At the halfway point of Moseley’s First Division campaign, Richard Vasey’s mysterious loss of goal-kicking form can finally be explained. The young fly half contracted Moved Goalpost Syndrome.
The condition is a reasonably common phenomenon that affects players when the Rugby Football Union decides to change the rules midway through a season.
There he was happily trolling along at 92 per cent accuracy when the target shifted. Instead of 14th place in National One being enough to guarantee the same level of rugby for next season, Vasey and his Red and Black hordes must now come at least 11th.
Happily the 23-year-old has recalibrated his sights and on Saturday kicked four from five attempts and Moseley seem on course to achieve their new goal.
Moving on to what was supposed to be a serious analysis of Moseley’s first 15 of 30 league matches – and leaving Vasey’s autumnal travails aside, it should be noted the Yorkist has been an outstanding acquisition and is in no way deserving of such facetiousness.
Of all the fly halves they were looking at over the summer, including Tom Barlow and James Brown, the Billesley coaches have no reason to feel they made a wrong choice.
Vasey is not only a willing interviewee, a man who thinks about his rugby, he is also a good player who has brought a stability to a team that has lacked a guiding hand in the No 10 shirt for the last two seasons.
Under his influence Moseley currently stand 11th in the table, 12 points above the Plimsoll Line. They have beaten all the sides below them and – depending on your definition of full time, look the pick of the part-time teams.
Given fair wind and assuming Esher don’t suddenly find vast amounts of money their progress to next season’s Championship ought to be straightforward if not smooth. It’s what happens then when the real fun starts.
One would assume, therefore, there would be a reasonable amount of satisfaction down Windy Alley. Well, there is and there isn’t.
The development from last year is clear for all to see. Where Mose were once picked on by the division’s big bullies, visits to Exeter and Leeds aside they now threaten to turn the tables on their better-bank-rolled opponents.
Nottingham, Bedford and Doncaster – clubs ranked third, fourth and fifth respectively, all required last-play scores to defeat Moseley.
The big scalp is surely coming, indeed it might even present itself against London Welsh on Saturday.
But that is as much a source of frustration as pride. There isn’t a team in the land who couldn’t claim another three wins with a few shoulds, coulds and woulds but none can mount as convincing an argument as Ian Smith’s men. They really are that close, so close in fact they should be looking above them and not below.
That is not to say six victories is a sufficient return from half a season and although it probably would be from a second half, Mose will want more to chase down Rotherham and Coventry.
Once again key to their ambitions has been the dual registered player sharing arrangement with Gloucester. Gone are the embarrassingly disruptive loan agreements, who can forget Ludovic Mercier’s face at last summer’s pre-season press call and the mix up over Adam Balding?
Indeed it might not be overstating the value of the deal to suggest it is the difference between where Moseley are and where clubs like Sedgley Park and Esher find themselves. This season Moseley have control over their engine and have turned to Kingsholm for an infusion of gas.
It is better thought out for both clubs and the players involved.
That has brought the lavishly gifted Henry Trinder to Billesley. The first time I saw the 19-year-old play was in the warm-up match at Worcester. Even when those all around him crumbled to a 73-7, the teenager looked totally at home in his exalted surroundings, indeed he scored the visitors’ try.
Three more came against Manchester last Saturday and he now stands equal with fellow Kingsholm Kiddie Charlie Sharples at the top of the scoring charts.
Jack Adams is another and Jordi Pasqualin is a blue-chip player – all of them have improved Smith’s squad without upsetting its rhythm.
But one should not forget the shopping Mose have done on their own behalf. As well as Vasey, Ally Muldowney, Andy Reay and Terry Sigley have all come in and raised the quality.
If these players can stay fit until May next year, Moseley’s progress will be handed a serious test when the goalposts are only 12 clubs wide.