The Dentist’s Diary – 639th

“In the end it’s the hope that kills you ….the beautiful, horrible hope!”

Hope eh? On Saturday we turned up full of it. We battled to the last man, we gave everything and yet in the end just came up short to lose our first Challenge Cup semi-final in 19 years. In such circumstances the fans can ask for no more than 100% effort and wanting, but then, when all that has been put in by both sides, as I said last week, the outcome in such games will always be in the lap of the gods!

Man it was a tough defeat to take though!! But on this occasion as a Hull fan in the end the best team won, and it’s hard to argue otherwise really.

To score three tries from our mistakes, with our two coming from well-engineered pieces of play says a lot, but of course, the ‘experts’ would retort that we shouldn’t have made those blunders in the first place. We didn’t make many individual errors but the ones we did make led invariably to tries. Warrington made a few too, but the gods smiled on them and they got out of jail. When all came to all, two great kicks from Austin did for us, yet we still had our chances. But, as the rained poured down and the ball was difficult to handle, those simple twists of fate that sometimes you can’t control, saw the scales of destiny tip toward the Cheshire Club and at the final hooter they deserved their win and it was the FC that came out second best!

But, only just and in what was a titanic battle we never gave up and we never gave in.

We fought for each other and played as a team and when that final try went in, our players were, to a man, visibly distressed with some virtually inconsolable. At the end the players were just distraught and once their statutory TV commitments were met, no one from the 17 could speak to the local media afterwards. They were hurting as much as we were, so you won’t be seeing much complaint from this fan in here this week, for that effort and passion was all I could ever ask for!

I just hope that somehow from somewhere, we can find a deal of spirit again by next Thursday, but if the lads can’t, I won’t be too surprised, for it will be a while after Thursday, before I get over my afternoon in the rain at Bolton.

It’s always hard to lose in such circumstances, someone always has to, but none of us find it that easy to handle when its us!   

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The Dentist’s Diary – 638th

4,300 odd days of waiting!!!

How good was that victory at Headingley eh? Not just for us getting another two valuable league points but in the context of our build up to next weekend and the rest of the campaign?

Everyone played their part, but it was Marc Sneyd who for me took the accolades, as Ellis steadied the ship and Houghton tackled and ran brilliantly. Yeh, Leeds are bottom, yeh, they are poor, in fact from what I’ve seen in the games this weekend, it is only the poorness of the teams around them, that is given the ‘Lacklustre Loiners’ any sort of hope at all.

However, it was the dynamics of it all that was so pleasing, for to go so far in front of them, then lose the lead and the momentum, before we had to not only take on their players but the crowd as well, was one thing, but then we grabbed the initiative again and fought backs to the wall to hold that two-point advantage until the end; that was something else.

The in and out stuff was still there, but not as much as it has been, although we did still give away far too many stupid penalties which in turn gave the home side both heart and field position, but we battled our way back into it, we showed passion and fight and a steady hand in difficult times, plus we held our nerve and as the only Cup semi-finalists to win this weekend, we looked an accomplished team and that’s all that we can ask for really.

So for me, it was above all else a really heartening victory in the context of the season.     

Despite all that however, it’s back to reality and make no mistake about it we are going to be up against it again in Bolton, of that there is little doubt!

I think we showed at Headingley that we have the fight and the players to get us back to the capital, but we have to go into that game again scrapping for our lives. We might be slight under dogs and the Wire certainly have a few scores to settle from 2016, but it’s that sort of adversity that defines exactly what you are as a player and it’s the stuff that fashions the culture within a team. A deep instinctive desire to win, (like we saw on Sunday), that doesn’t fade in adversity, despite the odds or the situation, is what saw us prevail in 2016 and 2017 and that’s where we need to be again next Saturday.

On the terraces and out on the field we all have one ambition and that is to win, but in such games it is hard and sometimes the decisions of the few or even the individual, will dictate the outcome. We’ll certainly be up for it as fans and we just have to hope that once again the fighting spirit of the famous Hull FC prevails, it’s a real watershed game in our season and something, we’ve been told, that we have been building for all year; we’d better turn up for this one then!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 637th

“When I’m good I’m very, very good and when I’m bad I’m awful

Violet Elizabeth – (Just William)

So it is with my team at present and although that second half didn’t exactly make me ‘scream and scream till I’m sick’ it was still hard to watch, although as a game, perhaps it was simply a microcosm of our season to date. I guess I could have headed this edition up with ‘4 seasons in one day’, because in that first half we saw the return of the flowing power rugby of 2016 followed by the gritty determined defence of 2017, whilst in the second we saw the reticence and disinterest of 2018 and the unpredictable, inconsistency of this year. 

Whatever else we are this season, my team, Hull FC, are bloody frustrating at times!!

It was certainly a game of two halves!!! Just as it has been a season of literally watching two mirrored FC teams and it’s the constant worrying about which team will turn up on any given weekend, that’s the really frustrating thing. So, move over ‘Fringe’ and ‘Stranger Things’ because if you really want to know what it’s like to be exposed to an alternate universe, just talk to any committed FC supporter in 2019!

Although that almost schizophrenic demeanour has been our lot all season and indeed something that has frustrated this fan to hell, talking to a younger supporter at the end of the game perhaps, I thought, I worry too much? Perhaps we should all just accept it?  Let’s face it as he sagely pointed out, fans at London, Leeds and Rovers would grab the chance to be so in-consistent that they were two points up in third, clear of relegation with 7 rounds to go and in a Cup semi-final, but somehow when your witnessing it that doesn’t make this ‘upside-down’ season any less frustrating does it? 

We’d been up and down from game to game, but then we won 4 in a row and looked really good taking on Castleford and Catalan away from home, before against the Dobbins and then Saints we were back to being scratchy to say the least. This week we surpassed ourselves and managed to mirror that season long malaise in one game. Shining in the first half and flopping and floundering in the second.

But, you have to be pleased with our overall position for it is something that would have been taken by all of us when we set off with two loses on the trot back in February, but it was tough going last Thursday in that second half.

None the less in the end the record shows that we won, we were thoroughly entertained in the first half and suffered whatever is the opposite to that in the second, but we got two points and we are still third. However, there are much bigger battles ahead and we will have to be a lot better in them!!

The infuriating thing is of course, that we know that is eminently possible when this lot really set their stall out to play for 80 minutes.    

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The Dentist’s Diary – 636th

Out play, out thought and out manoeuvred!!! In fact, on Friday we were simply outclassed!!

Again, just when we needed to see a strong performance to lay down a marker against what is undoubtedly the best team in the competition by a country mile, we came up well short. We were just out muscled and out thought from the first minute and that by a team who had class and ability across the board. Everyone could off load, everyone could make play and as for their defence, well it left ours standing. Three tries including two rather fortuitous efforts in the first 20 minutes, saw us 18-0 down and already without a hope of getting back into it.

Our pack just couldn’t live with theirs and so our halves had no chance, nor had our backs as we were given a lesson on just how good you have to be, if you are ever to be run away leaders of the competition.

So no excuses and no attempts at an explanation, because we were just second best right across the board. We have now to focus on next Thursday and see if we can get two points against the basement dwellers from the capitol, because if we can’t, then with Wigan racing up on the rails, we can probably wave goodbye to a top three finish. Our only hope then is that with all the rest playing each other in the next seven rounds, we can sneak into that top five. However, with our away form so good and our home form so poor, with 5 home games out of the remaining 8 at the KCom, it doesn’t look good does it?

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