that was just a case of ‘tough luck and not quite smart enough!’

 

Firstly, a bit of an aside and I’ll start by saying from the off that I’m not one for excuses or kidding anyone either. I wasn’t at the game on Saturday and though this came about because of a very unusual occurrence that was unmissable, (prompted by the availability of tickets last October to see someone who I had wanted to see live all my life), it was still tortuous being away from the KCOM when the FC were playing. How all you folks reading this who are exiled and whose circumstances see them miles away from Hull manage it every week, I can hardly imagine. Still I guess it was ‘good for the soul’, although believe me, I won’t be doing it again any time soon, well not if I can help it!!! If it proved one thing to me, it was that good times and bad times are matter less, because I just have to be there.

 

You know after the family and Hull FC, music has always been my second love and in the past it has given me so much solace with regard to bad times in both life and rugby. So, from Bruce Springsteen in Roundhay Park to All Time Low in San Francisco and from Bob Dylan in Leicester, to Dire Straits in a pub in Leeds, David Bowie at Bridlington Spa, Kiss at Fairfield Hall Croydon and Alice Cooper at the Empire Pool, over the years I’ve just about got right through my musical wish list for life; what’s more, I’ve done that more often than not by managing to circumnavigate such life defining moments, around the fixture list at Hull FC.

 

However, there was just this one ‘life-timer’ missing and I have to say that I had a brilliant night. You think with rugby league your pretty safe with a Saturday concert, but that was not to be and so whilst you were fretting and straining at the KCOM, I and 40,000 others was watching Billy Joel at Old Trafford in what was probably his last concert in this country. Yep, I missed out, but by the rules of ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ I was at least able to peruse a stream of the action on Sunday evening and so for one of just a handful of times in 13 years of writing this drivel and travelling the country to watch the team I love, todays match comments are not first hand.  But on the other hand with the Challenge Cup win of 2016 and my own personal ‘musical jigsaw’ now complete, at least I can die a happy man! But hopefully not just yet!!!!

 

As I said earlier, the game was always going to be a tough one but what a great attendance there was at the KCOM and well done to James Clark and everyone at the Club for working so hard to again achieve a great Saturday tea time crowd befitting the end of another successful Hull and Proud week.  It’s the sort of expertise shown by owners and Chief Executives of the top Clubs that can benefit the whole game when the proposed changes come to pass (as they surely will), but more of that one later.

 

First I watched the tries and then caught up on Sunday night with more of the action and although some of our choices and play selections were scratchy and our kicking again poor at times you can’t fault the energy, or the endeavor. I can take defeats like that and just put them down to experience, or in this case inexperience. Once again even in defeat our depleted troops did us proud. It might not have looked that way if you were there in the midst of all the stress and tension, but if watching a game ‘cold’ after it has taken places offers you one thing, then it is the ability to take it all with ‘the passion of the moment’ taken out. Perhaps in the end if not the best team won then the team that handled the conditions and the ‘moment’ better won the day.

 

I can take defeats like that. It was just dumb rugby at times that cost us, but certainly not a lack of tenacity and a will to win. It was two tries each, their first try was dubious and their second down right jammy, but such are the vagaries of sport and we have to take it and get on with it. But, it was so close and if anything, the toughest thing to take was our first defeat at the KCOM of the season however, I guess even with that, it has to come sometime. It’s often easy after the event but safe to say I think on this occasion that rather like at Saints if Sneyd plays, we win the game. So dumbed down to absolute basics, I guess that we are not in the Cup semi’s and now we’ve lost our home record simply because one player was out injured. I know in reality that’s probably not that reasonable a claim it certainly makes you think how close to another great season we would have been if we hadn’t seen such injuries blighting the Club.

 

We should have beaten Wigan, instead we saw a Pies outfit at (near) full strength, playing better than they have for a number of weeks and yet in the cold light of day it’s certain that with a couple of adjustments to our choices and option taking we could have won the game. People can talk about the top 4 getting further away etc. etc. etc. but you can’t complain because a couple of years ago we wouldn’t have got near to winning one of the last five games with the injuries we have received, but our young players have been superb and were again on Saturday, however, as the game turned and so did the weather, you just can’t quantify for their lack of game experience.

 

I thought watching it back that at times Kelly’s decision making was uncharacteristically poor and on one occasion when there was a two man over-lap he declined the opportunity, went himself and the chance was lost and I also thought that Houghton’s 40/20 attempt was a poor choice at that point in the game. However, these things happen and yet the fact is that at times of such adversity your few remaining senior players have to be consistently good.  However, there is little doubt who was man of the match as Fairamo had a phenomenal game busting tackles at will and scoring two great tries to add to his Salford hat trick. He is a monster in that sort of form and his development reminds me a lot of Fonua in his first season with us, in fact once his defensive positioning is sorted, he’s in danger of becoming a real star. Connor seemed to be starved of ball at times and Faraimo saw little of it once Jake left the centre. The same goes for Harris with everything seeming to be channelled through Kelly, but as I say I was watching it on video and it might have looked different if you were in attendance.

 

Washy got through a ton of tackling (44) but failed to do much at all in attack and Mini I thought was pretty ineffective whilst I watched Hakim Miloudi closely and he did well whilst coming through pretty mistake free. I like his style and I think he might just be one for the future myself. But everyone had a go and it was our lack of nous rather than lack of effort and a bit of bad luck that saw us go down in the end.

 

So we lost and that’s that really. It would have been great to go into a weekend off (for most of the players) two points behind Wigan but instead we are 6 points behind them and we have to pick some more points up when we get going again on Friday 29th June against Widnes. We need those points badly and have to hope some of the top 4 drop some at the same time.

 

However, with Jake Connor and Scott Taylor travelling to the US for England’s Test match with New Zealand in Denver on Saturday we have two of our best players slogging it out again next weekend, when both could really have benefited from a weekend off. Whether he was anticipating the trip or just knackered I don’t know, but Taylor certainly looked a bit off it on Saturday and a rest would have been advantageous I think. Whilst it’s not certain either of them will actually play in the match, the travel to and from Colorado will provide another big challenge as they set off yesterday for the States. The great thing for the rest of the guys is however the fact that the good news is that for the rest of the squad a week of down time will help them cope with some niggling injuries and a deal of what must now be mental fatigue. The likes of Dean Hadley (knee), Sika Manu (leg) and Shaul (foot) all should be back too, after a week off will have benefitted them tremendously.

 

So to what else has been going on and the news that the Flying Dustman is to remain at Hull FC until 2019 at least (I’m told that he also has an option to extend into 2020) broke on Thursday evening and I guess with what he brings both on and off the field, he is a great player to retain, particularly in the role of off field mentor for some of the great youngsters we have at the Club.

 

On signing the likeable character who has been great since the day he arrived (when he can get on the field) Lee Radford said, “He is an important part of the Club Culture”, whist Fetuli commented, “I knew I needed to put in some good performances at the start of this year to earn a new deal and I’m glad I did that. I’m really happy in the city. Me and my family have settled here really well and I love playing for the club. I’ve played with a really special group of guys during my time here. So in the end it was a pretty easy decision. The support I’ve had from these fans has been amazing. Coming over here, I didn’t know much about the city but as soon as I put the jersey on I realised the passion the fans have here. When you put on the shirt and walk out of the tunnel at the KCOM Stadium, you get a sense of what playing for this club is about”.

 

His style of running so hard out of defence means that he is like an extra forward, but at the same time also prone to picking up impact injuries which means that he can’t go on forever but there are few as good, with a sniff of the line or under the high cross kick on the sixth and I think on balance his re-signing is a good move. One things for certain he isn’t the sort of guy who will be demanding ridiculous money and is by and large just happy to continue in the dream job which came about when the Club plucked him from obscurity on the dustbin carts. Having seen how he has thrown himself into supporting his mates all the testimonials that there have been since he joined us, I would add that as well as being a pretty good player he is a top bloke! Good news for me! I expect that Mini and Manu will sign up shortly too.

Fingers crossed but as of Friday, things did start to look a little better for Joe Westerman as Lee Radford said, “Dean Hadley and Sika Manu are pushing for the Widnes game. We’re still not sure about Joe Westerman but he looked a lot better in training today which is a positive”. They originally predicted another 7 weeks out but surely we are due a bit of luck injury wise aren’t we?

Now according to the RL media he’s had a few titles this year including playmaker, hero, grub and pantomime villain but despite the rest of the competition loathing him Jake Connor has been named in the England squad to face New Zealand in Denver on 23rd June. As the nightmare dawns on most fans outside West Hull that they will probably now have to cheer, instead of jeer Jake, when he pulls on an England jersey, I think myself having seen every game he’s had for us that Bennett has got it spot on.

 

For me Connor has been in phenomenal form for us this year and shown an array of skills, a killer instinct near the line and even a growing sense of maturity as the season has unfolded. In addition, he has also been getting under the skin of the opposition on a weekly basis. Jake’s step up from the Knights is deserved and it will be great to see how he fares against the Kiwis, who will have to do their homework on him. His strength is perhaps in his adaptability having played all along the backline at some point during his FC career, Connor will undoubtedly give Bennett some utility value as Jake joins Ratchford, Lomax and Widdop who are all able to cover at full-back and in the halves.

 

Lee Radford said in an interview with the Daily Mail after our Magic Weekend victory over KR, that Jake masterminded, that if he were selected for the International he wondered exactly where they would play Connor. He said, back then, “He’d be a fantastic utility option but I don’t know what position he’d go to Denver in, there are some centres in fantastic form in the competition and in the halves, so I don’t know.”

 

He continued, “What Jake does give is a bit of antagonism and needle compared to the players he is competing against for a shot in the halves, and it’s something different to what we have had in those positions in the England team over the past few years”. The fact that Lee Radford joking said he was, “A horrible man” is perhaps the quality that Bennett has seen and perhaps he thinks Jake will bring a bit of something different, who knows? One thing is for sure and that is that if he can star in Denver, it will certainly put Connor on the international map and it’s the perfect chance for him to show his worth ahead of the test series in the Autumn. So good luck to him on the 23rd, when the game will be staged at the 76,000-capacity Mile High Stadium on Saturday, June 23, with a local 2-15pm kick-off (9-15pm UK time) and it’s live on BBC 2.

 

The late inclusion of Scott Taylor in the team to travel came as a bit of a surprise on Friday and my pal Kathy read of it as breaking news on her phone whilst sat on a seat in Beverley Market Place. She looked up and Scott’s car (number plate a real give away) slowly went past where she was sitting.  An omen or what? I expect that Scott will be lucky to get a game in an England team that is still heavy with props, but at least he has reward for a quite amazing season so far.

 

Well it’s been hinted at for months during which the Super League owners were apparently sworn to a vow of silence, (which explains why I have been going on about there being no news about the future coming out of them). However, with the press and media introduction of the new Super League Chief Executive Robert Elstone last Tuesday, the way forward was revealed by him and three of the senior owners, who announced that the middle eights were to be dropped from 2019.

 

The Super League announcing a new Chief Executive with such knowledge enthusiasm and authority was a real feel good moment in a sport that has had few such occurrences of late, but before we had got our breathe back, the whole thing descended into a farce that even Brain Rix would have been proud of. Short of Gary Hetherington losing his trousers and the Halifax owner shouting ‘Oh Calamity’, the week had everything, as once again our dirty washing was hung out there on the washing line of the national media, for everyone to see.

 

 

The teams outside the top Division wouldn’t like it, we knew that, but why should they? Let’s face the facts, it curtails a system whereby with a simple twist of fate like an injury crisis at a current Super League Club in the bottom four, their Club could sneak into the money by winning four or five matches in a seven game ‘tournament’. That’s a bit cynical I know, but you get my point I hope because such are the vagaries of the middle 8’s.

 

We all knew it was coming, but wondered when, but now it’s out of the bag and I have to say, although everyone is allowed an opinion and there are some strong ones out there, from my personal point of view (and I can in here only be honest and reflect my own views), I think that on balance I agree with most of what has been proposed.

 

Well, I do providing that relegation and promotion is still in the mix and there is a pathway for teams in the lower divisions to get into Super League, providing they meet some reasonable criteria. It should never again be a completely closed shop because that would be a disaster. The proposed deal protects the lump of money each lower club gets from Sky (although they are not broadcast by that company at present and as such perhaps the Championship Clubs should be mindful that it is the Super League Clubs alone that earn them that money) but if the game is going to remain inclusive then that’s only fair as well. However, having thought about it a bit this week I think it’s a good idea for several reasons. For a start the situation where there is a position of jeopardy for 25% of a division who spend weeks existing in the twilight zone, where they can’t retain or sign players because they’ve no stability to offer those staff, has to be stifling the development of young players in the game.

 

Then, as the Featherstone Chairman said last week there is the possibility of four teams from the Championship getting promoted. It’s unlikely but under the current system, with injuries etc. it’s still possible and good luck to the 4 Championship Clubs if that happens, but does anyone really think that will actually improve the quality, standard or ‘watch-a-bility’ of Super League? Look at the two teams that have come back up in the current system; they have hardly set it alight or covered themselves in glory have they? Leigh came up and went back down, whilst Rovers went down and came back up, but their first year’s back in the premier division have both been ones of struggling, through an inability to compete player wise with the rest of the Clubs. That has been caused, in a small player pool, by the relegated teams retaining a good proportion of their players in preference (for financial reasons) to retaining their junior ranks. With a parachute payment now going to relegated clubs as well, that only increases their ability to hang onto their staff.

 

In addition, there are the problems of fans trying to plan their summer vacations with their kids around their club’s home games and yet not knowing what the fixtures are to be in that school holiday period until 10 days before it starts! Wigan have done a survey and proved from it that it’s the situation whereby fans don’t know the dates or the opposition for the final four home games that has considerably affected their season ticket sales. There is no wonder that middle eight and Super 8 attendances are so low.

 

Plus, there is the fact that people I speak to outside the game (who show an interest and who I am trying to get involved in it), just glaze over when I try and explain the middle eight’s, the million-pound game et al. Elstone himself hit that nail on the head when he said, “The format is important – but simplicity and an understanding of it is essential if the game is to grow”.

 

With it being used in football the fact that in the new proposed set up the bottom team goes down and the top team comes up is instantly understandable. It’s a straight forward and acceptable practise across sport which has, let’s face it, actually worked well in our game and many other sports for years. Yeh, there will be dead rubber games but there are in every sport where the ability to move up and down is structured in a traditional way. There’s a bit of jeopardy near the bottom, a bit of excitement at the top, but in general it offers much more stability when teams in the middle, hoping to move forward, can build with a bit of confidence.

 

With no Super 8s, we are told that the extra games will be made up from so-called ‘loop’ fixtures. That would mean 11 at home, 11 away, a Magic Weekend fixture before a series of randomly-drawn games to bring the number of games up to a level around what it is now. That’s a bit wishy washy and not very satisfactory at all really, but has to be the case to primarily satisfy Sky’s contractual demands: they have an agreement to show a certain amount of games per season. I am told however that there is no agreement with Sky to show a particular structure or format for rugby league, so Mr Hetherington can’t go crying to them about that!

 

For me the current system is another in a long line of gimmicks that have all been manufactured for TV and with Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday game days, the broadcasters in effect dictate who plays who and when. Sky are the paymasters I know, but still have a lot to answer for with regard to the dissatisfaction of the Championship and Division One Clubs and their claims that they are being marginalised. Some of that must fall at their door, I mean to say what sport broadcasters buys the rights of the lower tiers of a sport to then refuse to broadcast them or let anyone else do it? Indeed, furthermore, what sport’s governing body allows that to happen?

 

One thing that most parties from all sides can agree on is that the eradication of the much-criticised Million Pound Game is a step in the right direction. Games of this magnitude should be a celebration of all that is great about the game of rugby league but, since its introduction in 2015, the match has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Seeing player’s livelihoods at stake is not something that should be enjoyed and it has been truly heart-breaking to see so many players fall to their knees after 80 minutes, unsure of what the future hold for them and their families. At least with traditional relegation they’ll have an idea what is coming and be able to make some plans.

 

The game desperately needs stability. Look how junior rugby and the British player pool improved during licencing. That was because of a period of stability when clubs could invest with confidence and build a bit, unfortunately the rest of the set up was too much of a closed shop to be interesting.  What the new proposed system brings is a balance somewhere between the closed shop of licensing and the mayhem of the middle eights.

 

We have to financially protect the smaller and up and coming Clubs and this new set up does just that, until at least 2021, by which time if this new Chief Executive is as good as his word, the game will have been re-energised; well that’s the theory of it anyway. Is it a power grab? Well if it is why not?

 

The biggest reassurance that we the fans have about the continuation of the game we love has to be that it will be in the hands of the owners of the senior teams, who are those who stand to lose most if it all goes mummeries skyward. That’s our insurance really, because if they are happy and at least making ends meet, then the game continues and moves forward. None of the current owners is in it to make pots of money, that will never happen and those who have come into the game to do that over the years have moved on PDQ. This scenario, in effect sees ‘the ones that pay the piper calling the tune’ and with market forces dictating the future and the owners own financial well-being, then perhaps that’s what benefits us fans the most.

 

For me, so in need of a refurbishment is the game and so poor is the direction and steer we have had thus far from the RL, then if it is to be a new dawn, we have to embrace it, get behind what is happening and hope!  Why? Well because it’s all we’ve got and we can’t go on as we are can we?

 

I don’t say it will definitely work or even if it is completely the right thing to do, but what else have we got, with falling gates in both Super League and the Challenge Cup, a TV company who chop and change fixtures to suit themselves and in the process bugger around with the lives of the long suffering fans who actually attend games, a final seven game period in the League that is poorly attended across the board, a low profile in the national press and a lack of credibility when gauged against other sports. All that and we still have the best game in the world! If we are to use this move to actually put energy back in the game, then in my opinion we also have to get reserve team rugby as a compulsory requirement for all Super League Clubs and I’m told that is very much on the agenda.

 

We need that greatest game in the world to be an entertainment again and an attraction that will draw new people and new sponsors to it not confuse them and put them off. We need them to understand immediately what is going on and where and when they can go and watch it! So for me personally I’m going to give Mr Elstone and the owners a chance to succeed and to judge it when we see where we are next year at this time.  As I say, just my views, don’t castigate me because we are all entitled to them, but I love the game and really want to see it blossom and flourish. You probably won’t agree, but I hope that at least give you food for thought.

 

As for Gary Hetherington? Well, as self-acclaimed ‘head of Super League’ for so many years, he’ll certainly be stirring it up in the lower divisions but for now I’d quite liked to see him at last side-lined and put in his place after years of him talking down to us and the other Clubs and thinking he’s running the show. Talk about sour grapes he’s been calling the shots and manipulating the RL from a distance for years and now a few of the top owners have taken a hand and usurped his authority and he doesn’t like it at all does he?

 

He’s spit his dummy out, but as for the rest of the Clubs in Super League they seem to be really united with some of the unlikely suspects like Huddersfield and Wakey coming out in print last week and saying how united they all are in their quest for change.  In fact, on Thursday the St Helens Chairman really laid it on the line to Uncle Gary and reiterated how strong the feelings are of the other 11 Clubs. It’s going to happen, but quite how remains to be seen.

 

Just a quick mention for Tommy Saxton, who I affectionately (and I mean affectionately) referred to over the years on here as ‘Turnstile’ Tommy, who this week announced his retirement. He has been a great servant to the game at all levels and although never a massive star he is the stuff that our great game is made of. Good Luck Tommy.

 

This current injury crisis is as bad as I can remember for years but the depth of our squad is really addressing it so far. However, In years gone by a bad run injuries had the fans baying for new blood to be brought in, which with a ‘semi professional’ set up was, of course, a lot easier to do. Players were pinched from other clubs following reports of covert meetings in the dead of night at service areas on the M62, whilst players received mysterious visitors at home in the early hours of the morning as players were tapped up on a regular basis.  It happened all the time, and the Sunday newspaper’s all had a column of rumored moves and transfers, that we poured over every week.

 

In 1986 we had started the season clearly lacking in depth and a few pre-season injuries had left us short. The great team of the early 80’s was breaking up and Garry Schofield was held up in Australia playing in the playoff series for Canterbury-Bankestown. Little did we know that the point where we had to sell both Schofield and Crooks to keep us afloat, was fast approaching, but in late September after squeezing past Bramley, Wakey and Batley at the Boulevard and losing to Halifax and Castleford away, there were concerns that things did not look good with some big games to come. Surprise, surprise the problem was, yep you guessed it, a lack of half backs, and creative players, something that still seems to  haunt these ramblings. The Board went out and bought three players, and on Sunday 21st September, Hull paraded all three at a game against Leigh at the Boulevard. With an average of only 4000 attending or previous 3 home games, gates had been poor too, as the fans failed to understand that the success of those earlier years of the decade could not go on forever.

 

 

So we went out and signed Mick Gibbons on loan, but the big news was that we had captured aging ‘cheeky’ scrum half Kevin Dick from Leeds, after no doubt another one of those covert motorway meetings, and former Welsh RU international off half Gary Pearce, a rather dumpy looking play maker from Welsh club Llanelli. The signings were hailed in the local media as heralding ’A new Dawn’ for the club, and so we all went to see if that could be true, and a better gate of over 5,700 populated a sunny Boulevard that day.

 

With those early season injuries the team we fielded was still a scratch one, but it was not long before Pearce had opened his account for his new club, with a 6th minute penalty, after Leigh’s Collier had tripped Paul Eastwood. After 12 minutes Pearce, who was showing no signs of only being a professional player for two days, dummied to the right and ran off to the left sending Eastwood back inside to release Dane O’Hara on the wing. ‘Dano’ shot in near the corner flag and we were in the lead. Pearce converted from the touchline and already, we were impressed!! However, a mistake by debutant Dick at the back of a scrum saw Leigh number 7 Davis grab the ball and feed Prop Cottterell (who had flown out of the front row), who just made the line with Brand and McCoid on his back. Johnson goaled and a comfortable start began to look a bit dodgy.

 

Dick though then showed what was to come in the next two seasons as he ‘cheekily’ stole the ball from the rampaging Schubert and fed Peppi Brand, who went on a typical surge to the line. Peppi was an exciting player to watch, and he was all arms and legs as he evaded one tackler and pushed another into touch, to dive over in the corner. Pearce’s conversion attempt just failed but we were back in a more comfortable position at 12-6.

 

The Lancastrians then got two points back after Steve Crooks had smacked Gelling, before we witnessed a vintage Mick Crane try that brought the house down. In typical fashion the evergreen loose forward found a bit of space running around the play the ball, he chipped ahead, the ball bounced perfectly, and he barreled in to score a converted try. However, it was not long before a Henderson effort made it 18-14, but thankfully winger McCoid scored after Lee Crooks’s ’Bomb’ bounced off full back Collier’s shoulder and straight into his arms and so to our relief we were well clear at half time.

 

The second half kicked off with us leading 22-14 and Dick started to make his mark on his debut as he twice almost put, firstly Welham, and then Lee Crooks, away. It was all getting really tough now though, and both Dick and Mallinson featured in skirmishes with the Leigh forwards. Lee Crooks quietened things down with a drop goal, but that was to signal a fight back by the Leigh side. By the 64th minute both Gelling and Fox had scored converted tries and from a healthy situation we were trailing 26-23. It looked like the ‘new dawn’ was about to turn into a bit of a nightmare.

 

Gibbins was trying ‘everything he could‘, within and outside the rule book, tactics that were without doubt upsetting both the Leigh front row and Mr. Holdsworth the referee, but it was an inspired substitution that was to make the difference, when a very young Jon Sharp took to the field and ‘Razor’ came close to stealing the show from his other more illustrious debutants. With four minutes to go he shot out a long pass to Paul Eastwood who blazed in at the corner and then in the fourth minute of injury time Sharp himself galloped in from 25 yards, directly from acting half, and despite the previously dependable Pearce missing both conversions we were home by a score of 31-26, but it was a close call, in a season that was to see the club and our attendances slip further down but in which the partnership of Kevin Dick and ‘Porky‘ Pearce was to be a memorable highlight.

 

 

Well after a weekend with Billy Joel and watching our game back on Sunday tea time, I have decided as I said earlier, that I won’t be missing many more matches and my thoughts go out to all of you who have to do that every week; I just hope this rubbish at least helps a little bit to keep you in touch with what is happening. I’ve had so much correspondence about the changes in the game and several folks feeling a bit down after Saturday, (for it was without doubt a game we could and should have won) and thanks to everyone particularly Dave, Billy and Steve who all kept me posted on what was happening at the game as the drama unfolded. We now have a week off the regular round of games but the Diary will be back as usual next weekend. In the mean-time thanks for all your support again and I’ll see you next week.

 

Faithfully Yours

 

Wilf