The Dentists Diary – 411th

You see, in some circumstances I don’t actually mind losing! Yesterday was a satisfying performance but then against a frustrating loss in, as has been the case all season, a game we should have won!

I always want to win and I’m always sad and disappointed when we don’t, but when there is little at stake you do look beyond that a bit for some hope and a few indicators of progress. I think as fans most of us look for a performance in these sorts of game and for me at least there were plenty to be positive about at Huddersfield yesterday. I was just looking for some heart and some tenacity. The Giants pack got ‘over us’ for periods of the game and the referee was instrumental and again remembered for all the wrong reasons. However we also scored some good tries and with five minutes to go, were still within one score of getting something against the in-form hosts. For a match against a team on a roll, who have looked really good of late, I think driving there I might just have taken that!

So, there was little for this fan to be really annoyed about this week and I had a good afternoon out. I guess I was still enjoying the glow of a great derby win that has been all everyone has wanted to talk about this past week and at Huddersfield, but in a carnival atmosphere we did at least enjoy an absorbing and pretty even contest that once again, like so many times this term, we could and should have won!

Well, we’re driving home, I’ve got the lap top on my knee and it’s great to see plenty of FC cars passing us and heading home (Mrs R is driving and…. she’s nothing but steady!!) I wonder if I will look back in ten years time and say I was there when Harry Tyson Wilson made his debut because coming on in the second half when we were under the pump the youngster had a real go. Defending under Yeamo’s ‘wing’ out in the right centre, he was immediately targeted and got really thumped twice in the first two minutes, but as soon as we had the ball he was pushing the ‘old hands’ aside to get at it and playing at acting half, he looked a real prospect.

Having come straight from coaching West Hull under-14s in their National Cup semi-final victory he was soon ordering the players around and certainly looks to have it ‘attitude wise’. I watched as he skipped across the line first to the left and then to the right and he obviously relishes having the ball in his hands. He looks a pretty special talent and the way, at his age, he shouts the odds, is quite unbelievable. Yes he’s physically wanting and could probably do with some of Mrs. R’s porridge, but he has great vision and a really good pass and with his encouraging cameo appearance and young Jack Logan starting at centre, the future certainly looks bright.

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“If I close my eyes I can pretend I didn’t tackle him!”

Starting the game with Sa and Horne missing with the dreaded sickness bug that has swept through the Club this last two weeks and several players soldiering on with it, (plus Feke out for the season), the starting half back pairing of Heramia and Rankin looked a bit makeshift. However they did well and Rankin is really blossoming into a good player who has the personality to be a massive fan’s favourite. He still has ‘rushes of blood’ and one pass that led to a Giants try was just raw panic but you have to accept that and if you can see continuous improvement, you should be pleased. Jordan produced a towering kick for Houghton’s opener, scored one, made a couple and was always involved, in fact for me he was probably Hull’s best player.

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Quite frankly it was pretty hot and the warm up appeared to be just that!

Our second try from a cross field kick by Houghton which Heremia ran onto, was absolute class to watch as was the Rankin breakout finished by Shaul and the penultimate one from a Rankin pass to Thompson which was also impressive. That Heremia touch down was what my pal Ian calls (in memory of that effort at the Magic weekend last season) a ‘Start running now Greeny’ try, as we all looked to the touch judge to see whether Aaron was onside, but he was and it was a perfectly executed move and a great, great try. Joe Westerman did well too, particularly when you consider he was in bed on Wednesday and Thursday with that stomach bug.

Super League XIX Huddersfield v Hull FC.
Micky Paea; we looked better when he was on the field.

The thing is wide out in flashes, the Giants just had too much class and that man Brough was simply fantastic at times. It’s just everything he does; his kicking is great, ball distribution varied and accurate and he leads from the front. Plus he can pull off a good tackle at times too. When you’re in hole he’s the sort of player who can lead you out of it and of course he did. Boy what we could do if he played for us!

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Broughy Eh? He can tackle a bit too!!

We kept on him and tried to stop the flow, but better teams than us have come up short in that department! I guess our downfall was some extra defensive sets following two stupid penalties for holding down just before half time, as on a stifling hot afternoon, a distinct lack of energy could be detected amongst our ranks as the Giants ran in two quick tries.

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Ouch!!!

Had we held out there, who knows? But, at least we came out for the second half rejuvenated again and took it to them. On the down side two of their tries came from those penalties and one from a lost ball, the referee missed a touched ball which should have seen us get another set, but which caused us to kick hurriedly and give up possession from which they scored again. The Huddersfield game plan is always based on their forwards getting on top and the backs finishing it off, Watts and Bowden tried hard but we definitely looked more comfortable when Paea and Green were on the pitch. Ellis was massive again for me and scored a real captains try to drag us back into the game.

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A good turn-out of FC fans considering there was nothing at stake

Still as I journey home, I can’t believe that’s the last away game, but after a torrid season I guess many of us are looking forward to a bit of a break. However there was a good FC following (which the stewards said was around 700), who stayed to the end and applauded the lads and perhaps the high spot on the terraces was when Airlie Bird arrived without his ‘cloths’ on, sporting a sling from his exploits last week. He got a tumultuous reception and a chorus of “You’re not flappin’, you’re not flappin’, you’re not flapping anymore”. Plus it was great to see two Lancaster bombers fly over the stadium in the first half. There was plenty of fancy dress around too, as is the age old tradition for these last away matches and we actually walked to the game with Zorro and Tigger! So in the end a really entertaining match where everyone had a real go but which once again we could have won.

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Here it is; the exclusive ‘Feathers’ unplucked, complete with broken wrist! Great bloke!

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Lots of fancy dress as is usual for the last away game!

So what else has been happening in the last 7 days? Well during the week amidst the post Derby hysteria the transfer merry-go-round continued to whirl and I was almost embarrassed to even wonder if there was anything in the Gareth Hock rumours. What a load of rubbish that was, but a lot were running with it and certain people on the radio were making mischief as I found myself saying, “Surely not?”. However for me it could never ever happen at a Club that is trying to improve its Culture and perhaps it was just wishful thinking and an attempt at mischief making from the East. In fact at a time when we needed a signing that would inspire ticket sales, I could see a lot sending theirs back, should friend Hock be muted by the Club. The man is the loosest of ‘loose cannons’ and we were lucky that Richard Agar was gazumped by Wigan when we tried to sign him while he was banned a few years back. Meanwhile the Mail had us linked with the mysterious Chris Naughton, who was, in the end, a Sub Editors misprint for ex Bradford starlet Curtis Naughton.

Back in 2012 Naughton was hailed in West Yorkshire, as the next big thing, before he quit his 3 year deal under a cloud and went off to Australia to find his fortune. However for me, if we sign him then temperament wise he’s a risk as he appeared to take his bat and ball home at the Bulls, and let’s face it we have plenty of them around the place already. Oh and whilst we are on the Wiff’s side of things, don’t forget who told you first about Reece Lovegrove going to London rather than back to Australia. While we’re on about them lot, watch out for Rovers making a new bid for Todd Carney. Their Chief Executive is out there trying to get him now. You’ll remember Carney was the player who was sacked for appearing in pictures that featured him carrying out a disgusting act (bubbling as the Aussies affectionately know it) an action that led to Peter Sharp resigning as the Cronulla Chief in June and the NRL telling Carney he was no longer welcome in the competition! Nice bloke, we’ll have some fun with him!!

It was however good to see that in his last game at home in Aus. Minichello got 30 hit ups, made 17 tackles, scored one try and was awarded the man of the match ; not bad for a ‘washed up has been’ eh? I’m told Radford enjoyed watching him on Sunday morning.

One of the worse kept secrets that did come to fruition this week was the signing of Steve Michaels from the Gold Coast Titans, which became a reality on Friday. Last Monday, Smailes of the Mail got the story which had rattled around message boards for some time and it was only the fact that his signed contract still hadn’t come through that stopped the Club from announcing the deal was complete. Youtube clips are not always the best indicators of a players ability but what the one on Naughton does at least indicate is that he is lightening fast and will, in that case, be a welcome addition to the sparse ranks of FC players that can outrun a defence over 80/90 yards. However he hasn’t played much at all of late and his short one year contract does indicate a player with a point to prove coming to try his luck. Still it’s a good deal because he comes with the Club securing an option on the second year, so if he’s any good no-one can nick him, but if he’s not, we can release him.

In these situations with Aussie imports it’s easy to see why Minichello, in the twilight of his career, has taken the plunge but in the case of a 27 year old who has played well over 100 NRL games but not many lately, you have to ask whether he is coming because he is just not good enough to sustain a career in the top Aussie competition. However his arrival will puts pressure on Shaul, Yeaman, Lineham, Sa, Talanoa et al and create more competition for places.

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A man with a point to prove?

Therefore I welcome him and although probably the most light weight to date, I have to at least say that our signings this year are much better than those we made during and just after the 2013 campaign. Pitts was, for example, always a worry for me and it was a relief really to see him go to Bradford this week to clear another ‘out on loaner’ from the payroll. Arundel and Miller and even perhaps Crooks, (although that one is more complicated) still fall into that category but it is I guess a question of how much Adam can afford to spend paying off these players.

Our wage bill and cap situation is still a mess and a problem that is emphasised by the fact that even though we are operating right up to the legal limit, we are also paying part of the wages of several deregistered FC players that are out on loan and who will cost us a bit if they too are to be paid off. Although the cap is set at around £1.9m, in reality I wouldn’t be surprised if the Club (Adam), (with these liabilities and the wages paid to our youngsters who are outside the cap), is shelling out well over £2.2m in player wages at present.

So to our new half back Leon Pryce, and I was talking to someone at the Club the other day who had recently had a long chat with our new recruit. Pryce has been dropped by his current Club apparently for no other reason than that he is leaving. Reading twitter over the months, there is little doubt at all that Pryce is liked by his colleagues at Catalan and will be missed. He’s also bluntly honest with them, something that I think appealed to his old pal Radford because he’s also a bit of a ‘leader by example’ off the field. However I was told that the French Club are unhappy that he has told a couple of his current colleagues a few home truths about their behaviour off the field and their application on it, the French Club didn’t like it and thus his suspension. I was told that it was something the rest of the team ‘secretly’ agreed with, but won’t publically be seen to condone for fear of ‘rocking the boat’, and so the Club has decided to distance themselves from him and he’s now back in England.

I got a bit fed up this week with Rovers fans telling me how badly they played in the Derby, when of course it was more down to the way we mullered ‘em for the full 80 minutes at the KC. However what a lot might not have known at the time is that several of our squad had a stomach bug during the days before the game (something that has continued this week) and in fact, Andy Last was actually told to stay away in the run up to the Derby. That was also the reason why in form second rower Dean Hadley didn’t feature in that glorious victory!

Even towards the end of last week I was still buzzing after that performance against Rovers and it seems many others were too. I don’t often go into Hull City Centre but I did last Thursday and I was amazed by the amount of FC shirts I saw about the place. It was obvious too, that many wearing them so proudly, were lapsed fans who were just enjoying the moment; well they were judging by the state of their apparel. There were black V’s, a black ‘The Deep’ 2005 away shirt, single hoops and even one irregular number with some purple in it! Great stuff eh? However, we all take that warm glow and aftershock of ‘Drubbing the Dobbins’ differently and my old pal Mike Ulyatt sent me the following appraisal of the game way back in 1957, when Rovers were last nilled and which was actually played on a Monday, here it is:-

7th October 1957; Hull KR 0 Hull FC 21.
Played at; Boothferry Park.
Attendance; 20,156. Receipts £2476. (average ticket price 12.5p or 2/6 in old money)
Teams;
ROVERS — G Coulson, Garton, Kellett, B Coulson, Shaw, Key, R Evans, Grice, Walters, S Evans, Sutton, Matthews, Bangs.
HULL FC– Bateson ( 3 goals), Cowan ( 2 tries) Saville ( try), Turner, Dannatt, Broadhurst, Finn ( try), Scott, Harris, J Drake ( try), Hambling, Hutton, Whiteley.
Referee; Mr A Holgate of Dewsbury.

As an aside; after that drubbing, on 30th November, Rovers approached Hull FC with an offer for Colin Hutton to take over as head Coach at Caravan Park. Wilf Spaven became Chairman and Colin’s immediate signings for the Robins were Coverdale, Riley, Holland, Scholes, Magee, Mortimer and Griffett as well as Hobson from Australia. Brilliant that Mike and thanks for giving us something that will have John Fletcher and a few others in the cognoscenti of those great days of the 50’s, hitting their keyboards PDQ to contact me with their own memories!

So to my musings this week and I have been thinking about some of this term’s unsung heroes, although I have to say they do seem to be few and far between. Wattsey is one and probably Hadley another, however after that Derby win I make no excuses whatsoever about featuring Fetuli Talanoa, or, as I have called him from him first signing, ‘The Flying Dustman’.

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Just a year ago the ex NRL player who had seen his career and almost his life ended by Pneumonia was, (to help make ends meet at home), getting up at 4-00am to start his shift as a garbage collector in Australia. Now 12 months later he finds himself the hero of a magnificent and historic Derby victory. He was a mate of Motu Tony who was then about to be appointed as our new football manager and he suggested that Fetuli send Hull FC a highlights video. After they have watched several different angles and lifts for handling dustbins, they got onto the rugby stuff and the rest as they say is history. But, what a find he has been for us; he’s never lets us down, always gives his all, is safe in defence and trusty under the high ball. His only problem for me early on was his fitness level which could I think be put down to him starting without a full pre season under his belt.

However his bravery and tenacity has never been in question, he’s drifted in and out a bit on occasions, usually because as I say he wasn’t up to speed from the off, but no one could ever question his commitment and his tenacity. He is in fact proving to be an excellent and inspired signing. Much of the credit for that has to go to Motu Tony because the Dustman, with Feke and Sa, all arrived at Hull FC beset by a deal of question marks from the fans. Although Sa is only now starting to realise his potential, they have all in some way gone on to prove Tony right and some fans wrong and they are now players on which we are building our 2015 team. Despite his moves into the transfer market being a concern for some fans, ‘Mr Motu’ already has a much better success rate with signings than his predecessor, after whose departure we are still paying something like £300,000 of ‘cap’ to players who haven’t featured in our camp, never mind our team, for weeks.

Well my comments about season tickets and people voting with their wallets didn’t go down too well did it? However if I upset a few of you I’m sorry, but how I see it can’t always be how everyone else does and I’d thought that one out a bit before committed myself in here. If I just agree with everyone and the Club, then there is little point claiming this is the thoughts of an ordinary fan because the thing about the rank and file of supporters is that we seldom agree on the Club we all love, do we? I still hold by what I said and think that should season tickets sales flounder then we will see some changes instigated by our owner, although despite the motives behind many people’s reluctance, the coach, he will I think be the last person to be affected.

I say that because some won’t be happy without a change at the helm and that for me is the nub of the problem. Fact is guys I was wobbling, seriously wobbling, particularly after pre-season, that game at Featherstone and the way we started. In fact after the Widnes home match I was so dismayed I decided to sign up to the direct debit scheme, just to make sure I couldn’t talk myself out of subscribing. You might think that’s bullsh*t but it isn’t, although it’s nothing to be proud of!

For me after close scrutiny, the new ticket offer is a pretty good scheme and good value. The mail out was again staggered with many fans not getting their brochures through the post until well after the first tickets went on sale and there is a cock up with the West side seating plan and as I said last week, you can renew your seats there, it’s an oversight and it isn’t all unreserved. It’s also a bit complicated to follow in places, and some are still struggling with the new structure, but then again that is a complicated business, exacerbated by the fact that we don’t know who we’ll be against or when we’re playing in the last 3 or 4 home games anyway. The latter point sees us in the same boat as fans right across Super League though, as more and more it seems are scratching their heads a bit and although many of us still ain’t convinced about the new structure it’s here, and if we want to watch our Club we have to live with it.

That said, I love the brochure with its ‘heritage’ images and it mirrors some of the exciting plans the Club are to announce next weekend for 2015. The chance of buying 150 seats at £150 each in the West Stand is a nice touch too. I like the 3/4 free games and the priority purchase scheme it offers for 150th Celebration events. There’s loads of the Club Hull stuff, although I don’t use it much, but I did get a big reduction on my car tyres last year, so I can’t complain. With 500 sold this week, plus around 350 on long term direct debits, and 12 weeks to go to the deadline, tickets are moving, but for me, despite what the Club say, the initial flush is not what it usually is. So I guess if we were up there in the top 4 everyone would be hailing it as a really good deal, but we ain’t and so for the marketing team at the Club it’s going to be a long hard 12 weeks.

How interesting it was to be reminded that there is quite an old boys Club starting up at the Parramatta Eels, as recently it was announced that former Hull FC coach Peter Sharp has now joined former Hull FC coach Peter Gentle on their coaching staff. I bet they’ve got some yarns to exchange, no doubt mainly based on the relative values or otherwise of their Auntie Kath and Uncle Adam! No doubt some reading this might have their fingers crossed and be hoping that they might just have a vacancy for Lee Radford too!

It seems to me that despite Adam Pearson being concerned and indeed pretty upset at times in the last few months our owner has conducted himself well and kept his council, although he has been down to YPI a time or two to ‘read the riot act’ and been at his wits end at others. Indeed I don’t suppose he would mind me saying that just four weeks ago he was still harbouring concerns that we might not win another game and then, should we finish just 4 points above Bradford, he asked himself, might they just go back to the High Court to get their points back?

However not everyone takes things so much in their stride and Salford owner Dr. Koukash has reacted on several occasions with outbursts and public displays of passion/rage. Now, after some poor displays during their own inconsistent season he has cancelled the club’s player of the year awards, (because there ain’t any????) following the Red Devils losing 42-6 at The Wildcats last weekend, a result which leaves their play-off dreams, like ours, in tatters. With all his investment he’s been, like Adam, severely let down by some well paid players and so who can blame him cancelling the end of term bun fight!!

Koukash, never one to hang back when it comes to making his feelings known, took to Twitter to announce his decision saying, “The club have decided to cancel this year’s player of the year award and focus our energy on the next 2 games and building for next year,”. In the immediate aftermath of the Wakefield defeat, Koukash was scathing in his assessment of his team’s display and publicly told his players that if they couldn’t do better, than that they could get out; before they were sacked. For me he brings some colour to a game which is increasingly becoming monotone and he’s certainly a passionate character our Mr K!

The two referees system – used in the NRL for a number of years – was seen as a bit of a novelty to some at first, but whilst it is already up and running and proven on one side of the globe, the chasm between Super League, the NRL and the international game continues to just get bigger and bigger. There seemed to be a bit of progress earlier this year when the two ref system was actually trialled in U19 games, (one at Bishop Burton) and we certainly saw things cleaned up and indeed speeded up at the play the ball. In fact it was hailed a success and after being deemed at first to be too expensive, the Clubs were levied some wedge of their TV money, and now it seems it will be going ahead for the 2015 Super League season.

But surprise, surprise, just as the English game starts to get its head around this most dramatic of refereeing developments, the NRL have revealed they are looking into the prospect of perhaps using a THIRD referee from 2016. The more sceptical Rugby League fan would believe that their unwillingness to wait for us to catch up (as usual) just confirms the NRL have no interest in developing the game on a wider scale and will always just go it alone. But then again why shouldn’t they when they do it so well in the first place? However perhaps as far as the world wide game is concerned it’s still a very worrying state of affairs.

Already we are heading down a road where the chasm between the rules in the NRL and Super League are getting wider and wider by the day. The NRL are proposing a whole host of changes to their game which will widen the gap between the two leagues, with the third referee just the tip of the iceberg. And that only acts to throw an international game which should still be the pinnacle and major international selling point of our sport, into even more chaos.

Could you ever imagine a world where the Premier League and Serie A (Italy’s top football league) played with separate rules on the game and the officials? It would have a far-reaching impact on the game right across the globe, you just couldn’t play international football and that’s the situation we are getting to in Rugby League as well. In fact confusion reigns and you have to ask whether those running the NRL and the RFL care about international Rugby League anymore at all?

I have a deal of sympathy for the ‘toothless Tiger’ that is the Rugby League International Federation, who are being pulled in two different directions by two individual parties who have little in common with the exception of the name of the game they both represent. In fact from next year the difference between the actual make up of both domestic competitions will be poles apart. Somehow the International Federation have to make an impression on this situation and come to an agreement with both parties over major rule changes. The international game has been suffering because of this for a too long, and something has to be done to rescue things.

I think myself that the longer the NRL continue to work in isolation and make wide ranging changes without a care for the rest of the game, the more international Rugby League is going to be affected. In fact despite the success of the World Cup, we were all getting fed up of the commentators scratching their heads and saying “Ah but that’s the International rules” and quite frankly I see no future for the game on an International level unless someone introduces some common sense and some parity in the games playing regulations. I’ll cover some of the other changes the NRL are suggesting as some as they become a little clearer.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece about the strong getting stronger and the rest falling behind in the domestic competition as the top 4 Clubs get the best of the youngsters the pick of the other good players and the majority of the big money signings. I was reminded of my concerns again this week, when I studied the final Under19’s League where we finished a very creditable 5th in a season when a young FC team suffered a lot of injuries. But who are the top 4 just above us? Yep, you guessed it Warrington, Saints, Wigan and Leeds.

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A brilliant win last Thursday for the under 19’s at Huddersfield gets them in the play-offs

In Codgers Corner this week I want to go right back to the 1981 season when we were doing our best to get over that defeat at Wembley against the Dobbins and doing it in the best possible way, by winning lots of games. We had been knocked out of the John Player Trophy semi final by Barrow but in the League we were second and going well. That February we were going well having not lost many games at all through the winter and although we had experienced several injuries early in the season, we had just beaten Featherstone, Halifax and Bradford in successive matches. Then Leeds came to the Boulevard on a breezy cold afternoon when we were at the peak of our attendances in that golden period and 15,119, packed the ground creating a white hot atmosphere on all four sides of the ground. It was the first round of the Challenge Cup and all the talk in the papers in the week before was getting back to Wembley and revenging that torrid defeat the previous May.

The game kicked off and Hull were immediately into action, with Skerrett, Stone and Norton well on top of the Leeds big men Rayne, Eccles and Harrison. Norton was Captain that year but it seemed to have affected his form and so Charlie Stone had taken over, although both players had been doubtful through injury right up to the eve of the game. That afternoon however, what was unfolding in front of a mesmerised audience was one of the most devastating team performances of the season. Despite this after 18 minutes we had not turned our superiority into points and we were all starting to wonder if Leeds would snatch the first try. Then from a scrum Pickerill fed Barry Banks who surged past Dyl and as Atkinson came across to tackle him and he should have gone outside to Graham Bray, he turned back inside and found Norton. Twenty yards out Knocker ran into some heavy traffic but beat one then another Leeds player as he stepped and dodged his way through, before waltzing past the Leeds full back Neil Hague to score under the posts. What a try that was and it signalled the fact that thankfully at last Norton was back in his most devastating form.

Sammy Lloyd stroked over the goal and our confidence grew as another try looked on the cards. Almost immediately we witnessed probably the move of the season. Newlove and Wilby exchanged passed and sailed past McIntosh and Atkinson before Wilby fed onto Bray out on the wing. He got the ball some 60 yards out, ran at and beat Hague and although Rayne caught him a yard out, Bray crashed over and the crowd went wild. Their happiness however soon switched to anger as Referee Billy Thompson ruled that Bray had in fact performed a double movement and he ruled the try out. The crowd went mad and that song about the ‘Little wooden whistle’ (with the mandatory string of obscenities at the end) rang out from the Threepennies.

Next Newlove broke down the middle and fed Banks but a great chance was lost when he turned the wrong way and ignored Crane on his outside. The pressure mounted and mounted on Leeds, as we went in for the kill. Pickerill almost scored before, in the 39th minute, Stone slashed the Leeds cover to pieces with a brilliant angled run and Banks charged through to score. Lloyd again goaled and we went in 10-0 up at the interval. Five minutes after the break Lloyd was on target again this time with a penalty. This came from another brilliant Norton break where he fed Skerrett with an underarm pass and the Second Rower ran off down field. He kicked ahead and was blatantly tripped by Hague who saved a certain try. Two minutes later the under pressure the Leeds defence cracked again, as Banks burst through and was tackled high by a desperate Kevin Dick. Lloyd again converted the penalty, this time from the touch line.

At 14-0 the game was won and although Leeds saw a lot more of the ball we tackled like demons and kept them pinned in their own half most of the time. Mick Crane came on and took over from the injured Pickerill and Paul Woods made some great punching busts through the opposition’s line. After been added to the line up late on in place of Ronnie Wileman, Tony Duke shovelled the ball out of the scrums almost every time and Tim Wilby had a great defensive game in the centre. In the last minute Terry Naylor scored a desperate, late consolation try and Dick converted before the referee blew the whistle and we had got through to the second Round of the Challenge Cup. Those were such great times and I never fail to be excited all over again when I think back and write about them! Great memories!

A big ‘well done’ goes this week to the two supporters who have achieved the accolade of the Brut Fan of Pride for 2014. Graham Middleton has a long history of supporting Hull FC, having been a fan for 35 years, (although for the past 12 years he has had to labour under the ‘difficulty’ of being married to the Hull KR fans Liaison Officer!!!) Of course Garry, who received a lot of votes from Rovers fans too, was the man who led the campaign to re-name the Man of Steel Award in recognition of Steve Prescott, an initiative that started locally but which soon went national and indeed international until the RL had little choice but to go ahead with it. Lisa is a real unsung hero who has been a Hull fan since attending Chilton Street Primary School next to the old Boulevard ground and as well as being secretary of FC Voices for eight years she has taken part in many fund raising events particularly those involve with the Steve Prescott fund. In so doing she has taken on some mammoth sponsored walks, often under taken (although she won’t tell you this) when she was suffering with severe back problems. However her personal sacrifice has seen her raise thousands for the cause. Two really worthy winners both of whom made given their all to benefit the fans and I take my hat off to both!

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Well done Garry and Lisa!

So that’s it, a great week for Dobbins bating, who are incidentally this week, the team that has proved that the Catalan Dragons can actually win away! Don’t forget next weekend is our Heritage Festival with the Leeds game, the Player of the Year awards and a very special event on Sunday next, 14th September. Then the Hull FC Family Memorial Service will be held when the fans players and the Club remember those who have passed on from the great FC family over the past year. We are one of the first Clubs to do this, it deserves your support, so watch the Club site for details and get there if you can!

Thanks as always to everyone who got in touch this week and who came to say hello yesterday at Huddersfield, I’ll miss being amongst that great family at away games because it’s always really special. Now let’s do Leeds on Friday and finish a miserable season on a real high!! It’s Azza’s last game and Rich Horne should be made honorary Captain for the day and thus, lead the team out. Over 16 odd years Horney has been a great, great servant, so let’s make it a special KC occasion and an evening he remembers forever!

Come on you Hulllllaaaarrrrr!!!!!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf