JOSH BOWDEN today spoke of his relief at earning a place in Hull FC’s Wembley side.
Ahead of last week’s game against Catalans Dragons, head coach Lee Radford had been weighing up his options for the last bench spot in tomorrow’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final against Warrington Wolves.
Bowden, Jordan Thompson and Dean Hadley were all fighting it out but the Beverley-born prop has got the nod as he confirmed at this afternoon’s traditional Wembley.
However, Bowden had been sweating since being left out for the semi-final win against Wigan Warriors four weeks ago - one of only two games he had missed all season for the Super League leaders.
“I was a bit surprised to miss that because I had played all year,” he said, Thompson playing in the epic 16-12 victory at Doncaster instead.
“I had to just take it in my stride and work harder in training.
“I think I needed to play well in these last few weeks, too, because the lads played so well in that semi-final.
“I had to really get my head down and have three solid games.”
The 24-year-old did just that against Castleford, then in the 38-0 win at Widnes Vikings before also featuring as Hull thrashed Catalans 44-0 last Thursday.
“Luckily enough I’ve made the squad for the final so I’m over the moon,” said the Academy product.
“I kind of had a feeling I was playing because Lee Radford text me earlier in the week.
“I told my family and everyone is really excited. It’s a dream come true for a Hull lad playing in the final for the Black and Whites.”
Bowden joined the rest of the squad in getting a first look at the Wembley pitch today, enjoying a brief practice session in the searing heat.
“It was great to train on the pitch,” said the player, who did not make the squad for the 2013 final loss against Wigan.
“It was obviously the first time for me. The surroundings are unreal.
“We got a good feeling for it all by training on the pitch. Hopefully it will stand us in great stead for tomorrow.”