The Dentist’s Diary – 722nd

Heroic, battling stuff and a real war of attrition! 

But it’s another win and another two points. 

Ok, let’s say from the off there were a few problems and issues in our attack, which a few have been quick to jump on, we looked jaded and it wasn’t pretty at all, but we won!! It’s very easy in these situations to cite a lack of attacking ideas, mistakes and discipline issues, but we were pretty knackered and, when you scrape away at the surface of the circumstances that surrounded the game, it was a fine effort that ended in the best possible way. 

For me as a bit of an old stager, it reminded me of some of those epic backs-to-the-wall encounters we witnessed at the Boulevard in the 70’s (usually against Leeds) when the opposition threw the kitchen sink at us and everything including the referee was against us winning. Yet just like so often back then, somehow we hung in there and battled through to the end. On this occasion it appeared to me that the Officials favoured a Wildcats victory and the Sky commentators certainly did, so in the end the final outcome was all the sweeter really! 

Yes, it was probably our worst performance under Brett Hodgson but there were some mitigating circumstances and I think we saw 17 real heroes out there. Again, for me, it was a game we simply wouldn’t have won last season, so well done to Brett and to our defensive Coach Gareth Ellis. I love the way that although they were off-side at the play the ball for one of their tries, one of their scores was an interception, we were denied a try by the video referee at the end and we had to play with a forward short and a ten-minute sin-binning, we just got our heads down and got on with it. In fact, in that period with 12 men on the field it was us that scored, not Wakey! 

If you spoke to the players last week, it was apparent that the aftermath of that marathon game against Warrington had made for a very, very tough few days. Even the Coach alluded to that fact when he said this week, “We’ve already spoken about it (the fatigue), this is another big test for us as a group and we’ll be treating it like it is just that,” 

As fans we all know that to succeed we had to try and make our home ground a fortress, because over the years we’ve given too many visiting fans a good day out at the KCom. But, our first two showings there, although lacking that cutting attacking edge, have seen us battle like we haven’t done for a couple of seasons and I simply love the passion and togetherness this current FC team displays. Long may that continue.

Continue reading

The Dentist’s Diary – 721st

In the end we drew, but it was all a bit underwhelming really!!!

But it was certainly a big day for records as we are with Warrington the first clubs to get a draw since Golden Point was introduced and Danny Houghton broke the record for most tackles made in a game (85), since the OPTA stats process started in 2003. What a guy eh?

However here on Monday morning several of you are no doubt waking up and sharing reader Richard’s frustrations, when he text me first thing to say how unhappy he still was about us letting that game slip from our grasp. It’s really frustrating for it was exciting at times and dour at others, however we’d done enough to win and to concede on the very last play of the 80 minutes was a real killer. We certainly missed Reynolds, as they watched Sneyd and Connor closely, but with an exceptional attitude throughout, the effort was there and we are a work in progress at present, so against a team like Warrington and with several players missing, it was an OK performance. However, I still maintain that we should have bloody won!  

It’s a point lost for me, although it’s only five tries conceded in three league games (half as many as the same three games last year) which is, on our previous form, some record for us. I’d hazard a guess that we would have conceded at least that many in that one game, had it been played in the last weeks of Radford’s reign. We look more organised in defence and more enthusiastic and excited about playing for the club and with each other, but for me this time we lacked that bit of invention,  yet our endeavour dictated that we deserved to prevail, but we didn’t. We have to get over that and move on, but with a five day turn around and a desperate Wakefield coming up, what toll that extra ten minutes took on us, remains to be seen. 

Still, at least we were back home at the KCom again, but did anyone else feel really sad at around 2-00pm, when you thought of walking up to the game. Did you miss all the hopeful faces around you, as you met friends and said hello to fellow fanatics, whilst the FC army full of expectation prepared to back the lads from the terraces? The reality was that I was sat there on the settee, (well until I was behind it in Golden Point) in glorious isolation and as the sun streamed through the windows, whilst across the country people mixed in vast numbers outside pubs and restaurants. It hardly seemed fair at all!

As I said last week, as restrictions are eased and we start to piece our lives back together again, as far as attending sport is concerned it’s not easy being part of an emergency of historical proportion, is it? 

Continue reading

The Dentist’s Diary – 720th

All over in 20 minutes?

Well of course it was really. Although, after that second half I was all set to entitle this Diary, ‘The return of the headless chickens’, but that was perhaps a bit harsh, because we crushed them in the first half and got through the second unfocused, a tad flat, but with minimal fuss. 

The thing was that after a first half which, for me, was for such games, as good, slick and focussed as I have seen us for ages, in the second we put the cue on the rack and rode it out. We lost our way a bit and thank goodness it was Featherstone and not a Super League Club that we were up against. Of course, the conundrum is that had it been against one of our peers, that second half probably wouldn’t have happened anyway. Points difference is matter less in Cup games because all that really counts is winning! 

In our house the game was undoubtably won at half time, as apparently it was in the heads of the boys in the dressing room as well. However, for me the second half was to be expected in some ways. Brett Hodgson thought we were clunky in the first half, well, he should have seen the way we have performed at times in in the recent past, if he thought that was clunky!! 

You know there are few times in my life that I have missed an FC game at home and it’s safe to say since the end of the 70’s there are few I have missed away either and I always like to be there early and soak it all up! But, as excuses go for missing at least the start of a game, this week I think I had the best there could be, because I spent the first part of the evening at Beverley racecourse …….. getting my second jab. Good old Boris eh? Fancy giving me a 7-10pm appointment on a night when Hull were kicking off ten minutes earlier; no sense of planning at all. 

However, I got there early and the good old NHS interpreted my demise as an emergency and were very understanding, before Mrs R raced us home and in the end I missed exactly a minute of the match, which thankfully included that first Featherstone try. Incidentally there is no truth either in the rumour that after receiving a jab at the race course, you can go straight out and do 8 furlongs without breaking sweat! Although as I left one of the Dog and Duck regulars who was a steward on the door did shout a cheery, “See you in the pub” which didn’t go down too well with the medical fraternity!!

Continue reading

The Dentist’s Diary – 719th

Last week was good… this week was excellent!! 

 ……….. and I loved it!!!

We had to win to make sure that the dreams of last week could become a little more of a reality and more important still, we had to perform for the whole 80 minutes. We did all that and indeed I found it as easy to watch as I had any FC game for ages; we were just in so much control.

The fact is, we all thought we looked OK last week, but you can never be sure with Hull FC particularly when the C word that has evaded us for so long comes in; for consistency is something that has evaded us for a few years now. I guess most people reading this would have only been convinced that things really had changed for the good when we had seen how we performed under adversity and whether some disruption would see us revert to ‘headless Chicken’ rugby, such as we have seen so many times before in the last few years. 

There is little doubt that with both half-backs and an influential Prop off the field we certainly coped well and with Houghton fitting seamlessly into half-back and Carlos operating next to him, we kept our shape and our pattern and saw the game out, only conceding one try throughout the whole 80 minutes. 

Of course, it wouldn’t be Hull FC with all this positivity about, if there wasn’t a fly in the ointment as there is with both our influential and at presently charismatic half backs crocked in the same game! We just have to hope it isn’t too serious with either! 

There is no doubt that when all three are on the field Connor, Sneyd and Reynolds are, with Houghton, perhaps the best spine in the competition, yet they will always be ineffective without a strong forward performance that puts the opposition onto the back foot. Our 6 were superb again this week and there has to be some big praise for Cator, Taylor and Fash who came onto the field and really stood up from the bench. That extra push when the foundation had been laid, was what in the end saw Salford’s forwards out on their feet at the end of each half. What’s more when that spine was decimated by injury so strong was the forwards pressure on the opposition, that our make-shift play making department still looked really good and more importantly when we had to change things around, we kept our shape.      

Continue reading