The Dentists Diary – 433rd

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We lost and that’s always a bummer, but after that’s said you have to admit too that it was a blooming good game!

If you’re going to lose and there is little doubt in this league everyone is going to do just that at some time or other, then that’s the way to do it!

Let me say from the off that I always want to win; there’s no doubt about that! When we get to the business end of the season and we’re fighting for position, winning will be absolutely everything and all I want every week! However for now, if you can’t win, then give me games like that one, it was tight and yet so tense, stifled and yet so compelling. It reminded me of those games in the 70’s under DDD when we fought and fought to stifle expansive teams and stay in it! It was simply a great match and one that should see every one of the 12,000 that attended, returning for the Leeds game. It was a real spectacle that had everything except of course the result.

We battled against what was without doubt a great Warrington team who could just not ‘put us away’ and we hung in and hung in until we could even had won it in the end. It was certainly for me a game that we would have lost by a much heavier tally last year, against a Wolves team that have only been kept under ten points five times in the last four seasons. So, we move on, we have 2 points from 2 games, with just 3.5 points a game being conceded against two usually free scoring teams and all that plus just one try ‘leaked’ in 120 minutes of rugby. Timing and attacking sharpness comes with playing together, but good seasons are build on stoic defence, a strong ‘middle’ and a never say die attitude, so for me there is undoubtedly a deal of hope for the future.

I spoke to Lee Radford on Saturday and he said he was really proud of all the lads and added, “Had Jordan Thompsons arm been an inch longer we would probably have won, that’s how close we came” How often in the desperate times of last season did we say, ‘All we want is to see the effort put in every week’; well we’ve seen it so far this season….in abundance! Seven points conceded from two games against two of last season’s top four represents a significant statement and had we had a bit more composure towards the end on Friday then as I say we would have won. With a mouth as dry as the Sahara Desert, I was wrung out by the end and mentally and physically drained from a roller coaster of a game that you couldn’t take your eyes off.

I was disappointed yes, but not downhearted. The adversity we suffered before hand, with three of our big hitters Sa, Talanoa and dynamo man Gareth Ellis missing out, was not helped when at half time Jamie Shaul failed to return and Westerman soldiered on carrying a neck injury that almost saw him miss out too. But the way we coped was nothing short of brilliant and must bode well for the rest of the season.

For me too, there was so much on show on Friday that was better than last year, less penalty’s conceded, less tackles missed, less mistakes with the ball, a better atmosphere in the Stadium and a completion rate of 90%. I thought that the opposition controlled the area around the ruck well in the first half, but in the second we improved on that, we got a neat try back and it was all to play for. Two things stuck out for me to emphasise how much once again our game management has improved. Firstly after their try, last year we would have imploded, on Friday we were slack in three consecutive tackles and they sniffed blood and got it. Last year I honestly believe we would have been down 18-0 by half time because we would have failed to then break their momentum and they would have rolled on scored again. But, Pryce dished out a few choice words behind the posts, Mini led with two big hits in the next set and we held firm, wrestled the ‘front foot’ back and stuck at it until half time.

Secondly, with time running out we had to drop out and desperately needed the ball back. They stood up on the twenty to ensure we didn’t go for the short one and Sneyd spotted one of their players over the 20 meter line and off side. Immediately he kicked the ball at him and we got a penalty and the possession back. Little things I know, but again ones that for me say so much about how we are better equipped to deal with every eventuality these days. Warrington are the Grand Final favourites and yet there was nothing between the two teams for the whole 80 minutes.

It was with a bit of a heavy heart that I arrived at the KC on Friday. I was looking forward to our first home game, but cursed our luck and fretted about the loss of key players however as I said earlier those who came in were all heroes! ‘Lighting’ Whiting first shone in the centre and then moved to full back where he was an absolute rock, Hadley had probably the best half he’s had for the Club and as for the untried Steve Michaels, well I thought he had a great game for someone who only had one run out at Doncaster under his belt and he really slotted in well on the wing.

Obviously my concerns were shared by Lee Radford who said afterwards of the injuries, “The build-up was one of the worst I have had to a game, we lost Gareth Ellis and Setaimata Sa in the final team run. Fetuli Talanoa called me on the morning of the game and pulled out with sickness, and then Joe Westerman called me at 9am and pulled out, before calling back at lunchtime to say he’d have a go and he spent all day with the physio. Then we lose Jamie Shaul at half-time, so we’ve been pulled to pieces and the effort was commendable”

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Joe Westerman; Lee Radford told me on Saturday he was a real hero on Friday, having called him to say his neck was too bad he rang back two hours later to say he’d have a go and they exchanged calls right up to when he arrived and was looked after by the physio. According to Lee he knew he had to play and did it for the squad.

For me, well perhaps our undoing was our tactics, and possibly what my pal Stu, (who knows a bit about Coaching) said a time or two in the second half, in that maybe when we had driven a couple of times we should have varied it more by utilising a couple of spread plays across the field, but it’s easy for us lot sat in the stands isn’t it? However all that said in the end it was a defeat, but I guess in many ways a pretty glorious one too. As fans and players we now have to get over it and
move on, the lads were bitterly disappointed afterwards, but like the fans, they can take great heart from the effort that was put in and perhaps also take the advice of our new ‘anchorman’ in midfield, Leon Pryce, who said this week, “You have to learn to lose and throw it in the bin. Likewise, you have to learn how to win, enjoy it and then do the same, too.”

Sport for James Smailes - 13-2-15first:utility super league game between Hull FC and Warrington Wolves at the KC Stadium, Hull.Pictured is Marc Sneyd kicking a goal.Final score Hull 6 - Warrington 7   Picture: Peter Harbour
Sneyd had just one shot at goal a real pressure kick and he sunk it brilliantly.

Still, there were some fine performances out there and everyone did their bit. Before being injured Shaul had a sound game at full back and constantly fielded their high booming kicks and returned them with interest. On the wings Michaels although not getting too much ball had a good game, saved a certain try and looks really sharp while Lineham took his try really well. In the centres Yeaman was solid, carted the ball up time and again and pulled off a couple of massive hits in that frenetic second half, while Whiting as I said earlier was just amazing. He really is ‘Mr Reliable’ and stood out at times, something that is even harder to believe when you realise that he hasn’t had a pre season at all! Our new half backs will be really good, I’m sure of it, but they need to bed in a bit. At present for me Sneyd is brilliant at one moment and a bit ordinary the next, no doubt because he is taking time to bed in. Take for instance in the second half when, on the sixth tackle, he produced a flapping shallow up and under that put us under pressure but then, when we got the ball back he found an absolutely world class kick to the corner which saw Lineham score. Pryce however looks much more settled. Leading from the front and constantly pushing his nose through the line Leon looks great and he certainly sorts out anyone who isn’t doing exactly what our number 6 expects. He just needs his colleagues to back him up more.

Up front I thought that Watts and Paea were brilliant, (Mickey was limping badly at the end however) I still worry a bit about a drop in intensity when they rotate with Bowden and Green and perhaps that should be staggered more, but all our props put in a big stint and Houghton looked great again. Running everything until just after the break, he was then substituted, for Cunningham to bring ‘fresh legs’ and the needed direct approach to the proceedings. Thompson came on and injected the usual verve and vigour and was unlucky when somehow they held him up over the line. In the second row Minicheillo was amazing and probably the best player on the field on either side. What a signing he is, strong resolute and hungry for work, he was a handful all night and was many people’s man of the match, While Hadley had a brilliant first half as he stepped into the very big boots of Gareth Ellis. Westy was obviously struggling from the off, but he too had a big game and was unlucky not to open the Warrington defence up on several occasions. So a sound and gritty all round performance which both teams will take a lot out, because it was a game that despite being so early in the season was played at ‘Grand Final’ intensity. It showed if nothing else how much is at stake from the off this time around. It was a fine showing particularly when you consider the short turn round and injuries we had last week.

Sport for James Smailes - 13-2-15first:utility super league game between Hull FC and Warrington Wolves at the KC Stadium, Hull.Pictured is Mark Minichiello.Final score Hull 6 - Warrington 7   Picture: Peter Harbour
Mark Minicheillo possibly the signing of the season?

I guess that losing those players was a real problem on Friday but you have to be able to ride those injuries, however they are still a blow and their absence and the ensuing disappointment it brings is for us lot the long suffering fans, something we have to get used to all over again each season.

There is little doubt that these short turn rounds of five days are a problem for the coaches, particularly at the start of the season when everyone is stinging and bruised after the first real hit up. However this season it gets even worse, as it’s likely we will have two periods when we play 3 games in 8 days, which in modern rugby is pretty ridiculous really. However a five day turn round when your opposition have (as Warrington had) a six day one is still a disadvantage, yeh all clubs have to deal with it I know, but it’s doesn’t make it any easier does it? With recovery time and resting up there is little time to train. This sort of situation requires a lot of trust being placed in the players, since there just isn’t the time to have three or four training sessions, as is the norm. They have to take it upon themselves to sort out any issues they have. With injuries and knocks, players like Wattsy, Sa, Ellis and Bowden (this week) had to sit out what training there was and the areas picked out for improvement from the Huddersfield game could not be singled out and worked upon as a group because people were missing and the emphasis was on recovery. Therefore it has to be incumbent upon the individual to then put these things right themselves but to do it without the luxury of repetition on the training field. That’s the real issue with short turn rounds and the players have to be mentally up for it because these days it’s just part and parcel of the game.

Talking about Friday night rugby I wonder what impact the new Sky deal with the Premier League will have on our game as they are now to televise 10 Friday night football matches throughout the season from next year. That could put a right spanner in the works for our viewing figures so what next for Super League….who knows? After Thursday night’s have just about crucified the game as far as Clubs making any money on admissions is concerned, how about Sunday mornings? Blake Solly at the RL said, ““Sky are confident in the viewing figures we deliver. We can run around for the rest of our existence worrying about what other sports are doing and it will get us nowhere. We’ve built up a strong viewing audience on our Thursday and Friday night slots, and I think we should be confident and hungry in what we’re doing – it’s why Sky signed us up for seven years.” He would say that wouldn’t he? Let’s just hope he’s right!

Well I did tell you that we were talking to players about extending their contracts and although a couple have now put pen to paper the first to be announced was Jordan Thompson last Wednesday. What a good piece of business that is! I really rate the bloke who continually seems to punch above his weight and who has been a centre, converted to a back row forward, who can now play up front with some ease too. He’s a great example of someone who I think will always be an impact player, as guys who can change a game from the bench become more and more important in our sport. Jordan simply brings so much in speed, energy and strength when he is introduced into the game and he’s recently added a bit of handing and play making into his skill set too. I don’t think myself that our Coach gets enough credit for the progress Jordan Thompson has shown since he joined us and to give him a two year extension is just common sense really! It was a bit of a surprise with him having 18 months left on his contract but now, with him, Chris Green, Josh Bowden, Liam Watts, Dean Hadley and Joe Westerman we have a real glut of tough and improving forwards all of whom are in their mid twenties, which has to be good for the team going forward.

On the other hand there was a deal of crap talked last week concerning Jordan Rankin which was pretty unfair, because having met him a couple of times I think he’s a really sincere guy who is passionate about Hull FC, the fans and his club mates. Everyone loves the way he celebrates a try and the team’s success, yet the minute he indicates that he’s home-sick, for some he becomes the villain of the peace. For me, in general it’s always been a bit disconcerting to read the way so called fans turn on a player simply because he might see his future elsewhere. If he was saying, “I hate Hull, hate the fans and can’t wait to get away”, then I’d be on the band wagon with the rest of ‘em but it was indicative of his problems when he was allowed to return home over Christmas and obviously although his home is in Hull, his heart is still with his family in Australia. James Smailes put it very succinctly in a tweet last week when he said, “On Rankin. I know he loves it at FC, but like he says it is not home and he’s living here alone. You can’t blame him for wanting to go back”. That for me sums up the situation completely. He’s a big favourite of mine and I think that he will improve as a player and one day end up as a real star; for me he has all the skill speed and commitment that will take. But for now at least we have to accept that when he is a star it might not be at Hull FC. I hope we can sort something out, I really do, but it’s no good at all tying a bloke down in this country, if his heart is elsewhere, that’s counter-productive as far as the team goes as well. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens, but please, give the kid a break!

Last Monday night I was honoured to attend the Disabled Supporters Group meeting at the KC which featured a question and answer session with Adam Pearson. Our owner, obviously buoyed by our first outing of the season was in top form and faced a lot of questions many about access to games with the new cashless ticketing arrangements. Someone then asked as to why we ‘are not allowed to train on the KC pitch’ which Adam said was not actually the case, but it was a bone of contention, however we did train there last Thursday to get Sneyd and Pryce used to the shortened in goal areas.

He went on to say that the Club’s move to Ideal Standard was imminent and that the new pitch they will train on there has been constructed to be the exact dimensions of the KC. Therefore he could see no point in muddling the situation and ‘trying to score points’ by wittering on about using the KC pitch, when there were bigger battles to fight. Our owner was asked about the fitness of injured players who got knocks at Huddersfield and commented that it was already apparent that both Sa and Ellis would be crucial for us this season, he said that they were both very fit players which meant that it would be possible to wrap them in cotton wool between games in short ‘turn rounds’ this season; something that was later to become apparent hadn’t worked this time around.

Asked about our retail operation Adam said that the Club had wanted to keep the shop at the Bransholme Centre which has recently closed and it wasn’t the rent that was the issue but rather the rates, which were apparently crippling long term, but manageable in a short term deal. So, he concluded, all being well, they will repeat the operation at Bransholme again later in the year and hope to reopen again for next Christmas.

We are also looking to move our town centre retail unit and rent a new shop with a much bigger sales area which would let us incorporate a dedicated ticketing facility. That fits in with what I was hearing the other day from a pal who works in St Stephens, who told me that the pod outside St Stephens may be closing because the site has been sold for development. Next, there was a long discussion about the unsuitability of Thursday night games and Pearson agreed and lamented the loss of income (from visiting fans and kids for whom it was a school night) that playing on such an inconvenient night brings. He added however that according to Sky, games featuring Hull FC, Wigan and Leeds generated the best Thursday night viewing figures of the lot; fine for the TV Company but as far as getting fans into the ground was concerned, everyone agreed that they are an absolute disaster.

There was also another endorsement from Adam of our Coaches ability and he expanded that into a discussion on the use of ‘tip sheets’ for each player in each game and the amount of work that goes into producing them every week. Hours of work go into producing these ‘prompts’ for each player, which include everything the coaches have spotted from their video analysis. The tips range from what foot your opposing player steps off to which hand he carries the ball in and apparently even which little scrum half is easily wound up and loses it when he is!!

Throughout the evening our owner returned to the theme of the quest to get Hull FC back in the hearts and minds of the community and how everyone at the Club, be they players or administrators, was dedicated to that aim. On a lighter note he also indicated that he had Hudge on the phone last Sunday evening grumbling about the refereeing at Caravan Park; Adam found that funny! So, it was great to be invited to the disabled supporters group and to sit with some good friends and Diary readers. We all had a good night with the owner and I guess once again my lasting memory was that I always love the way that you can ask our Chairman anything and he’ll always gives you an honest answer; good stuff!!

Well to regular readers of this the increase in Beer prices will come as no shock at all as I told you exactly what was happening and what was behind it weeks ago! It’s all about beer being the one commodity that is on sale in the stadium that we as a Club get a cut of. It’s simple as I said 5 weeks ago, that the SMC are saying lose your cut of the Beer income or we put the price up! We refused to give it up and hey presto Beer is up to a ridiculous level when compared with beer prices everywhere else and indeed when City are playing at the KC. Beer is as I said, the only thing we make money on, and so when someone high up in our Club says, “Buy the beer not the Pies” you can see his point!

With my pal Dan I enjoyed a rather one sided game at Bishop Burton on Saturday as the under 19’s ran out easy winners against Salford by 56 – 10. It was a fine display by as good a crop of youngsters as I have seen at the Club, and watched by a healthy crowd that included Lee Radford, Abdull, Tyson Wilson, Lanacaster and a skilful and passionate outfit took The Martin Gleeson trained juniors from Salford apart. It was a great game to watch but blooming cold!!

Did you watch Salford and Saints on Thursday, boy was that a poor showing by Salford against a Saints team that did ok, but who were clearly not firing on all cylinders. That Salford display must count as one of Super League’s most spineless and inept ever. The defence, always a measure of any team’s real quality, was an absolute shambles! Ben Jones-Bishop at least looked like someone with a bit of ability but couldn’t catch a high ball for toffee although, that said, he was still one of the only ones that you noticed.

Gareth Hock showed a bit of what he can do before reverting as usual to out and out thuggery and for me, the site of players pulling the hair of Saints opponent’s really beggared belief. There was simply no direction at all and one suspects that this could be due to the conflict between Dobson’s natural instincts to take control and Chase’s house end sized ego and his need to be at the centre of everything. The one bright light for me was young Frenchman Theo Fages, a player who would be a real emerging star were he playing at a half decent Club. The whole game was a disaster for Sky and with the exception of just hanging around to see how many Saints could score, totally boring to watch.

Last week I discussed the state of refereeing in the first couple of televised games and the general unrest there is across the game about those performances. We are all passionate fans of our Club but we also know that as far as refereeing is concerned there is certainly a lot wrong, but I have to admit too, that when it’s our Club we will be passionate to the point of sometimes being overly critical of some decisions when they go against us. Last week I heard on this subject from reader Stuart Sheard, who is that very rare animal in our game, a completely neutral supporter. I met Stuart a while ago and instantly struck up a friendship with him. He had a very interesting view on the issue, extracts of which I include below, because I think you’ll find them interesting too.

Stuart said, “I read a tweet from an RL journo yesterday, he said, ‘Super League XX seems to have left the refereeing controversies at the fireplace. With Hull KR v Leeds serving up an opening day classic.’ The same journo then went on, in the tweets that followed, to actually highlight the referees performance instead of what happened in the game, which by all accounts was an exciting end to end encounter. Is Eddie Hemmings, in particular, guilty of exactly the same thing as this journalist? He will talk about not focussing on the referee and then highlight every perceived error. I wonder what impartial viewers of the Widnes game, who weren’t listening to the Sky commentary, thought about the referee? He made mistakes but then everyone else on the field did! I suppose my point is that if the commentators on our game talk about the game rather than the referee we might have far less controversy.

I am no longer a fan of any particular club and so watch most games as an impartial observer. I am always amused when I hear a fan from one of the competing teams accuse the referee of blatant cheating when as an mere neutral spectator I think the referee probably got it right. I believe fans that have paid to watch the game, have got every right to say what they like about the referee. Perhaps if Sky ended Stuart Cummings well paid employment and Eddie focussed on commentating we could all return to laughing at Stevo’s eccentric use of the English language and bizarre comments on the game”.

Thanks for that mate, it’s certainly an interesting view from an impartial angle and I guess the point that Stuart makes is that in his opinion so much emphasis is put on the refereeing in televised games (particularly as they employ Stuart Cummings as what appears to be a senior partner in their commentating team), it’s now taking precedent over the actual rugby!

Referee’s have been a bone of contention for as long as I have been a spectator and for biased passionate fans like us they always will be, as Stuart says we pays our money and we have every right to complain! However, in the old days each week Hemmings and Stephenson were joined on Sky by a current or recent coach like John Kear or Shaun McCrae who would again be constantly consulted, but on the skills on show, the tactics of the teams and the thinking behind them. It was enlightening and we often learnt a lot about the philosophy behind what the teams and players were trying to do. That was constructive comment when much of the referee bashing we now get is destructive. Now Sky put so much emphasis, quite wrongly I think, on refereeing that Cummings appears to be included as the third commentator, the other two feel obliged to bring him in on every single decision and this is putting too much emphasis on the officiating. Perhaps then, this means that many rulings that we would just accept are put under the spotlight when there is no need to do that, but they feel obliged to consult Cummings…. just because he’s there?

So having read Stuarts comments they got me thinking and so I thought I would share them with you and I hope they have had the same effect on you. Best thing we can do then is to get rid of ‘Mr Smug’ Cummings……and of course we have to get rid of Stevo!!!!

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New Recruit for 2016 Scott Taylor; he’s already got the drills the play book and now I hope a subscription to weight watchers.

I feel in the spirit of my 150th celebration Codgers Corners which feature not just the famous but also the infamous people and happenings in my life time following the Club I should here cover one of the most bizarre games I’ve seen in all the years I have had the pleasure to be involved in Rugby league. 1976/77 was the first really successful season of the decade, in which we had some good wins and a great finale and although we didn’t know it, good times were around the corner at the Boulevard. However early that season it was business as usual, as we continued with our battle to keep going, with poor attendances and a deal of debt. Back then it was really difficult for most clubs to make ends meet with falling gates across the game still a massive problem. Despite the best efforts of the club and the Council our pitch was still a mess, and although there was some nice new grass to be seen at the start of the season, as the drains silted up with Speedway shale it soon left the usual morass of mud with very little of the new grass evident at all. In winter it was a mud bath and for the last few games it was as hard as nails, in fact on one occasion that year Castleford even tried to get an end of season game cancelled when they arrived to find the playing surface made up of rolled baked mud. So here from my book is a really strange game that says it all about those dire times.

The game in question was a match against Bramley who our A team had visited and beaten the Friday previously, the significance of which you will understand a little later. The weather that month was shocking and the general opinion in Hull was that we would be lucky to see a game that weekend at all. Still as game day dawned, our desperation to generate some cash to keep the debtors from the door, dictated that the match was still on, and I watched from the Threepenny Stand with four of my pals that I had met in the ‘Eagle’ on Coltman Street for a pre game pint. 4000 others hardy souls were in attendance that day which was a pretty good attendance for us back then.
As we walked down Saner Street and onto the Boulevard the rain was coming down like ‘stair rods’ although by we had got through the turnstiles it had stopped again! The pitch was covered in small puddles and Fred Daddy the Groundsman and several helpers were busy forking the pitch to ease the water away. It was a thankless task as even the light blue ‘invalid carriages’ that usually parked on the pitch got stuck in the mud well before they could get into position behind the dead ball line!
Bramley’s player/coach was Peter Fox, a colorful character from the ‘Fox’ rugby dynasty of Wakefield, who always had something to say and where Hull were concerned, it was usually derogatory. He got the usual rousing and abusive welcome from the Hull supporters when he walked out onto the pitch before the game, and although the conditions were dreadful, the game started on time. The match itself was a nail biting tussle with veteran scrum half Keith Hepworth playing a storming game for us. Bramley were a pretty handy outfit back then and it was only through three great last ditch tackles by our full back George Robinson that we kept them from scoring in the first ten minutes! However then, on the eleven minute mark, from our first attack Hepworth, Hancock and Hunter linked to send ‘Super’ Alf Macklin in at the corner. We continued to press until a long looping pass by Hancock was intercepted by Langton and he scooted fifty yards down a thin track of green on the wing, to score for the visitors.
That mistake turned the game and with Fox’s canny ‘spoiling’ tactics behind just about every move they made, Bramley started to dominate in the sludge down the middle of the field. In fact after Boxall had punched Jack Austin in the tackle, it was their player coach that stretched their lead to 7-5 with a penalty goal. Try as we may, we could not get another score and with the ball like a bar of soap, mistakes were to the fore and we saw 24 scrums in the first 40 minutes. On three or four occasions the respective scrum halves dropped the slippery ball before they had even left the back of the scrum and the players left the field at half time, muddied from head to foot, with that same close score of 7-5 showing on the score board.

During half time as we went for a cup of Bovril and a hot dog, it poured down again and when we got back to our places we all had to move back up the steps to get out of the rain and to avoid being drenched. Both teams changed their shirts at half time and as the rain eased no further points were scored before once again it became really dark and the heavens opened. It rained so hard that the referee had to stop the game at a scrum as no one on the field could see. After 56 minutes so muddy were their kits, that both teams looked exactly the same, so the referee had little choice but to take both sets of players off the field to change their shirts again.

Unfortunately our Chairman, Charlie Watson, claimed that we had already gone through two full strips on Friday in the A team game, and now having used up two more strips that day, we had no more shirts left. Bramley had just brought two sets of kit and although the referee said he would play on if just one team changed, neither side had anymore shirts!
As we stood on the terraces stamping our feet the tannoy interrupted a very scratchy rendition of ‘Morningtown Ride’ by the Seekers, to announce that the referee had abandoned the game and we all trudged off chuntering about getting our money back and what a farce the whole afternoon had been. Peter Fox was most vociferous in Mondays Yorkshire Post though, saying that Bramley could have won the game and it was the responsibility of the home team to change their strips. He also refuted what Watson had said about changing strips at half time in the previous A team game and it all got a bit personal. However, the RL decided that the game should be declared void and it was replayed later that year, when on a Wednesday night we beat Bramley 26-10. As you can imagine, ‘Foxy, Foxy what’s the score?’ was the chant that rang round the ‘Threepennies’ that night!!!

As a footnote to that game Its fair to say that the Threepenny’s never liked Peter Fox really and he didn’t like us either, something that cause a long running feud to develop between him and the fans in that famous stand. Later in his career when visiting as a coach, he returned a bottle (that had been thrown at him on the trainers bench), back into the Threepenny Stand. The bottle hit a stantion support and shattered all over the crowd and as several supporters clambered over the fence to have a go, he was asked to leave the touch line by the Police, probably for his own safety. The next time he appeared at the Boulevard in charge of Bradford, he complemented his usual ‘Billy cock’ hat with an immaculate, obviously new, sheepskin coat. One fan, probably fed up with his constant goading of the crowd and abuse of the Hull FC players, climbed over the fence and quick as a flash poured the trainers bucket of water over his back. He was not impressed at all, but then again Peter Fox was never the most popular visitor to the Boulevard. I guess looking back it’s not difficult at all to see why the trainers huts were moved to the other side of the pitch at the end of that decade, because the folks in that famous Threepenny Stand were certainly no respecters of reputations and as a player or an official, if you represented the opposition, you were in for it!

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Hell of a hat; Looks like Tom Lineham’s been doing some painting!!

So that’s it for another Diary and after a week when I can confirm that Radio Humberside, West Hull Community Radio and Hull and East Yorkshire Hospital Radio haven’t paid an eye watering amount of money for the right to broadcast our games, we witnessed another colossus of a match, but this time come up just short. However I think you will have guessed by now that for me the positives far outweigh the negatives. We now have a week off and it’s a week in which I expect to hear of more players re-signing new contracts as we move to our new training base at Ideal Standard.

I hope you enjoyed Friday as much as I did, I don’t often say that of defeats but it was a really great night, full of effort passion and drama and a good game to watch despite the loss. Thanks for reading the Diary again, sorry for being so upbeat after a defeat but no doubt there will be plenty of time for downbeat editions as the year unfolds. It was great to chat to so many interesting fans Friday and in particular to meet Steve, Dan, John and Pat at the 150th memories event at the Kingston Boxing Club last Thursday. Have a good week and thanks again for you brilliant support of these weekly Ramblings.

Faithfully Yours

Wilf