The Dentist’s Diary – 640

Well that was closer than most of us thought it would ever be, wasn’t it? 

Again, I can’t be downbeat this week, particularly after all that effort and fighting spirit coming as it did, just 5 days after pretty much the same group of players had their hearts broken and their bodies battered, in such tragic circumstances in the Semi-Final. However, looking at it all objectively, we must learn quickly to be smarter and turn pressure into points.  

I didn’t really know what to expect on Thursday although I did feel that we had little chance of really competing after a five-day turn-around following that battle royal in Bolton;particularly as we faced a team that had experienced two weeks with their feet up. 

However, in the end we did show incredible energy and resolve to hang in a game that we almost came out winning. Sadly, once again after all that resolute line defence and tons of heart and spirit against all the odds, our attack was clunky and disjointed and our frustration at this was summed up perfectly by what a lady said to me, (as she passed to grab an early cup of tea as half time approached) “I won’t be missing much, if we play till midnight we won’t score!”. And that was exactly how it looked to me.  

Our defence, like Wigan’s was magnificent, but theLancashire team were there for the taking. We simply lacked any sort of plan from Kelly and Connor and with Sneyd well watched and flattened a time or two, we didn’t have enoughguile or enterprise to score more than the one try we got from Taylor. So Wigan probably deserved the points, but it was a good effort from the boys, if not as I say, a bit of a dumb one at times.

After the weekend our destiny is still in our own hands, nothing has changed, we are still third, all be it with a shrinking gap between us and Wigan, but they have four home games in the five remaining, whilst we have three; BUT they are good at home and we are better away, so it’s going to be a real battle to hold onto our position here on in! 

Therefore, with a long turn around coming up, we simply have to get recharged, practise our moves all day long, switch our centres around and get our attack sorted out, for we really do have to win at Wakey next Sunday. 

How did I feel last week in the afterglow of our Cup exit? Well I did OK to be fair because although after the game I think most fans took it all pretty philosophically, as the days wore on, the defeat in Bolton seemed to get to some people a bit even though the talking was over and the game dead and buried. You all know that I’m not a good observer of Hull FC at all. At times I struggle quite a bit before games and I’m certainly pretty incommunicative during them, but usually afterwards I can accept things and even after a defeat I’m often just relieved that its over and that we can move on to the next game (that’s bound to be a victory!!!). However last week I met a lot of folks who were really down about our performance and defeat at Bolton. 

Of course when you’re a ‘diehard’, being beaten in that Cup semi-final was always going to be difficult to handle, but I guess on this occasion we all knew in our heart of hearts that we were actually out manoeuvred and tactically out thought and the best team certainly won on the day but, sometimes for some, that makes it worse. 

So why do we do this to ourselves? In the end it’s only a game, isn’t it? Of course (I hear you all cry) it isn’t, but that’s what the positive thinking band-wagoners tell us it is. That well used comment is supposed to make things better, but it never really does. In such situations it’s certainly those‘bandwagoners’ that get the best deal, because if you win a big game like that, everyone is happy and they are first in the queue for tickets, but if you lose, then it usually hits the ‘Lifers’ like us lot so much harder. It’s not silly to care about something, particularly when it has been around you all your life, but boy the pay-off is the hurt you feel when it all goes wrong, isn’t it? 

But as I say perhaps it didn’t hurt me personally as much as I thought it would. 2016 changed me a lot, because rugby wise I got just about everything I had always dreamed of that day, and although I was upset after that reversal to Warrington, I wasn’t as upset as I thought I would have been had we fallen at the last hurdle in those years; my rationale has changed a bit since then. However, that said, I have to admit thatthoughts about, “We could have been queuing for tickets and booking our hotels now” did cross my mind as the week wore on. The thing was of course, thanks to Sky TV and that last minute switch of fixtures we only had five days to get into our next game and if that was tough for us lot, it must have been a nightmare for our players! 

After that disasters of the short turn-around from Catalan to the Rover’s game and the way we failed to turn up for long periods against Saints at home the other week, when it came to a strong, in form and rested Wigan, I was hardly confident!! With a 4-point gap over them, I did wonder if this would be a game that physiologically we would sort of write off to concentrate on the rest of the season, for I thought the players,if not pretty much out on their feet physically, must have still been mentally drained. How wrong I was to be proved. 

We just couldn’t afford Wigan to get on top early on, for if they did, I thought, it could be Warrington at home all over again!! The FC came out with loads of energy although after a traumatic few days, we wondered just how long that would last against what was a feisty Wigan outfit. We put some pressure on the Wigan line in the opening minutes and soon the debate was raging on the terraces, just as it was at Bolton,as to whether we were right to go for goal when we had them under the cosh. But if truth be known, we already looked pretty clueless with the ball. Still we opened our account for the evening with Marc Sneyd slotting over a penalty conversion and soon after he doubled the lead with a second to make it 4-0 to the FC after 20 minutes. Then as Wigan started to get a hold in our half a great kick to the corner from Thomas Leuluai saw the Pies take the lead after 24 minutes, as Liam Marshall rose high in the corner to collect a kick and score. 

The effort was awarded as a penalty try for Bureta Faraimo’s effort on the winger, but why, we had no idea, as the screens at the Stadium weren’t working!! Afterwards watching it back it baffles me how that can be an 8 point try when that one of Faraimo’s at Leeds, where he was upended in the air and landed on his head wasn’t! It has to be consistent, for that’s all we ask of the officials, but it never ever bloody is!!!

Hardaker however, slotted over the conversion attempts, asthe visitors extended their lead to six, with a further penalty goal, with ten minutes left remaining in the half.

However just as it looked like that was that for half time, we reduced the gap to four on the hooter. A cynical late challenge on Marc Sneyd from Willie Isa should have seen more severe action taken against the Wigan player, but for such a slight man he is so tough and Sneyd got up, shook himself and slotted over the goal from the touchline, for us to go in trailing 6-10, which under the circumstances, was a respectable score line. Isa lunged at Sneyd again as the teams trooped off and a bit of a scuffle broke out, as we all discussed the fact that we at least given it a real good go in the first half.

We needed to start well but it would be the Warriors who opened the scoring in the second-half, with Marshall going over in the corner, having the strength to stay in the field of play despite Faraimo crashing into him. However thankfully, on this occasion, Hardaker couldn’t convert from the side-lines. We were saved when a try by Clubb, that could have seen Wigan steam away from us, was ruled out for a double movement. However, as the game wore on and we should have been out on our feet, amazingly we stepped things up and started to play the ball much more quickly, as we dug inand put them under pressure. However again, too much turning the ball back inside and lateral play across the line, saw us all frustrated on the terraces as nothing was working at all, attacking wise. Albo was having a stinker and as the ball went to ground and the pressure mounted on us to get it sorted in the middle, we couldn’t get any quality ‘shifts’ out wide to our wingers at all. 

We had consecutive sets on the Wigan line as we finally got over to set up a tense finale, with just 15 minutes remaining. Scott Taylor again ran a wonderful line as he had at Bolton and crashed over bouncing off the post from close range,Sneyd reduced the gap to two with the boot and it was just the right score at exactly the right time. Then, shortly afterwards(and quite amazingly after what had gone on over the last few days), he levelled things up with a penalty, before Isa brilliantly jumped out of the line to charge down his attempt to drop us to victory.

Few players have been able to do that this season and as Wigan flowed back up-field Hardaker dropped the winner from 40 meters out to break our hearts and that was it really. Before the end we tried a kick from deep early in the tackle count which Ratu chased down before he was deemed to be off side, but why we didn’t repeat that tactic when we got a scrum with 20 seconds to go, deep in our own half, I don’t know. A swift ball to Sneyd and a big hoof and chase down field would have been worth a go but indicative of our lack of attacking ideas all night, a slow and ponderous shift left, sawthe game fizzle out and that was that! 

Another oh so close match and another marginal defeat! However, everything else put aside, as I said earlier, there was no faulting our effort and our tenacity which was after that Cup semi-final almost super human at times, but we simply lacked that bit of nous needed to get us home; on Friday it was a case of too much dumb rugby for me I’m afraid. Our bodies appeared to rise to the challenge but mentally perhaps we couldn’t match that!

Performance wise everyone tried their hardest and there were certainly no slackers in fact there were few signs of physical fatigue either. Shaul battled from the back to return the ball and was safe under a plethora of high balls. Ratu and Faraimo both tried hard although the latter’s indiscretions as the first try was scored, in the end, I guess, made the difference. Griffin again made great inroads and was the leading meter maker on the pitch and although he seems to switch there half way through the first half, he should now for me be started in the second row every week, whilst Tumavive tried hard as well and tackled well. Sneyd led the team around as best he could and his goal kicking was excellent but try as he may nothing went right for Albo and he was substituted in the second half for exactly that reason. 

Up front Taylor was a tower of strength and quite frankly magnificent in leading the charge. After the first twenty-five minutes he was out on his feet, but he returned in the second half to lead the pack forward again. He missed Micky Paea working in tandem with him, whilst Green had a go, I guess, as did Fash when he came on. Ellis though tired charged with all his heart at the centre of the Wigan defence and Houghton again ran himself into the ground and tackled everything as he tried as well to get us going from acting half. 

There has to be a special mention for Matongo who after a really traumatic few months had a tentative first spell before returning to really ‘lay it on’ the Wigan forwards. In that second spell he looked for the ball more and met it on the charge in good fashion. The soon to retire Minichiello made a couple of what are becoming characteristic errors, but really worked his socks off in defence and Lane did well again making over 40 tackles whilst Joe Westerman tried hard but was ineffective again, playing a more conservative role were he hung on to the ball too much. Connor came on and lookedkeen but could hardly be said to be effective.

As for the video screen not working well I suppose we can only guess at that one and most of us are! It always gives added enjoyment for the attending supporters who have made the effort to get to a televised game, instead of stopping at home on the settee. On this occasion you had an advantage with regard to the 8 point try, Sneyd getting smacked off the ball etc. etc. if you stayed in doors to watch, because at least you could decide for yourself!! One things for sure, rather than pretending it didn’t happen, it would have been nice to have an explanation from the Club, whoever it embarrassed! Rugby League eh? It buggers belief sometimes doesn’t it? 

Straight after the game my pal Ian text ‘Another win for Sky TV”, …. and that’s about right for me, for, despite that heartening showing from the players, it was so unfair as we faced our fourth Thursday night game this year, and that just 5 days after contesting one of the biggest matches of the whole season. So teams only get one or two allocated and something has to be done about levelling out the amount of games Sky allocate to different Clubs during a season, or at least to ensure that they don’t come 4 or five days after the previous game, particularly when that match is a showcase fixture like a semi-final.  

We seem of late to have an inability to score tries and reader Ian Middleton commented that our demise at present reminded him of a period in the 1980 season when despite having Knocker Norton in our ranks we went 254 minutes without scoring a try, before our duck was broken by Bob Gaitley. On that occasion we got John Newlove back and enticed Mick Crane to the Club from the Dobbins and our problems were over. I don’t think with Sneyd, Kelly and Connor in our ranks the problems are the same, for they are certainly talented play makers when they are ‘on it’, they just ain’t ‘on it’ at present. However, I certainly saw his point for that certainly brought back memories of another period when we found tries hard to come by.    

So to other things and I said last week that I don’t know whether Mr Hudgell would be so magnanimous in releasing players had we been in their parlous position, but as I said in the last Whiffs column both Dean Hadley and Jez Litten were allowed to go on loan to Rovers, for the rest of the season to ‘help them out’. 

I’m always sorry to lose players who have become part of our lives because being a fan of a team is like being part of a sort of extended family. Both players have had their moments and been good servants to the club, with no rumours, no issuesand no problems. Don’t forget too, just like with Jamie Shaul,it was Radford who pressed Hadley and pushed for him to get a contract when he was a young man at the Club. You can’t blame any player for looking to get game time in what is such a short career, and it will certainly be a real jolt for the Litten family as well. They are all massive FC fans and so for Jez it won’t have been an easy decision. Both players I’m told were offered three year contracts in the East, instead of the one year we had on the table so who can blame them?

But cards on the table here, for you can see why we have done it can’t you? Dean always promised much but never really delivered for me and a few folks would have been aghast had we offered him three years on his current performances wouldn’t they? He was in and out of our team on a regular basis before he went to Wakey, where he was a big hit with fans and Club alike. He’s since found it hard to nail down a starting spot with us lot and injuries have played a big part in that inconsistency, that said, he definitely played well in West Yorkshire, but he’s never reached those heights at the KCom since his return. 

If you’re going to be a really top team you have to go for the players you want and recognise that those you have, who are good servants, but for whatever reason are down the pecking order, only have a certain value. You simply can’t pay them over that value and its up to them to decide, if they want to stay, or look for more money and more first team rugby elsewhere. That’s how a game ruled by a salary cap works. There will always be clubs who aspire to great things and act accordingly and those who pick up the pieces the ambitious clubs jettison and hope that they can make good those players.  

Dean, is an excellent club man and a really nice guy who said of his departure, “I had a few offers come in and then after that Hull came in and offered me a deal as well. I loved my time at Hull and I loved everything about the place and loved everyone there. I loved playing for Radders, even when he didn’t pick me I still loved him. I loved all the lads and got on well with everybody, I haven’t a bad word to say about anyone there. I just had to decide whether I wanted to stay there a few more years and the last couple of years of being a bench player and missing out on some big games, left me wanting to challenge myself as a player and a person by making a change. It would have been so easy to stay at Hull and just carry on as I was”. Those are the almost over the top words of a sincere guy and I know there was no acrimony involved at all. 

If you’ve not been happy you just say nowt much and move on and you certainly don’t wax lyric about everyone at the club with the exclusion of the woman who washes the shirts,do you? So, I wish him well but if we are to be as ambitious a club as we as fans demand, then players like Dean will have a value and a sell by date and so it is best for both parties for us to all move on.

For me Jez Litten was a little different, because when he got some game time he was so good at speeding things up and getting things moving at acting half, particularly when he came on from the bench. I thought he would make it, but despite him being deceptively weighty, he always looked lightweight in the tackle and thus flimsy in defence and he seemed to tire quickly as well; I guess when you have watched Danny Houghton for so many years, anyone looks to be tiring compared with him. There is little doubt Jez’ll come back to bite us occasionally as well, but that’s what happens with cross city transfers, but I wish him and Dean well except, of course, when they play against us. That said, I do feel we have to try and get some cover for Danny in as part of our transfer business for 2020. 

However, the fact that Rovers, having already captured Jordan Abdull for 2020 and have signed both Hadley and Litten and were chasing Nick Rawsthorne and all in one week, got me thinking just how many of our ex-players Rovers have signed in recent years. On their books this season they already had Craig Hall, Ben Crooks and Tommy Lee and they have certainly picked up a whole procession of others over the years. Yeh, we have Albert Kelly from them, but unlike all those they sign up from us, he is a brilliant player that would get into any Super League side and who they would have liked to keep under different circumstances. 

So, why do Hull KR, whoever is Coach, constantly sign Hull players? Surely the Rovers fans deserve better than a procession of ex FC players, let’s face it they get ragged enough by us as it is, about cast off etc. If I was a Dobbins fan, I’d want my team to go out and try to get the best players from other British Clubs, as the FC did with Josh Jones. 

Perhaps they think they know something that a team that has seen a player day in day out for years don’t? Or are they just tapping into a fringe player at Hull FC or those we have got rid of previously, hoping that they need to prove a point to their old employers. Well perhaps, but there has to be more in it than them just wanting to beat us on a regular basis, doesn’t there? Most genuine Rovers fans I know (and I do know a lot in truth) just want to get better year on year, consolidate their position in the League and look like a Club that means business, they love their Club as we do ours, but they also scratch their heads a bit about all these signing with a Hull FC background. 

Still both players will do a good job for the Dobbins and no doubt save them from the drop, which, in the end, is most likely the motive behind us helping them out in the first place! In these hard times for the game, Derby’s are big money spinners and important to both Clubs survival. However, as far as many of the fans at both sides of the City are concerned,there are some things that are bigger than money!!

Well we all knew it was coming and so the news that Mini was to retire was sad and yet expected. I didn’t want to see such an iconic member of the squad from those two glorious years move on for a year to another British club and just fade away and I’m so pleased he is going down to the wire with the Club he has grown to love. He certainly wants to go down in a blaze of glory and is hoping the season ends well with us. I’ll miss him around the place because he has been a great servant to the club and probably along with Gareth Ellis the most professional player on our books both on and off the field.

For me, Mini has been one of the best import signings for Hull FC and not just in the modern era. Always the consummate professional he knows now that it is time to go and is following his feelings and doing it when his body and his faltering mental tenacity dictates that he should. But we should expect no less, because from the day that he came into the club he brought a giant step up in professionalism with him. In his 5 seasons he has help change the culture within the group, as his example has rubbed off on the others. He is seen by everyone at the club as the best role model we have and has become a great mentor to all the younger players. The older ones have been influenced too as even Griffin said this week (prior to his expected switch to the second row), that you could learn from none better than Mini. 

He has never let us down and is a player that will be remembered forever or at least until the current generation of fans have passed on. After everything else has been said his name will always evoke memories of the way he dropped on that loose ball on the hooter at Wembley 2016 to finally guaranteed that he and another 16 players became part of FC folk lore. At that moment he joined them to forever be remembered as ‘The History Boys’ who beat the hoodoo after generations had waited in vain to see that day. He’s a great bloke who will almost be impossible to replace as a club man, Good luck to him and I hope he can finish on a high! 

Well last weeks Codgers spot was well received by so manyof you and I got a typical reply from regular reader Dave Cutler who wrote, “I really enjoyed your piece about Gary Kemble. It brought back some great memories. From 1980-81 I was the involved with Hull F.C. In 1980, I had the privilege of posting the letters to the three Kiwis inviting them to join the F.C. I was only 25 at the time and was sworn to secrecy. I, like most of my friends were F.C. fanatics and keeping my shut until the signings were announced was one of the hardest things that I have ever done. The interesting thing was that none of the three letters were to Gary Kemble. They were to James Leuluai, Dane O’Hara and Fred Au Kuoi. Fred was in talks with I think North Sydney for whom he signed. It was then that the club contacted Gary Kemble. It is interested to think that although we eventually signed Fred, had he agreed to join us at the same time as Jimmy and Dane, then we might never had signed Gary Kemble. What a loss that would have been”. Thanks Dave and what a great insight into what wenton behind the scenes eh?

What with Wigan at the KCom this week and that tragic cup defeat last week in Bolton, I thought I’d mix the two scenarios up and so this week in Codgers Corner I want to go back 19 years to highlight a wonderful game from back in our last but one season at the Boulevard. After all the stress and worry of the Lloyd era and the merger, it was great to be playing rugby again with a quality team coached by Shaun McRae and after two easy Rounds of the Challenge Cup when we had beaten the Lancashire Lynx and Rochdale and amassed over 80 points, we played Wigan in a Cup Quarter Final at the Boulevard in front of the TV cameras on the afternoon of Saturday 11th March 2000.

The week leading up to that Cup quarter final was one that was fraught with injury problems that threatened to scupper any slim chances we had of winning a game, that all the pundits and bookmakers had as a ‘banker’ for the competitions favourites. In came youngster Paul King at prop and after Australian Adam Maher had been taken ill and withdrawn on the morning of the game McRae had no hesitation in calling up an even younger Richard Fletcher onto the substitute’s bench. In the presence of the television cameras from BBC Grandstand we all awaited with a deal of trepidation our first really big game since the merger.  Referee Russell Smith blew the whistle and Radlinski struck the ball deep into the Hull half as a massive roar went up from the 7700 crowd. This seemed to do little except put off the Hull players waiting to receive the kick, as Broadbent knocked the ball forward and Maiden picked it up in front of him in an off side position leaving Farrell the simplest of penalties to give Wigan an early two-point lead. 

That was a really poor start but it didn’t deter the FC, who immediately started to make inroads into the Wigan defence in the very next set of six tackles. Hulls enthusiasm was certainly apparent when Robinson kicked into the corner where Wigan’s Dallas fielded the ball only to be swamped by five chasing Hull players. Youngster Richard Horne was certainly prompting and probing around the ruck and he almost got Jenkins in after 7 minutes as Hull pushed on. Then we were level as an over-worked Wigan defence were caught off-side and Ben Sammut, from 30 yards out to the left of the posts, hammered home the penalty. Wilson then sustained a head wound after a high shot by Dallas and went to the blood bin, for youngster Fletcher to come on into the second row. Another high tackle this time on Jenkins by Wigan scrum half Tony Smith, saw the latter lucky not to be sent off but then, on the 15-minute mark, we took the lead.

Richard Horne again made a half break and fed Will Robinson. The scrum half immediately stepped inside and then superbly fed Maiden who crashed over near the posts and when Sammut had landed the conversion to all the fans amazement we led 8-2. We were stood on the Airlie Street terracing that day and the place went wild as Will Robinson shot in again after a brilliant move involving a defence splitting break by Collins, however on consulting the video referee it was decided that Will had lost control of the ball as he put it down and the try was disallowed. Still the crowd sang and cheered and at regular intervals ‘Old Faithful’ rang around the old place; it was just like the Brian Smith years all over again!

Next up Carney was sin binned for an alleged ‘deliberate’ obstruction, but as the half came to a close Wigan started to come back into the game. With an amazing 7 minutes of injury time being played Hull had to cling on and Jason Robinson went close for Wigan as his grubber kick was brilliantly tidied up by Matt Daylight, before Renouf intercepted a wayward pass from Felsch and the Wigan centre looked set to score. However, Daylight had the pace to track back across the width of the field to cut him off and nail the Australian international centre 10 yards out and as Half-Time arrived at last, we were all physically drained and elated, at the same time. 

The second half started with Maiden kneeing a loose ball forward and almost finding a gap in the oppositions defence but in general Wigan were starting to exert the pressure again and although the crowd did their best, much of the enthusiasm we had shown in the first half was evaporating fast. However, despite all their pressure, Wigan could not penetrate a Hull defence led brilliantly by Fletcher, Wilson and ‘Beans’ Broadbent and in the end resorted to converting a penalty when Fletcher was unlucky to be caught accidentally off side. Twice we lost possession in our own half in what was growing into a titanic battle that saw several Hull players visibly feeling the pressure. Felsch and Robinson went off to be replaced by Stanley Gene and Wayne McDonald, as Mick Cassidy and Dennis Betts both went close for Wigan. At the Airlie Street End we just stood transfixed on our ‘lucky step’ on the terracing and prayed.

Then with 10 minutes to go and Hull hanging on for grim death the whole place suddenly erupted as the game took another dramatic twist. A couple of fortuitous penalties at last relieved the pressure and we actually found ourselves with a ‘set’ in the oppositions half. Firstly, the returning Robinson managed to work a gap in the defence but he was immediately froinjured again as he was tackled by Terry Newton and Willie Peters. He stumbled to his feet and straight from the play the ball Stanley Gene sped away down field in a mad dash for the line. This set up a position some ten yards out and two tackles later Gene, operating from acting half back,brilliantly supplied a short pass to 6ft 7ins Wayne McDonald who somehow hurled his body over the line. Sammut added the extras and it was apparent to us all that Wigan were visibly stunned as they stood behind their try line, some with hands on knees and gasping for air.

We then all watched as Wigan threw everything they had at us. However, we now had some confidence back and as the game wore on the young players took their opportunities. Horne made a break only to be felled by Betts in an illegal tackle and then both King and Gene were held inches short of the line. Then a dropped ball saw Wigan sweep back down field and Renoulf set up a great chance for Newton before he was stopped about a foot from the Hull line by a mighty tackle from Deon Bird. Finally, Sammut had to be alert as Farrell’s kicked through, before at last the hooter went, we had won 14-4 and the celebrations began. 

The scenes that followed were reminiscent of those great days in the early part of the previous decade when against all odds Brian Smith and then Noel Cleal steered us through that season towards the Premiership Final.  There was the same sort of high emotion everywhere and I remember that I had tears in my eyes as all the tension and pressure of the Lloyd years ebbed away on a tide of rejoicing and euphoria. “Hello, Hello, FC are back FC are back” echoed around the ground and we all stood there and applauded the team who obliged with a lap of honour. 

Although Wigan were to put over 120 points on us in our three other meetings that year, after all that had gone before in the Lloyd era, it was great to be watching open attacking rugby again and be proud of our team’s efforts. We had witnessed what was certainly a famous victory for us all, trouble was in store in the semi-final at Huddersfield, but for now this had been one game that will long with everyone who was there.

So there we are, another defeat in the closest of games and a good effort from everyone. If the defence was pretty phenomenal the execution with ball in hand was awful and we have to work on that before next week. Wigan creep ever closer and we also have Catalans and Castleford not far behind either. We talk about the importance of finishing third and that position has a distinct advantage in the current structure of the play-offs. That said with 10 days off now and 2 weeks off for the Cup final later in the month our remaining 5 games are pretty well spaced and we have a couple of good rest and recuperation periods. but we really do have to win at least three of those matches and preferably four of them. Next week we will meet a team that are tremendously desperate for points and do it on their own soil, at a ground that has not really been that good to us of late. What’s more, looking at the rest of our fixtures, it’s beginning to look like a must win game. 

Thanks as always to everyone who has contributed with their thoughts observations and suggestions this week and thanks as well for sticking with me for another Diary, as we move into the business end of another season on two heart breaking defeats. The game at Belle Vue is so important for both teams and although we’ve been disappointed of late, I wouldn’t swap places with Wakey for anything; it’s going to be tough going, at the bottom from now on in, and with them having Rovers, Wigan, Warrington and Leeds to play after us, I’m glad we are out of that one!!    

Every cloud eh? Thanks for all your support, see you all at Wakey and  

Try your best to Keep Believing for another week!!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf