The Dentists Diary – 392nd

What a difference a week makes and boy how many times have I used that expression in this weekly blog!?

But, for what it’s worth that was for me, our best performance of the season.

The difference that made it stand out was simple really, we got the basics right we played the game at a high tempo and we rolled forward every time we were in possession of the ball. Plus, we kept the errors down and didn’t give away any soft penalties. But most of all we showed a great and solid defence and backed that up with a good kick and chase game, we played the ball quickly and, with lots of dummy runners, the acting half back options were varied and aggressive. In fact looking back to the Cup game, I now think that we were unlucky; not on the field so much as with who we were able to select, because had Ellis, Whiting and Carvell been available, then we’d have won. After Thursday I have little doubt of that!

But, the Cups gone and in a week in which we saw a game of musical chairs at Salford, watched the same drop goal attempt from every angle, for dozens of times and when Neil Hudgell and Sir Adam both received hefty fines for telling the truth. However last Thursday we witnessed an exciting game full of endeavour and some great attacking play!! In fact some top stuff to round off another strange old week!

In a game that I approached with (the now usual) trepidation and one in which even with ten minutes to go and a 24 point lead I was still working out how Huddersfield could come back (who can blame me, we all know what’s possible at home this year don’t we?) we witnessed a great display in front of the TV cameras.

When you actually looked at the Huddersfield line up, then despite the fact they were rehearsing their excuses about a short turn round even before they had got on the bus in West Yorkshire, they were without doubt a formidable outfit. Players will tell you when you lose in such heart breaking circumstances, as Huddersfield did against Saints, then you can’t wait to get back out there and put it right. For starters let me say that although Broughy is a player I covet immensely it was again an indication that however good your half backs are, in the end it’s the big men up the middle that lay a platform without which they simply can’t perform. He’s not a captain either for me; he’s too feisty when the chips are down! But Danny’s still a game breaker if you let him play, but our forwards particularly in that first twenty minutes were immense and didn’t let him dictate the play at all. Leaving the game I was thinking that although perhaps we ain’t there yet, could we be seeing the emergence of the best pack we have seen at the Club for years?

Hudds1
Touching Down. After that leap one thing is for sure; there’s nothing windy about Miller!

In fact watching the game again afterwards if I was to use just two things to describe why we saw such a fine display then they would be forward strength and our consistent and relentless tempo. For me the big guy’s determination to get over the advantage line on every occasion that we had the ball and the speed and strength we put into getting up, playing the ball and producing the go forward, were at times awesome. Carvell, who came off after his second spell looking so hyper, drained and bloodied that it appeared his head was about to explode, was simply immense and I think he was on reflection, probably my ‘Man of the Match’. But boy there were a few to choose from. However it was Gareth and the workhorse that is Micky Paea that laid the platform and with Ellis a giant of a captain behind them, they simply steam rolled the opposition’s pack in that first defining 20 minutes and forced 3 critical mistakes that led to our tries. If we can do that consistently them there will be no better 6 in Super League.

Hudds2
My Man of the Match; coming back from 6 weeks out, Gareth Carvell produced a performance that was for me best described as remarkable!

What an example Ellis set too, he played like a man possessed and in one spell of the second half he was involvement in 4 tackles in each of 4 consecutive sets!! Huddersfield tactics were to bring Crabtree on as our starting props went off and that and the introduction of the lighter and less experienced Thompson and Bowden combination, saw a second quarter of attrition in which we still only conceded just one score.

But, against one of the biggest packs in the game we battled through to half time and as we rotated our forwards again in the second period, the sheer tempo and roll forward we produced got us through. In hindsight it was a half when the casual observer would say we were never troubled, although, remembering Catalan and Salford I fretted and worried right through until the final 5 minutes, when at last I accepted we had won! As I said last week, I’m getting a terrible watcher and no doubt I’ll be back behind the settee again come next Thursday!

Houghton probably had his best game thus far this season and revelled in the momentum around acting half and our ability to regain our feet and get on with the ‘roll forward’. When you sit back in the cold light of the next day and watch the game again as I did on Friday…twice, you do realise the work and effort he puts in and most of all, you also appreciate how much he varies the point of play which must be a nightmare for a defence to call. Then there’s the half backs. Quite frankly, although I know in his post match interviews Radford was already ‘preparing the way’ for Horney ‘our best player thus far this season’ being back next week, I really do believe that we have to persist with Miller and Rankin because although pretty raw and a bit patchy at times, they are the future and have enough between them to gives us a deal of hope.

Yes Horney is a great player and has had a good season, but his age and the subsequent tendencies that brings with regard to injuries, sadly means for me that he is only a short term fix. The young guns have now to be given their head and then we can all decide whether they will fill the bill in positions that have been a bone of contention since their ‘oppo’ on Thursday night, Danny Brough left! Behind a superb pack I loved the way they in one minute flashed the ball across the field while in the next they were doing the hard stuff with Rankin scoring a great try through persistence and strength and Miller, the smallest man on the FC side, rising above the big Huddersfield defenders to grab a try himself.

Hudds3
He’s there!! Rankin’s almost super human effort just gets him over!

Jamie Shaul too deserves a paragraph because he is fast developing into a real star and has obviously worked hard at his game. Last season he was adequate at defending at Full back, a concern at times under the high ball, but always devastating on the counter. Now he is showing much better positional awareness in defence, his tackling has improved, he is now totally dependable under the high ball and still a great strike player. He has for me become a more rounded athlete and is progressing brilliantly.

Hudds4
Talk about picking on the wrong Fella; Grix wades in before he ‘Nando’s Out’ for the rest of the game!

As for the rest, well in the backs I thought Yeamo did really well and was perhaps our best one on one defender. I would say that wouldn’t I though, as apparently he’s my favourite!! Well he isn’t actually, but he must appear to be, as one reader described him last week as ‘Wilf Lad’. OK he’s slowing down a little and struggles at times to make the breaks he used to, but when coming out of the line he’s a top defender. Some of his one on one spotting was great and a massive hit on Crabtree in the second half left the opposition tending to ‘avoid him’ for the rest of the game. Talanoa had another big game, gained yards, took his try well and is a real handful in possession. He’s a big find and with a one year contract we have to secure the signature of ‘The Flying Dustman’ ASAP. Whiting had a smashing game and as the sage of recent weeks Mrs R. always says, “When Whiting plays well Hull play well” In that first quarter he had a hand in everything that was going on and in the second half got a 10 minute sin binning for standing still while he was being punched.

Hudds5
Whiting touches down! While Grix and Broughton can only admire his new boots!

We have to find a place for him in the team because for me we are always better when he is playing. He had a great game and what he lacks in pace, as I have so often said in here, he makes up for in brains and passion. Defensively he and Colborn sealed that ‘difficult’ right hand side up and also set up some great attacking positions too. Colborn again carried the ball up time and time again down the middle, while Tusan grafted throughout and is getting better by the game and Westerman again gave a really good showing in which he displayed a deal of flair at times and a lot of control at others. Heramaia again failed to spark as well as he can but worked hard and all in all it was a fine performance.

Hudds6
Not a happy bunny then Paul? Lee Radford’s not renowned for being a ’Looker’, but things could be a lot worse!

The fact of course remains, as I said right at the beginning, that if you get the energy and drive in your play, dictate the pace and cut out the penalties and mistakes then you will be very unlucky to do anything but win. We did all that, it came together and we saw our best performance of the season thus far. In my own mind I set a target of 2 wins from the three Easter games (I include this one in that) and with a game next Thursday that is always impossible to call and London Bronco’s on Easter Monday we should now attain that. On Friday morning before the rest of the weekend games we stood fifth in the table and I guess had I been offered that back in January I would have taken it, we just have to keep away from that bottom two. Once we are reasonably safe on that score, then I’ll start to consider the rest of the table. A great game though and as my pal Stu said afterwards what a great atmosphere from a small crowd!

I have particularly missed both Bowden and Hadley out of that resume because now I want to talk about something that has crossed my mind a time or two of late. Three years ago when Adam Pearson bought the Club his first action was to go out and get Ellis as a mark, I think, of his intent! He then switched focus to look at improving the back office and training facilities as far as the youngsters at the Club were concerned. We scoured the amateur game to get new faces in and rewarded those already here who had the necessary flair, with improved contracts, while also making them feel included and part of everything.

Under the financial guidance of Adam and the obvious ability of Andy Last the junior ranks of the Club flourished. Next up it was our previous Coach’s policy of ‘If their good enough they are old enough’ and so we saw Chris Green move up to first team rugby, quickly followed by Crooks and Lineham (Dream team players in their first year) and Jamie Shaul. This season we have now, after just 8 games, seen two more young guns make their mark in Bowden and Hadley and great performances last week has made them now both great prospects. The thing about all of these players is that although they are young and at times show their inexperience, they are all confident and mentally equipped for first team rugby.

They will, as Crooks is discovering at present, find it tough at times particularly when other teams find them out and give them special attention, but what a great accolade it is for Pearson ‘Home Grown’ philosophy when we see already after just 32 months of his patronage, 5 or six local, young players in the first team, all of whom have real potential and look to be good for the next decade. Is that good? Well it is when you consider in the 4 years before Adam bought the Club we saw just one, Danny Houghton come through. Both Bowden and Hadley were massive on Thursday night and a bright future beckons for them both.

When Adam first talked of a team full of home grown ‘Stars’ in 4 or 5 years time, we all smiled and gave a knowing “Yeh, Yeh, Yeh”, but although we’re not there yet, when you look at the talent in the Under 19’s at least that prophecy is becoming a distinct possibility! The future on that score looks pretty bright!

In the week gone by the decision to ship both Arundel and Crooks out to Doncaster under Duel Registration was hardly a surprise to anyone in fact had you asked any fan ‘where next’ for our beleaguered Right hand Three Quarter duo after the Salford game, then a couple of weeks in South Yorkshire would have been the polite answer!!!! For me it just makes so much sense because it’s a competition where they will both be re-invigorated and get their confidence back………. or get found out.

It’s a tough Division to play in with lots of young guns on the up and old men trying to make a point and it will be interesting to see how they get on. I worry about Arundel anyway as you know, but Crooksey has some facets that point to a massive talent but his confidence and thus his choices in defence, is shot at present. The big question of course is really about young Ben’s temperament and how he will take the ‘plummet’ he has experienced from Super League Dream Team member to stand in centre at Donny! That’s the big test, he undoubtedly has the talent, but how he comes through will invariably tell us whether in fact he has the steel of character to be a massive star for years to come, or just a one season wonder. The answer I think is in his hands.

I was really pleased when the Club introduced a direct debit scheme to pay for next seasons season tickets last Tuesday, and I for one, signed up that night! It’s a 10 month ‘Diddlum’ type of scheme that helps you spread the cost of your 2015 subscription and only really takes the place of what many of us do already in our own ways, which is save up every month for next year’s ticket. FC Voices have talked to the Club for the past three years about ways of making it easier for fans to subscribe to the season scheme and although James Rule always discounted any such payment in advance scheme as too difficult to manage, Adam has always been open to the idea and no doubt another dip in season sales this time around and another lobby from the supporters group last November, has focussed his thoughts and brought about this excellent new scheme.

The way it works is that it’s a straight direct debit into an account and at present you don’t even have to actually apply for your seat. When the season ticket scheme is announced later in the year your contribution either transfers to your current seat, to a changed one if that’s what you want or to a new one if you haven’t already got a pass. There are people out there who after Salford were threatening already to never again get a season ticket (where it ever so) and those who just don’t know whether they will be able to attend or are available in 2015, but for fools like me, with such a significant year in the Clubs history coming up, it’s a smashing idea which I can see being very popular particularly for older fans, who have a deal less disposable income than they once had.

The announcement that the Club are talking to Shannon McDonnell about a severance payment and the ending of his contract was old news when it emerged in the Mail on Tuesday. I have been telling you as much for weeks and in effect he has been de-registered because if he doesn’t play for us this season then he doesn’t count under the cap relegations. I do believe in fact that we have spent his cap allocation on Colbon, Carvell and perhaps even Talanoa. So let’s look at what we can glean from the situation thus far and where it will all end up. What I do know is that Peter Gentle is big friends with Shannon’s Dad and valued our Aussie recruit from Rovers very highly. In fact Gentle, (who was always a pretty good judge of talent, even if some of them ended up not wanting to play for him), wanted his skills at full back really badly and as we couldn’t accommodate him at the time, it transpired that he only signed for a year at Rovers until we could accommodate him at Hull FC.

Our Coach in fact tried to extend our full backs contract before the end of the 2013 season, just before he knew he was leaving, a move that was vetoed by Adam, for reasons that soon became obvious. I also know that Shannon was on a really good wage and certainly up at the top end of our salary structure. He was of course a very talented player but it was a real surprise when he was given the number 1 shirt again this season because I felt even back then that he was destined never to play for us again. Instead, I believe he got that shirt just to make the point that nothing is guaranteed, to Jamie Shaul, but that’s all water under the bridge now and with Jamie flying at full back, Shannon certainly won’t be gracing the famous black and white again. It’s a shame, he is a very good player and really dangerous returning the ball, in fact there is little doubt that he’s a good all round full back. I wish him well and hope that as I always say, he doesn’t come back to bite us because Bradford are now said to be interested.

Look I don’t like Garry Schofield much. I hated the way he treated us in the 80’s but my disdain waned somewhat with time, however I tried to have a conversation with him at a Heritage Day a couple of years ago at the KC, but he was pretty arrogant and certainly overtly outspoken (just for the sake of being outspoken) about my Club and our owner. Still it takes all kinds I guess and those who know him keep telling me how much he cares about Hull FC, although when I read his column in League Express (where despite the plethora of subjects and Clubs out there, we seem to feature in just about every week), it’s hard to see how he can! Take last week when he said we were ‘garbage’ this season, ‘slagged’ off our two young half backs as being way too slow, while accusing Joe Westerman of falling in love with himself, Gareth Ellis of being ‘well past his sell by date’ and the players of getting successive Coaches the sack.

How good it was that our game last Thursday was televised and everyone out there in the world of Rugby League, could judge for themselves, just how accurate and knowledgeable our Mr Schofield really is!!

When I’d finished reading Schofield’s thoughts I was well p*ssed off with him, but that just bore out what hundreds of you thought I guess. However all that said, his last comment about our players getting Coaches the sack did resonate a bit afterwards. I am not being disloyal here, because as you all know I love my Club but let’s face it there was certainly the hand of Swainey and Co in the exit of John Kear in 2006. Then there was a whiff of rebellion in the dressing room in Peter Sharpe’s departure two years later, although after him Richard Agar played into Adams hands as in a series of episodes of abject naivety and/or disloyalty he managed to sign his own ‘death warrant’. However after that we all know, or think we know, what happened when Peter Gentle went. So, in the spirit of bearing my soul and saying what I feel in here even if it involves a subject that is seen as taboo by many and indeed talked about openly by few, perhaps Schofield at least has a point there.

In the case of Mr Gentle it would perhaps follow that the players were not only instrumental in the demise of the affable Aussie, but it’s strongly rumoured that maybe they also influenced the choice of his successor! Before they come looking for me, I’m not saying that any one player or group of player are to blame, because I’m sure they ain’t, but perhaps, just perhaps, there is a deep rooted culture of rebellion entrenched in our squad and inherent in the culture of the group. I don’t think its vindictive but more probably borne out by just how much some players love this Club, but it’s a bit of food for thought there and although I don’t want to believe it, it’s certainly possible don’t you think? For me however I still trust the future and custody of my Club to Adam and back Radford and as for Schofield? Well he’s still just a Dick!

So, after hours of video deliberation, animation and hi tech jiggery pokery, Sky TV proved this week on Boots and All that Brough’s drop goal attempt against St Helens in the Cup was indeed probably wide; Bentham had to make a snap decision and if he hadn’t the subsequent video evidence showed that the camera angles proved inconclusive, until that is there were graphic enhancements of elongated posts, on the midweek TV show. This does of course pose the question as to whether it’s about time the RL introduced a standard size for goal posts across the senior game.

At the KC Stadium hardly a week seems to go by without the fans debating whether a kick is in or out because of the ridiculously short length of the uprights. It’s the same at other grounds around the game where heights vary as does the circumference of the ‘sticks. In fact, I can only think of the posts at Headingley being in the age old tradition of towering goal posts. How ironic it is in fact that the posts at West Hull, which are in fact the old posts from the Boulevard, (that the amateur Club rescued and refurbished), are much more fit for purpose than those at the KC.

It’s certainly been a subject that Fans group FC Voices have raised with the SMC a time or two, with the reason cited that we can’t have the full size posts that were originally in place at the new Stadium was because the addition of the top sections took too much time and was too difficult when switching from Rugby to Football.

Hudds7
Our posts from my seat….simply a joke!

The same excuses are trotted out at Wigan and Huddersfield too. The thing is there are two pages of regulations about sizes etc in the NFL rules for American Football, while we seem to have no such specifications and everything is fine as long as the posts are the right distance a part (5.5m) and the crossbar the regulation height (3m) from the ground. There is a minimum height for the uprights which is 16m, but this is for rugby at all levels and in my mind should be changed for senior rugby. The game is becoming more of an ‘exact science’ year on year and until this changes and exact specifications on height and circumference of posts are agreed and put in the rules of the game, then we will have to rely on referee’s and back line judges making snap judgements on where they think an extended post would be. I think it needs sorting.

However at Huddersfield they ain’t going to be caught out again and iare already preparing for Mr Bentham’s next visit!

Hudds8

Last week I stood back like most ‘innocent bystanders’ and watched with interest the manoeuvrings at Salford as Mr Koukash continues to amuse most of us lot and no doubt worry a few Salford fans. They’ll no doubt be still enjoying the ride and putting aside any deep seated concerns, but they should always consider the question; when did you last see a team buy big style and then get instant success? To me it looks like ‘Marvellous Marwan’ thinks he can do that, but will it all end in tear? I have to question too, the motivations of Iestyn Harris. Has he left a good position at Wigan and gone to Salford because he has a burning ambition to be a Coach working for a control freak, or has he simply moved for the money? Don’t forget it wouldn’t be the first time in the dour Welshman’s career that he has prostituted his integrity for money. Just ask the Leeds fans about the pain of that and the Bradford fans about where it left them!

I have to say that I feel for Noble a bit, I’ve said many times over the years that as far as ‘Nobby’ is concerned I’ve never fancied him as our Coach, but you can’t deny that he has done a good job at the various Clubs he’s trained and his media persona has, I have to admit, seen me warm to him a bit of late. He took Bradford to several Finals and the Bulls decline only really started after he left and McNamara took over. He also to his credit got a very unlikely Crusaders team into the top 8 play-offs, before a certain Mr Harris took over from him and the North Wales Club spiralled to oblivion. Now we have the same Iestyn following him again this time into Salford, a Club that are fast gaining the reputation of having more coaches than Acklams!!

What happens when Harris flops? (I don’t say he will, but there is precious little evidence to indicate that he won’t). Well, the thing about Noble is that whatever else you say, he can deal with the ego’s and the ‘Big Time Charlies’, he did that at Bradford, at Wigan as well and seemed to cope reasonably well with them in the GB Camp, (well better than the current England Coach did last time around anyway). At Salford managing personalities such as Hock and Chase can’t have been easy, but they were starting to play together as a team, as we found out to our detriment last week. He was for me certainly the ideal candidate to control a group of ego’s, journeymen and ‘others who thought they were stars’. He’d won 3 of 7 Super League games and of course got through a close Challenge Cup encounter away from home, after which, next morning, he was out of the door!

Koukash is going to find out the hard way I think that there are two things you can’t do in British Rugby League; you can’t buy instant success nor can you bully your way to it. Look at the game at the KC he didn’t sit with Noble, or in the directors box or indeed with the guys up in the stand, but instead went and sat in the dug-out with the Assistant Coaches. Talk about undermining your Coach. There was quite a good insight into the psyche of Marvan in an editorial piece by Danny Lockwood in League Weekly last week. He told of information he had received from one of the country’s top race horse trainers who invited the good Doctors down to his stables only to be lectured by him about how he should train his horses.

He apparently then went on to interfere with everything and always knew best, in fact the trainer said, he told him everything except “How to shovel the S*it!” The guy is fast taking on the appearance of a control freak but he is at least proving very entertaining for the rest of us fans across the game. However if I were to offer any advice to the star struck Salford fans, then it would be enjoy the ride, but be a bit afraid too because it might be a short one!

We always seem as a Club to be on the hunt for half backs and over 55 years of watching Hull FC that has usually been the norm. We have had veterans like Hepworth and Kevin Dick, youngsters like Pickerill, Horney and Tommy Lee and all manner of stand in’s and unlikely ‘ mis-fits’ too. We have also of course occasionally imported a really good one from Australia and this week in Codgers Corner I want to look at one such player. It’s not Peter Sterling or even Des Hasler but it’s still one that sticks in my mind as being another real talent. It was the 1987/88 season the second of the ‘reign of terror’ of Len Casey as coach of the club. Our Board of Directors had at least done their best to help our beleaguered coach by attracting one of Australia’s best young players to the club. Scott Gale had been on Chairman Roy Waudby’s radar a couple of years earlier, when he and the then coach Arthur Bunting had travelled ‘Down Under’ scouting for players to bolster our depreciating squad. They brought Geoff Gerard back on that occasion but at that time Gale had decided that he would be better off finishing his studies at University before he contemplated a season over here.

However by October 1987 he had arrived at the club, (a week before his fellow countrymen Dave Brooks and Terry Regan), to give us a much needed boost and he made his debut against Leigh at the Boulevard on Sunday 4th October 1987. The 22 year old from the Balmain club slotted straight into the off half berth that day, beside regular scrum half Phil Windley with our usual number 6, Gary ‘Porky’ Pearce, going to centre.

The weather was breezy but sunny as we kicked off towards the Gordon Street end of the ground, and on this occasion I watched the game from the relative safety and ‘comfort’ of the Threepenny Stand. Despite the diminishing gates we were experiencing at that time, the crowd of 5051 made lots of noise as Windley kicked off and Leigh drove the ball back at us from inside their own half. Gale started his FC career perfectly when after just three minutes a fine move started by Nicky Elgar and Paul Fletcher saw the young Aussie send out a perfectly flighted pass to Paul Eastwood, who stormed in at the corner.
Twenty minutes later after a period of Leigh pressure that our defence thwarted right on our own line, Scott was involved again. This time he made a break leaving the Leigh centre Henderson ‘for dead’ before finding Divorty who sent out another magnificent pass between two advancing defenders to put Gary Pearce in wide out. Pearce failed to convert both tries but was successful with a penalty and after 23 minutes we led10-0. This lead was however destined not to last, and within 8 minutes Leigh got onto the scoreboard through a converted try by Cottrell. Then, just two minutes from the break, disaster struck as we lost possession at a play the ball (which we did on three occasions in that first half). There seemed little danger at first, as we lost it about thirty yards from the Leigh try line, but scrum half Ford and his half back partner John Kerr combined to pass to Ian Jeffries who somehow waltzed his way round Fletcher, Eastwood and O’Hara to round off a brilliant 60 yard run to the line, which drew the scores level. A conversion gave the visitors a 12-10 lead, and our poor tackling, that certainly lacked aggression, gave Leigh great hope and they looked capable of taking charge as the half time hooter sounded, to save us in the short term at least.

It was a typical display from the Casey managed Hull FC because our tackling was weak and our defence seemed to lack any sort of organisation at all. From the start of the second half Leigh pressed but somehow we managed to keep them out and then a break out of defence by that man again, Scott Gale, gave us a rare foothold in the visitors half. Divorty ran a beautiful scissors move with Phil Windley which even had us spectators wondering where the ball was, and he passed onto Pearce who was, by now, having a brilliant game. ‘Porky’ stepped one way then the other drew Round the Leigh winger and then released Eastwood on a free run to the line. A brilliant Pearce conversion made it 16-12 and we had our noses in front again.

Only Five minutes had passed when back came Leigh with a well worked Henderson try which Johnson failed to convert as he did for the next two penalty’s that followed in quick succession and it was certainly apparent that their usually ‘safe’ goal kicker was losing his confidence, as the second effort hardly left the floor.

Still the visitors were level and in fact went into the lead when the same Johnson dropped a goal as for the second time in the game Leigh snatched back the lead. At 16-17 everything got a bit ‘heated’ and several scrums erupted into skirmishes that referee Kevin Spencer had to deal with as Sharp, Jackson and Dannett all traded punches with the visitor’s front row. It was obvious to us all that the physical presence of Brooks and Regan could not arrive in this country quickly enough, because our pack although battling valiantly was out muscled most of the time. However the young Hull forwards battled on and eventually got their reward. A brilliant solo effort by Scott Gale which saw him cut inside and beat three players with one step, followed by a conversion from the touchline from Pearce saw us in the lead 22-17 and all we had to do was hang on. However in the dying minutes Kerr got free for Leigh and released Ford, who ‘danced’ his way over just 15 yards to the right of the posts. All Johnson had to do was convert the try for the visitors to win but, his confidence shattered, he sliced the kick well wide, and we held on to record a great if unlikely victory.

You could sense the relief around the Boulevard as referee Spencer blew the final whistle, and we all realised that we had ‘got out of Jail’ with that last missed kick, still ‘a wins a win’ but it was a short respite in a series of results that were to see us floundering at the bottom of the League and parting with our coach, as the final push to the end of the season was a close run thing. Great memories and a pretty good half back too!!

So its Derby week again as we prepare for a rather unusual Thursday trip to the vomitarium to face the old enemy. I hate Derby’s and I know a good few of you reading this share my disdain for them. They never used to bother me but there are simply now too many bloody Derby’s. They are a necessary evil for all fans and history dictates that the fact that we have fared quite well in them of late, doesn’t bode well for this one at all, does it?

Still at least they are trying to make us welcome with the catering as Rovers have just had a dozen of these posters done this week.

Hudds9

As for me well I’ll be watching from behind that settee again as more and more fans seem to renege on attending. Even the ex players who usually have a table or two in the Dobbins restaurant have hired the upper room of a Town Centre pub to watch the game together! I simply can’t stand Derby’s I’m afraid!

Thank you all for reading yet another Diary. I have once again tried my best to say it as I see it and I hope you found at least something to interest you. The amount of correspondence, criticism and just plain well wishing I have received this week has been amazing again and I even made a new pal in the Drum and Monkey on Friday night as we watched that great televised game. So thanks to everyone who got in touch and please note that as it’s Easter the next Diary will be out on or around Tuesday 22nd April!

So Good luck to all of you who are going to Caravan Park on Thursday, I hope you’ve all had your injections and that you return safe and sound with your wing mirrors intact!!!!!!!!!!! AND OF COURSE……

COME ON YOU HULLLLAAAARRRR!!!!!!

Faithfully Yours
WILF

And Finally…….
A word on Rugby League Club Mascots, don’t you just love ‘em??

Hudds10
On the left is the Dewsbury mascot but note the guy on the right who was heard to be saying, “Roger the Ram; that’s a name not an instruction, right?”
Incidentally I wonder if the guy in the middle is ‘Burglar Bill’, the new Rovers Community Mascot???