The Dentists Diary – 386th

Still conceding penalties, still making some wrong decisions, but…..still battling like hell!!!

Despite some issues which Radford refers to as game ‘management’ that were particularly prevalent in the first half, there’s still hope, tons of hope because we never gave up and we never gave in, as for a second week running we gave a great display of battling together. In fact. I say that because for the second week running I left a game, in which I initially expected us to get a pasting, really heartened. Having lost two games on the trot Warrington were out for blood, but we blunted their threat and kept them pointless in the second half, few teams will achieve that in the coming months.

Regular readers of this weekly blog will know that I rarely get involved with discussions about referees, but this week has to be different, because for two periods as we valiantly defended our line in the second half, Childs was awful! Dressed head to toe in pink the officials were for me pretty poor and quite frankly they looked ridiculous too! We battled and battled our way back into the game in that second 40 minutes, but in the end we came up just short, however once again everyone stopped to the end and everyone acknowledged another close shave, where sadly, after all the heroics and in the cold light of day, we still missed out on the points.

As for a lasting memory from yesterday….well I simply loved the attitude of our players in that second half it was absolutely great!

Looking back over years of travelling to Warrington, I have some fond memories of Wildespool, like the night that Shane Richardson stood in the midst of us in the old Railway Stand after that Cup semi-final debacle at The McAlpine Stadium and then I have some not so happy ones like being beaten up in the toilets at the end of said stand at half time in the mad, mad, skinhead days of the early 80’s. It was a menacing sort of place really, which, if I’m honest, I wasn’t too sorry to see the back of!

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The Railway end at Wildespool-happy days eh!

However, opened in 2004 the new Stadium is a real victory for commonsense; almost enclosed all the way round, not too big with a great up close view of the game and good facilities throughout, it’s certainly a great venue. Providing of course you don’t get stuffed! We have had some good wins there too, none more so than that play-off victory under Johnny Kear in 2005 (Joey’s Going home!) and indeed last year’s victory against all the odds.

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Starting to fill up; it looks great it’s a proper rugby stadium with those corners covered!

After an ‘entertaining’ Friday evening watching the Sky game, (after which a lot of fans commented how nice it was that they had comedy back on the TV on Fridays), the pressure was off somewhat and I was pretty much at ease as I set off across the Pennines on what was in all fairness a pretty good journey. Although that said the rain and spray was horrendous at times coming home. However it was certainly better than the ‘Friday night carnage’ last weekend on the way to St. Helens.

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The FC travelling army were again absolutely superb and in the second half the team responded to their passion

The game showed again that whatever we do and however we play, it’s our discipline that at times is absolutely murdering us. We were hammered for possession, mainly because at times we seemed to concede penalties for fun. It was another game of two halves when the first was scratchy and the second superb. That discipline though, and our first half game management sunk us. A good example of the latter was when in the last minute of a sin bin period for Shaul, (which I have to say was well deserved), we went outside on the first tackle, Lineham was pushed into touch and from the ensuing scrum Warrington scored. We had done so well to hold out for 9 minutes when the opposition would have expected to capitalise on the extra man, but a moment of madness let us down as did several stupid penalties scattered across the 80 minutes. But that said, our intensity in defence was great as we nilled the home team in the second half and they got more and more desperate until the way they dumbly played out their final set showed how worried they were that we might snatch it.

One thing that’s pretty obvious is that Radford has really got the team pumped up and has had them like that in all three games thus far and despite our current shortcomings in discipline and nouse, if we continue in that vein, we’ll certainly win a lot more than we lose. We wanted it like hell and even during the warm up (which was conducted right in front of the travelling support) we looked focussed and almost hyper. That was then carried onto the pitch and it was another heartening performance for all of us who attended.

Performance wise the referee was crap and I remembering at one point thinking that he was probably the most salient factor in our eventual demise. One time he actually stopped the game while a Wolves player got some remedial blood bin treatment, but then five minutes later ordered Horne off for the same thing so that Warrington could continue to press our line, he had a real shocker for me! I said earlier I hate singling out referees but everyone around me agreed he had a mare! Perhaps when I watch it back, I’ll think it was more me reacting in the heat of the battle; but I somehow doubt it!!

However for us Houghton and Ellis were just massive and I thought that Thompson has come on leaps and bounds and again he punched way above his weight. Houghton was into everything and a constant thorn in the Wire when in several sets he was involved in at least 4 tackles and then up and running from acting half and making big yards down the middle. Paea and Bowden both did really well. Mickey has been a massive acquisition and made big yards downfield just about every time he had the ball, while Bowden gets better by the game and I honestly think in that form Green and Watts will have trouble shifting him now. Once again Westerman was really good and worked so hard. He’s had his best start to a season for us and is looking like a real loose forward. His reaction at the end when the hooter went had to be seen to be beleived, as he thrust his arms down in anguish it was obvious he wanted it so much. As fans that’s just what you want to see.

If there was one disappointment it was Feke who made the least impact we have seen since he signed. In the halves Horne worked hard but this was probably his least effective game thus far if I’m honest, but he never stopped trying while for me Rankin was pretty ineffective this week and thats a bit of a worry. Shaul had a better game and defended really well at times as he stopped at least two certain tries with crash tackles on breakaway Warrington backs. Whiting was left on the bench till late on which was a surprise really but as always he ran the ball in hard and tackled like hell once he was on the field.

Once Heramaia came on things started to happen and he certainly instigates a lot with ball in hand. Yeamo had a solid game and he pulled off the tackle of the game shooting out of the line near the end to hammer the Warrington attacker to the ground. On the other side Crooks and Lineham had their best outings thus far and Lineham’s try as he soared in at the corner and over the corner flag is worth another look later in the week. Talanoa scored but I’m still not that impressed really, although in fairness I guess it’s not really fair to criticise anyone too much except of course the referee! Our attack looks completely different to last year though, because it appears to be structured and cohesive and some of our plays are a joy to watch, as we spread the ball wider and faster than we have done for years; I’m enjoying it because quite simply it is at times really entertaining stuff.

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The players were visibly upset at the end and we can really ask no more.

So for me it was another brick in the Wall and another step towards us being a consistently steady team that entertains a bit too. If game management is (we are told by our coach) hard to teach on the training field, there should still be a few bollocking about this week. These should for me centre on conceding penalties and taking the right decisions. But it was in the end a good trip and an entertaining game although even after all that is said, I guess it was two points lost.

Next up on Friday at the KC for me it’s a must win game, we need to get some points in the next 9 matches (6 of which are at home), and we must win these home challenges early in the season to keep out of the relegation scrap. It’s also really important as we look forward to this weekend’s match against Bradford that folks turn up and support the FC, because gates across the game after that first flush of Round One excitement are worrying! It was certainly a bleak Friday over at Hull KR where an efficient, but still pretty predictable Cas out-fit, completely out played the Dobbins. However with about 500 Castleford fans making the trip the size of the gate, just over 7000, must be their biggest worry, It’s obvious that the actual core Rovers fans, despite all their pre-season hype, were fewer than last season. On Friday we need to show ‘em what supporting your team is all about and if you missed the last two away games believe me you should at least be entertained.

Well, it’s certainly been a very quiet week for FC news however the local paper somehow continues to come up with some sparkling, intuitive articles. This week, there was another great piece about Aaron Heramaia and his plans for the future. Entitled ‘Hull FC hooker Aaron Heremaia: ‘I’m enjoying my footy and have no plans to retire’, it expounded his willingness to consider going on and into next season which is certainly a change from what he said last April when he indicate that 2014 would be his last season in the British game before he returned home.

A jovial, endearing character off the field, Aaron (31) is obviously enjoying his rugby and in fairness I think still playing really well. So before we go any further let me say that I’d get him signed up tomorrow – because I think he’s great. However, his change of heart causes a bit of a conundrum for our Club concerning whether they should ‘stick or twist’ on a new contract.

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Young Cunningham is playing Super League every week and going great guns at London and he’s obviously intent on returning to the fold next year. If he is good enough he has to be the future in our hooking role for many years to come, while our administration has made it clear that they see our team built around ‘future captain’ Danny Houghton. So, where then for Heramaia?

Well for me the answer to that one could lie with Richard Horne who like Azza, is enjoying a real ‘Indian Summer’ as far as his playing career is concerned. Should Horney get injured or even decide to hang up his boots at the end of the season we would lose an organiser capable of covering Full back and both half back positions. That would means that a player (Heramaia) who could organise and play both half back positions and hooker would have great utility value, however having two with those sorts of transferable skills may be, with the cap, an unaffordable luxury. Both are great players in camp and vocal leaders on the field, while they are also accommodating and of great help to the youngsters.

Add to that the fact that Horney is earmarked to continue on into the ranks of our coaching staff and you realise the reason that perhaps the Club are stalling on offering Aaron an extension. Smailes of the Mail certainly got me thinking and it will be interesting to see which way Adam and Lee jump on this one won’t it? For me it’s a no brainer, I love to see him in our famous shirt and that supersedes anything else for me.

Talking of Richard Horne he was explaining this week about the way that he has grown into a more vocal player and having witnessed his first game for the Academy, it’s a sobering thought that he is in his 16th season (man and boy) at the Club. Each year, as the season dawns, I wonder if it will be Horney’s last campaign, his last hurrah and a season too far, but so far each year he has surprised me and this one is little different. Until he was injured last season he was our best creative player and to date this year he continues in the same vein. And, long may it continued because at Saints in particular he kicked well and literally chased everything leaving a lot of the kids trailing in his wake. I’m still a big fan, but as is always the case (because he’s local and he seems to have always been here), he’s considered by many to be a ‘prophet in his own land’, when actually he’s still a damn fine player. Well done Rich, keep surprising me and keep it up!

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Rich Whiting next Testimonial Event announced

Now some information about a big night for Rich Whiting as his Testimonial Committee host a spectacular version of ‘A Question of Sport’ at the KC on Monday 17th March. It’s also a chance for everyone to meet a good proportion of the Squad and there will be 3 teams of 4 players pitting their wits against a team made up of the coaches, so bragging rights are up for grabs big style with this one. That means at least 12 players will be in attendance and already confirmed to appear are Gaz Ellis, Joe Westerman, Jordan Rankin, Jacob Miller and Mickey Paea. Tickets are priced at £5 per person and are available from Jed via jed@rw2014.com or on 07780 117302. It’s another great chance to not only have a great night with the team, but also to help a player who is as loyal and deserving as they come. Tickets are going fast so make sure you don’t miss out and I’ll see you there!

How good it was to hear this week of Gareth Carvell’s valiant efforts to get fit for the Wire game. Having discovered his ankle isn’t as bad as we all thought, he was pumped full of injections and got as far as taking part in the last regular training session this week. Unfortunately the swelling came up and his ankle was sore, but he still put his hand up for selection. The medic’s ruled him out but he’s determined to be back for Friday and that for me is exactly what I want to hear from our players!

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Another readers pic, exactly who are Raoveras?

I see that my great hero of the late 80’s Garry ‘Porky’ Pearce has been helping out Rovers on a day to day basis and I was just musing on why the heck we hadn’t considered bringing him in as a temporary kicking coach, because in his day he was certainly one of the best ‘booters’ of the ball around. However he’s probably destined to be taken on at the Dobbins, because let’s face it you know how much they like our ex employee’s, be they on the field or off it!

On Friday we read of the new initiatives the Club are launching to try and entice visiting supporters back to the KC, which is without doubt a long trek on a Friday night for many fans. James Clark said that as a gesture of goodwill towards the supporters of the financially troubled Bulls, they would reduce ticket prices and provide free bus travel (someone no doubt then got a rocket and that changed in about an hour to heavily discounted bus travel). That last bit was something that riled a couple of fans in the Drum and Monkey that night. “It’s about time they subsidised our travel to away grounds” was the gist of the argument, but of course those fans were missing the point entirely. The whole idea is that if Coach travel from Bradford only costs say £8 a head using a local bus company in the West Riding. Then if the supporter pays say £18 for his ticket, the Club get possibly £10 they wouldn’t usually receive. OK the SMC will take some of that but it’s still growth, it’s still more bodies in the ground and hopefully, that means, more atmosphere too. It’s certainly great to see the Club thinking laterally and showing some enterprise about such things and anything that improves the atmosphere by filling the North Stand has to be good, because that atmosphere will make more local people go too. I’m going to watch this one with interest!

The big RL meeting at the KC last Wednesday saw Mr Koukash come in roaring like a lion and go out with his tale very much between his legs as his move to introduce the Cap exemption for one Marque player per Club was out-voted. Apparently Salford, Wigan, Warrington, Widnes and Leeds voted for it. The rest either abstained or voted against and with Wakefield voting against I bet there was trouble at bed time in the Hetherington household!! Bradford however chose not to attend the meeting, probably because they knew that for the first hour the rest of the Clubs would be talking about them!!

For me as a proposal it’s a double edged sword because if we ever expect to be able to retain our best British players then we have to pay them at least something like what they are likely to get in Australia. This was the chance for each Club, if they chose that course, to be able to fund such an outlay. For that reasons I am sorry it didn’t get through, however it was always doomed because there are just too many Clubs who are scared stiff of the richer owners taking over the top of the League by buying their way there. As for the ‘Golden Ticket’ idea that was muted by Mr K. whereby a Club can buy another Clubs cap extension off them, well I think that was certainly a giant leap into the dark for the game and in the end it was academic anyway.

Why did Clubs like us and Rovers vote against the move? Well, I don’t know, and when they tell us, it will be once everyone has got their story together! But just consider this; would you vote for something like that when you were guaranteed more income than the Salary cap year on year till 2021, if to vote yes meant that you had to step out of that financial comfort zone and lay dosh out for a Marque signing that in the end might not come off; particularly if a no vote meant that no one else could do it either?

TV is taking the game to a point where less and less is dependent on how many come through the gates as owners sit back and watch the cash role in. From a purely selfish standpoint, I’d rather Hull FC played in a competition that had some of the finest players in the world entertaining us, rather than one full of some bang average ones. Listening to the Sky crowd bigging average players up it just like a modern day remake of ‘The Kings new clothes’ That’s why some fans are walking away from the game because we can’t retain our stars. Love ‘em or hate ‘em if we’re honest, we all look forward to seeing Tomkins, Brough, Briers et al, live at our home Stadium.

In the old days every Club had a star and a baddy hard man type character and all week we’d look forward to their appearance at the Boulevard. For me I just don’t know why they don’t just put the Cap up to £2m and have done with it, because the richer Clubs could spend a bit more while for many of the others, who don’t spend up to cap, it’s academic anyway. I didn’t like Koukash when he first came onto the scene but at least he’s having a go and in so doing ruffling a few feathers. Anything that is seen to be shaking the game out of it sloth is for me, always a good thing.

There is little doubt that a lot of Clubs will have been following Leeds fortunes closely this week as they played against Catalan. Many in the game privately harbour thoughts that playing games in France hands a massive advantage to the home team, many in fact think the distance issue is a tad unfair. This has always interested me and the upheaval and de-camping of the whole operation to another country miles away, is something that can cause problems. Particularly at this time of year, as clubs have to travel to France a day or two before the game, returning the day after the match.

Outside the holiday season, that involves a flight to Barcelona and a coach transfer to Perpignan and the same schedule to return. In the early part of the season the problem is that there are simply no flights that go directly to Southern France. Teams have to travel on the Wednesday or Thursday and then there’s the flight, a three-hour coach trip and a couple of nights in a bed that’s not your own bed and food you’re not used to eating, plus a deal of time ‘kicking your heels’. Peter Sharp once told me there was a lot of down time on these trips which meant it was hard to keep the players sharp, something that was, for the players, quite tough to cope with.

For me that has always seemed a bit unfair, Ok the Dragons travel here every other week but in the end that’s their choice given that they joined the British League (I don’t buy into all this Super League Europe crap because let’s face it there’s little chance of there ever being more than one team that plays outside England) and even if you can get a result, there’s a massive impact and hangover that spreads in to the following week. So this weekend Leeds decided to go over and back in a day! They left, after breakfast at Headingley, at 8-00am on Friday morning and then hired a Charter jet at Leeds/Bradford airport.

They then had a 2 hour flight into Perpignan and with it being a charter flight they didn’t have to be at Leeds/Bradford airport the usual 2 hours in advance. The team arrived at the Hotel for 1-30pm, had a meal on arrival and then could either get their head down for a couple of hours, or relaxed before the game. Afterwards they flew out again at 12-00 midnight and were back in Leeds for around 2-30 am. It’s the second time Leeds have tried this schedule as they won there, 27-12 after using it last season, and again last night. I wonder how many more teams will follow their example this year. Private hire jets are costly, but so are three night stays in luxury French hotels for 35 or so people. It’s an interesting one!

I think it was D.H. Lawrence who regularly said, “Never trust the teller trust the tale” and with the amount of rhetoric there has been flying about in the game this week, it would still seem good advice! At Bradford once again it is another sorry state of affairs which, There has been much anger directed from the fans at the governing body this week chiefly for the way they have handled the Bulls dealings in recent times and as my pal Alan said this week, perhaps, “They couldn’t run a cake stall” The issues include the RL buying the lease on Odsal to recoup their loan to the Bulls, giving the club only half their central monies for two years and divvying up the cash between their rivals and then, declaring their intention to put the Bulls into financially binding ‘special measures’

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The continuing saga of the Bulls and the rhetoric between the previous owners of the Club, the fans and the Rugby League made it’s hard to know who to believe about the sad situation, although outside all the hot air radiating from the main protagonists the facts are perhaps pretty straightforward. What a mess it all is, the in’s and outs of which I ain’t going to go into again and anyway the facts as I say, seem to speak for themselves.

Bradford, like Wakey, London, Castleford, Widnes and even Salford have in the last few years had periods where they’ve been badly run. With the current much talked about disaster at Odsal, again the RL were quick to wash their hands of any blame, but I think you have to look back to the start of Licensing and Franchising to find the real nub of the problem. You see for me, it’s not all the Bulls fault, because despite their protestations, the RL have screwed up too. Licensing was a good idea, in fact the NFL in America and the NRL Down Under proved it to be one of the best, as in both those countries it has moved their relative games forward to not only be their major sport, but also their most lucrative dollar earner.

However in 2008 that particular new dawn in British Rugby League stood or fell by the RL’s ability to ‘grow some’ and stick unswervingly to the rules. They should be commended for laying them out quite clearly, but rules are no good if the Clubs don’t stick to them or the governing body doesn’t have the appetite or ‘balls’ to police them. The RL deducted the odd point here or there to keep face, but didn’t take any real action over constant transgressions from London, Wakefield, Salford and Castleford around the rules on Stadia, accountancy and finance which were clearly set out in the initial documentation as agree by all these Clubs. In fact in the case of Bradford when they got into trouble, they only went and bought the lease on their ground; and rented it back for a ridiculous 5 figure annual fee!!! What’s all that about? Significantly too, RFL chief executive Nigel Wood has steered clear of it all from the start; instead leaving Rimmer and Blake Solly to deal with it.

Now after years of fudging the RL find themselves in a right pickle where if they try to act now it’s too late, because Clubs will just point to their competitors and the way they have in the past got away with it and been bailed out. So, they thought, better get rid of Licensing quick and find some other weird and wonderful format!! If the rules had been adhered to religiously then the only issue, now that the league is to be cut to 12, would be deciding who goes down at the end of this season between Wakey, London and Bradford, and sad though it is for their fans, the way they have carried on; those administrations really do deserve it before the rest, like us and Rovers who have battled on, continued to trade and adhered to the rules!

I guess at the end of another week where off field issues have dominated those on the pitch, you might like me be thinking the same about the RL, namely, “What the hell is all this obsession with Bradford Bulls”, and more pertinently still, would they be so fussed and ‘bending over backwards’ where it Hull or Hull KR who were under such duress. Would they buy Caravan Park from the Gain group and rent it back to Rovers at a peppercorn rent or pay our players wages, month after month?? I know what I think the answer to that is, don’t you? It’s all a right mess!

My ‘Quote’ of the week this week comes from the travel information page of the Salford City Reds web-site which states that there is away fans parking at the ground but, “PLEASE NOTE THAT IF YOU CHOOSE TO PARK AT THE STADIUM YOU MAY HAVE TO WAIT UP TO 1.5 HOURS TO GET OFF THE CAR PARK.” To which I would just add two things, firstly what a bloody admission to make and secondly tell us something the fans who have been there don’t already know. Perhaps they should add, ”Why not take a nice walk all the way round the Stadium to the away supporters cash turnstile, before having to walk all the way back to the front of the Stadium to the ticket office, because there isn’t one! Mr. Koukash eh? Hot on spending big on players, gaudy jackets and mascots that look like him, not so hot on making sure you can get out of his car park though? Talk about a captive audience!

In this week’s Codgers Corner I want to take you back to the 1976/77 season and again to the much under estimated tenure of David Doyle Davidson as our Coach, when we were eventually promoted to the First Division having spent several years in the doldrums. It had not been all bad news though, because the previous season we had battled our way to that fabulous Players No 6 Trophy Final at Headingley, a game I covered a couple of weeks ago. It was therefore with great expectation that we took a break from the weekly grind of Second Division games to play first division high flyers Warrington in the first round of the same competition the following year.

We were having a great season having won ten of our first twelve games and hopes were high with the ‘Faithful’ that we could do a bit of ‘giant killing’. This week’s featured game took place on Saturday 23th October 1976 on a blustery afternoon at the Boulevard, with the BBC Grandstand camera’s in attendance hoping that the heroes of the previous year, (we had put out First Division clubs Leeds, Salford and St Helens) would be able to do it again, in front of their camera’s.

As was always the case back then the period leading up to the game went anything but smoothly, as our charismatic veteran scrum half Keith Hepworth reported in with flu. Eventually as also often happened he declared himself fit, although he clearly wasn’t and Hull changed the bench to drop Paul Hunter and include Chris Davidson as a precaution just in case ‘Heppy’ could not complete the game. We had a real character playing that season who was actually to work with me a few years later as a bouncer at the City Hall. Alan Wardell was back in the line up for this game after a four match suspension for fighting, something that he was proving to be pretty good at. He was a great forward though and his exploits with his fists meant that the Threepennies loved him.

Before the game started Chris Davidson and Brian Hancock were presented by Chairman Charles Watson with their Testimonial cheques having had a joint benefit over the previous 12 months. Almost immediately after the kick off Warrington was caught off side and Lazenby got us into a great position in the visitors 25 with a towering penalty to touch. The ball was tapped and passed to Wardell who showed no signs of his enforced lay off as he ploughed through 4 tackles towards the line. From the play the ball though, Hancock passed to Crampton who then dropped the ball, just as he crossed the whitewash. Warrington won the resulting scrum and Whitehead kicked up field but a well positioned George Robinson ran the ball back from full back as Hull threatened the Lancastrians line a second time. Again though Hull lost the ball and the game settled into a forward slog with Warrington prop Wanbon and second rower Martyn ‘mixing it’ with our forwards at every opportunity.

Then Mike Crane made a typical interception and set off on a 30 yard run, only to be tackled into touch by full back Finnegan as he tried to go round the outside towards the corner flag. However after Tony Duke had won the ensuing scrum against the head our right centre Clarke almost wriggled over the line but was held up by three Warrington players. It was all Hull in that first quarter but we had failed to get over the line. Warrington were just hanging on as the 4000 crowd roared the home team forward, with the ‘Threepenny Stander’s’ only stopping for the occasional taunting chorus for Eddie Waring up on the gantry above the Stand. Then, more niggling by the Warrington forwards saw us awarded two penalties in good positions but on both occasions George Robinson missed with his goal attempts; not a lot was going right!

Then Curling, the visitors centre, broke away and it took a thundering last ditch tackle from Portz to stop him scoring, but their other centre Nicholson snapped up a loose ball and Hull defence had to shuffle across quickly to stop him scoring at the other side. A fine move between Hancock and Hepworth on the half hour sent Wardell crashing through tackle after tackle before he was blatantly obstructed just 6 yards out by Cunliffe and this time Lazenby taking over the kicking, stroked the ball through the post to give us a two point lead. Six minutes from the interval the try that Hull had been threatening for so long finally came. Warrington were working the ball out of their own twenty five when Wanbon had a rush of blood to the head and sent a long looping pass sailing towards his winger. Up stepped Clarke to intercept and fly off down the field for 70 yards to score a great try. Lazenby’s conversion attempt from near the touch line just fell short but at half time the under dogs from the lower division went in 5-0.

The second half started in typical style when Hancock failed to make 10 yards with the kick and from the penalty Curling ran off down the field only to be crashed into touch by Alf Macklin just short of the corner flag. That ‘set the alarm bells ringing’ and Hull quickly moved the ball back into the visitors half were Tindall knocked on about ten yards out. From the scrum Duke again won the ball against the head and Hancock floated out a great cut out pass to Crane who shot through the Warrington line to score and put Hull 8-0 ahead on the 46th minute, with Lazenby adding the two points. Clarke who was having a great game almost scored again 10 minutes later when he crashed over but was held on his back and could not get the ball down.

As a Second Division team the pressure and pace of the game was starting to tell and ‘flu ridden’ Hepworth was replaced by the ‘all action’ figure of Chris Davidson who immediately upped the pace of our line and got the team moving again. Another player who was revelling in the occasion was Wardell who tackled like a terrier and in the 59th minutes started a punch up when he stoked Butler across the chops right in front of Referee Massey. That resulted in a ticking off and a penalty to the opposition which came to nothing. Then Boxall broke the line and bustled through the defence before cutting loose down the left where he passed onto Lazenby who went over for another try as our lead was stretched to 13-0.

The first division big boys were not enjoying what was turning out to be a humiliation in front of the TV cameras and as the chants of ‘Eddie Waring’s what’s the score’ rose from the Threepennies, a massive scrap broke out which once again Alan Wardell was at the heart of. In the end referee Massey, who obviously had no idea what to do and was fast losing control of the game, gave a scrum with head and ball to Warrington. From that the visitors substitute Price crashed in and Whitehead sent a towering touch line conversion through the posts. At 13-5 Warrington had a ‘sniff’ of a victory but great tackling by Boxall, Tindall, Wardell and Duke kept them out in three consecutive sets to kill off the game. This seemed to enrage Warrington all the more and another fight broke out a scrum which saw Wardell and Warrington’s Joe Price boxing in the middle of a circle of players (who resembled kids in the schoolyard shouting ‘fight, fight, fight’) to the obvious delight of the crowd.

The referee had to get in and separate them and with just five minutes to go sent both players off! In the dying seconds Keith Boxall made a superb break and kicked the ball forward. He then dribbled it through the visitor’s defence showing skills that the Sunday papers next day observed ‘Would have made England Football Manager Don Revie proud’. This dribble went on for 50 yards before ‘The Rhino’ picked the ball up, passed to Steve Portz and the centre ran in untouched to finish the scoring. Lazenby kicked the goal and at 18-5 the game was the shock result of the first round of the No 6 Trophy that year. In the next round we were at it again this time putting out Bradford, before Leigh finally did for us away in Lancashire in the third round but of course promotion followed!

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Yet another readers pic, and I see that Rovers are extending their merchandising to include self help -books now!

Friday night game is for me as I said earlier, an almost must win one, we have to keep away from the scrap at the bottom and as its not televised lets hope a few turn up to cheer the lads on. There has been lots of you contacting me this week in fact too many to do everyone justice with a mention, but special thanks again to Stu and Frank for the pictures please keep ‘em coming! Well done to everyone who went to Warrington it’s always good to be amongst friends and here’s to a big win this weekend, we certainly need one!!! Thanks again for all your support and…..

Come on You Hullllaaarrr!!!!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf