The Dentists Diary – 390th

“I don’t think people realise how desperate the players are for the two points tonight, we know we cannot afford to let the gap between us and the top teams get any bigger.”

5 days after the Widnes debacle, I still found myself worrying and as I read those pre-match words from Jamie Shaul and looked at our depleted ranks I thought, “Yeh great words, but we’ll have to go some to get anything at all!”

In fact I simply couldn’t envisage any way our depleted troops were going to come out on top, especially against a big strong Salford team, who were back to winning ways and led by Rangi Chase. However, for the second week running my pre-match predictions went straight out of the window when we took to the field and produced nothing short of a stunning performance.

At this point last week I said that sometimes it’s really difficult to write this rubbish week in week out and it might surprise some to know that even after a win, this week it’s little different. Back in January, I resolved that this season I would try to avoid those massive swings in emotion that have beset this blog over the past 8 years. You know the stuff; one week we are the best thing since sliced bread and the next we are absolute garbage. However just 7 games into the season I’m afraid it’s unavoidable really, because although the proper journalists are really good at keeping the lid on it all, if this is to truly be the journal of an average biased fanatical supporter, then it must at times portray the fact that supporting Hull FC is like riding on an out of control roller coaster. Put simply, for this fan that was an amazing turn round in just 5 days, as true to form for the team we love, some players who were nothing short of shocking last week were superb this.

If you were one of those who stayed away to help create possibly the smallest gate for a Super League game at the KC, (and after last week, who can blame you) then boy you missed a real all action thrill a minute treat played out in the best atmosphere we’ve experienced for ages. The passionate support from the terraces for our line defence took me back to the Boulevard and in the end those who attended emerged from the emotional tumble drier that is supporting our Club, hoarse, relieved and embracing perhaps just a bit of hope for the future. We aren’t world beaters by a long chalk, but it was a fine show just the same.

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The Dentists Diary – 389th

“If I don’t get performances I walk, it’s the business, and I understand that completely”
So said Lee Radford, after another of those debacles that have, for years, proved ‘Coach Killers’ at Hull FC.

You know sometimes just occasionally, I don’t want to write this, it’s so hard to rationalise such an abysmal performance, I could try to be reasonable and consolatory, but why should I be? I’m so disappointed and annoyed I’d rather just crawl off and grieve on my own, but in the spirit of this weekly journal I’ll press on, however yesterday was horrible and there’ll be none of the light hearted stuff this week because quite frankly I and thousands of other FC fans ain’t laughing!

Personally for me the game was soul destroying, because, although god damn it, I should be used to it by now, it was once again so bloody predictable. ‘Heartbreaking’ was the expression I used to Mrs R as we left on the final hooter because I just couldn’t bring myself to stay to clap the player’s at the end, I couldn’t even face the safety and relative calm of The Drum and Monkey, until that is, I heard our Coach say in his post match interview, that he was ‘heartbroken’ too. It is, I know, his responsibility to sort it, but it was also good to hear him feeling exactly the same as I did, because yesterday come 5-00 pm I was gutted. Believe me, I want to give some hope to all those of exiled fans out there who didn’t attend, but it was just a shambles and I challenge anyone who was there to find a better adjective to describe it.

However in the cold light of Monday morning it was I guess, ‘Same old same old’. This sort of stuff has been going on since the days of Peter Sharp through the reign’s of Agar and Gentle and now it’s back, surfacing again, as Radford said, from deep in the DNA of our players; quite frankly in the most simplistic of terms, some of our lot can’t be arsed when it’s a team we are expected to beat!

Don’t try and blame our depleted forwards either for they stood up, but it was the mess and muddle around them that did for us. And if you’re looking for recurring themes from those last 5 or 6 years then after a listless and mistake strewn performance, my pal Tony summed it all up ‘Alan Sugaresquely’ as he left the game saying, “And so the Club’s search for a half back continues!”

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The Dentists Diary – 388th

Another ‘Close but no cigar’ job, another big effort and another two points go down the pan.

I’m currently sitting in the car with my lap top on my knee. I’m stuck in a traffic jam on our way out of Castleford, looking at the pub across the way and still wondering what exactly a “Singing Chocker” is! I’m fed up, frustrated and disappointed!!

I guess in hindsight it was a good game played out in an excellent atmosphere and in the end it could have gone either way. But on this occasion it went against us, as missing two starting forwards, making a few wrong choices, losing a prop in the first half, not taking our chances and a tragic one on one miss near the end cost us. It was a tight game against a very well drilled, confident and unbeaten Castleford team and we almost got the points, so there should be no big drama around the loss, but after three ‘almost’ games away from home we have to learn to finish teams off; we simply have to!

At the end of a week when we’ve all wondered at the situation at Bradford and the latest episode of ‘Keeping up with the Koukashians’ and when it was also revealed that Mr Allam, not content on converting the whole of West Hull to Squash is now about to beguile them with that great working class game of Polo and when Sandy Cock was directing the Dobbins in training under floodlights to exactly duplicate how it would be a Wigan; (including no doubt him shouting “Ok lads you can pack up now” at 8-45pm), it was always going to be really tough for us at Cas. But, with ten minutes to go I honestly thought we’d scrape home for a famous battling victory.

I can stomach defeat, as an FC fan you get used to it, but in the end I guess for me it isn’t so much the fact that we lost that hurts, but rather the reality that we could so easily have won.

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The Dentists Diary – 387th

Well done Lee Radford!

“Don’t say that just yet” was the general consensus in the Drum and Monkey as we celebrated afterwards and no doubt there will be times that I WON’T be saying that this year. However having witnessed that animated and vibrant first half and considering that our defensive Coach of last season is now instigating play that is as good as we have seen for probably four seasons, then for this week at least, I’ll stick with my headline!

In any case I challenge anyone to disagree with the fact that had that been St Helens playing Bradford in that first half, they would have done little better.

OK it was ‘Only Bradford’ but I have as usual to admit that I was preoccupied and not a little worried as I read last week’s West Riding press about the Bulls Coach targeting this game as a ‘Total Wipe out’ of their 6 points deduction. Bradford came to town on the back of two wins, a massive financial crisis, that points deduction and after having played in front of their lowest ever Super League attendance of 5,410 five days earlier so, boy, was this the sort of ‘banana skin’ game in which we usually struggle; the sort of match that in the past I dreaded.

It had to be the acid test of our new found resolution and our Coaches motivational skills, it was also the first big test of the new regime’s commitment and focus, but we came through with flying colours! Next week is another challenge and a big one, but for now two points, a great attacking display and a big sigh of relief will do for this fan!!!

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The Dentists Diary – 386th

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

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

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

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

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