Newbury Blues 22 Moseley 24
That Moseley were losing this match from the second minute until three minutes were left on the clock says as much about their own tactical errors as it does about the team's resolve.
Make no mistake, the Birmingham side dominated the play for long periods and to most onlookers appeared the more likely to win, but it seemed that each time they stepped up an attacking gear extravagant play would gift the advantage to the opposition.
Each side scored three tries but all of Moseley's came at the end of several passages of play whereas, astonishingly, Blues made only one pass in scoring all three of theirs. Nevertheless, with other sides at the bottom end of the table having home wins, this was a priceless win for the men in red and black.
Moseley got off to a bad start from the kick-off when, playing against a very strong wind, they lost the ball to a penalty turn-over, which was ultimately kicked by Blues' fly half Chris Ashwin.
Without the slightest hint of pressure in between, an apparently innocuous 22 drop-out fell behind the advancing Moseley forwards, was gathered by former Moseley player John Chance and one pass to his lock partner was all that was needed for Gregor Hayter to flop over for the opening try.
This provided a wake-up call and, with the Moseley pack beginning to drive back their counterparts, a quick tap penalty by scrum half Gareth Taylor deep inside his own half saw the ball move swiftly to the left wing and the dancing feet of young Dan Norton finished the move in great style.
This try was converted by fly half Neil Stenhouse and the gap was reduced to a single point.
Then came the second self-inflicted wound. Moseley
were beginning to make inroads into the Blues' rush defence and, when they found themselves with a huge overlap on the right, an injudicious cut-out pass by Stenhouse was intercepted by Newbury wing Martin
Nutt who ran in unopposed, with Ashwin again converting.
With the first half drawing to a close, however, it was to be the Billesley Common side who were to go in with the bigger lift to their hearts. Again the move started inside their own territory, and good combination work between captain Neil Mason and Taylor allowed the ball to be worked to the left wing where Scottish international prop Alasdair Dickenson was lurking. He took the ball 40 metres out and showed an astonishing turn of foot to score in the corner.
Stenhouse produced a prodigious conversion from the touchline into the wind and with the margin back to one point it was game-on for the second half.
With the wind now in their favour Moseley were electing to kick themselves forward but there was little continuity as a result of unforced errors. Then came a bizarre couple of minutes. With the Blues' defence clearly seen to be off-side to everyone in the ground except the officials, a pass by Taylor was intercepted by Nutt who raced away for a carbon-copy of his first try.
As he turned back from the line Nutt inexplicably threw the ball at his Moseley counterpart Nathan Bressington and, after Ashwin had again converted the try, the referee awarded the Billesley Common side a penalty on the halfway line. Stenhouse kicked this successfully to set up a barnstorming last ten minutes.
With time running out, Taylor ran right and flicked the ball back inside to Paul Arnold. The lock crashed through the Blues' defence for the winning try with Stenhouse again adding the extras.
A smiling Moseley head coach Ian Smith said that he felt his side were deserving of the win, and reflected on this season's record. "If our home results were equal to those on our travels we would be a top-six side," he said.
NEWBURY BLUES: Walsh; Nutt, Tombleson (Perkins 62), Reay, Hylton; Ashwin (Rees 70), Smaje (Simpson-Daniel 40); Irish, Hincken, Thompson (Carter 58), Hayter, Chance, Abbott, Pennycook (Ashcroft-Leigh 58), Morgan.
MOSELEY: Binns; Bressington, James, Trueman, Norton; Stenhouse, Taylor; Dickinson, McMillan, Sigley, Arnold, Stott, Mason, Atkinson, Rodwell.
Referee: Ashley Rowden (RFU).