The reappearance of Tim Walsh in Birmingham and his apparent reincarnation as a confident and highly competent playmaker, as demonstrated by his display for Newbury last weekend, has set me thinking.

Not only was it good to see one of the sport's genuinely nice people back somewhere near his best and enjoying his rugby at the same time, his outstanding performance against Moseley was interesting for a number of reasons.

The former Pertemps Bees fly half was responsible for my champagne moment of last season when he scored an injury-time try to hand Bees what - at the time - was a crucial victory over Sedgley Park in their battle against relegation. More of that later.

He scored another on Saturday, a sniping little jink between two forwards that gave his side a lead they would never lose. It was a superb piece of individualism that is all too rare in a modern game where a stand off improvises at his peril.

Curiously, and just by way of shooting down my own argument, it was the second time in two days I'd seen a No 10 ignore the obvious and take a gamble but Shane Drahm's 46th-second scamper against Gloucester on Friday night and Walsh's effort are the exceptions that prove the point.

How often do you see a fly half run with the ball these days? Not as frequently as ten years ago, I'll bet. Stuart Barnes wouldn't even get a game for Old Big Eds vets these days.

Drahm and Walsh's efforts are noteworthy for their rarity and it was only coincidence that they pulled the London bus routine and came in a pair.

As a rule, I try to avoid the 'It Was So Much Better When' diatribe, but the growing tendency to script everything down to the minutest detail has sucked spontaneity out of the sport.

Watching Premiership rugby, in particular, has become the oval ball equivalent of painting by numbers - Ryan Lamb and Gloucester apart - and will continue to be so, as long as most directors of rugby choose to run over, rather than round, defenders.

It seems to me that somewhere, tactically speaking, rugby has disappeared somewhere up its own blind alley and, in the process, forgotten the basic premise that it's more easy to score with space in front of you than half-a-tonne of brawn. And along the way, the guys who were traditionally the most creative players on the pitch have become the most regulated.

It's certainly romantic, it's probably naive but wouldn't it be more fun if the boys with magic dust in their boots were indulged a little more?

Which brings me back to Walsh and his current club Newbury, both of whom are coached by that self-professed luminary, Ben Ryan.

Whatever you think about his profile, it's difficult to disagree with his preferred style of an expansive and attacking game.

Walsh's talents, more typical of a southern hemisphere first five-eighth than the traditional English pocket-dweller, look to be flourishing on such a stage - perhaps more so than during his two years at Bees, where he rarely looked the game-winner they hoped he would be.

That is not to say he never met their expectations. He did so royally in January when Bees were becalmed in a sapping fight to avoid the drop.

Obviously, subsequent travesties require the current reality to be suspended to truly recall the magnitude of that game against Sedgley Park but pretend, if you will, that relegation was going to happen at this stage

Bees and Sedgley Park were two of a handful of candidates for the drop and so to describe their meeting at Sharmans Cross Road as 'must win' was to seriously understate its importance.

What followed was, in most ways, the worst match I have endured for many a moon, but for sheer nerve-jangling tension, it was by far the best of the year.

It was a grey and bitterly cold afternoon, the pitch resembled the consistency of a treacle tart and errors came by the bushel as Bees threw themselves at the biggest pack in the division.

After a scoreless first half, Will Matthews broke the deadlock with an unconverted try only for the visitors to kick two penalties and lead by a point.

Then, with the last play of the game, Walsh - who was having a stinker - popped up in the right corner to take Allan Gill's off-load and squelch over. The magnificent touchline conversion from Ben Harvey deserved a better setting.

That try was testament to Walsh and Bees' doggedness and the game demonstrated just what a physically and mentally sapping league National One was.

The bad news is that with four fixtures added to the programme and more money than ever spent on trying to get out of it/stay in it (delete as appropriate) this year's First Division is an even more fearsome place to try to build a reputation.

And Moseley will no doubt be aware of that when they welcome Sedgley Tigers - they have asked that we address them as such - to Billesley Common this weekend; their guests might be bottom of the league, but they must not expect an easy ride...SUPL: