For the sake of clarity, Winston Churchill was not describing the vagaries of life at Billesley Common when he came out with his immortal description ‘a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma’.
He could easily have been, however, since the current season has been one of consistent inconsistency for a Moseley team that has developed into a side capable of both remarkable demonstrations of resilience and lamentable lapses in application.
Indeed Ian Smith’s side have shown in the last seven months an ability to dissect opponents with clinical precision and also a tendency to become the subject of equally painful examinations.
As a result they are able to win a cup game at London Welsh less than two months after conceding ten tries and 68 points to virtually identical opponents.
They are also able to fight to the death for a 6-6 draw at Plymouth having earlier in the campaign handed five league points on a platter to a pretty modest Albion outfit.
Welcome to the world of Moseley’s first team where – as the slightly less statesmanlike Forrest Gump put it – you just don’t know what you’re gonna get.
The Billesley outfit complete the first phase of the 2010-11 Championship programme on Saturday when they travel to Surrey to take on fellow strugglers Esher, possessors of their own split personality.
Whatever happens at the Pillar Data Arena on Saturday, Moseley are safe – if that is the right word – in the knowledge that they will be in the relegation play-offs.
Happy – if that is the right word – that all they have to play for this weekend are intangible concepts like impetus and confidence.
Wind the clock back to the same juncture last year and they went into the final match with Bristol needing a victory over the league leaders and help from elsewhere to finish in the top eight.
The victory arrived, the win didn’t and tailspin ensued. There will be no such drama this time and bizarrely everyone seems the happier for it. “Last season we were going hell for leather to get into that eighth position,” Smith recalled.
“We thought we’d done it, then realised we hadn’t done it about two minutes later and it was a huge psychological impact.
“We were going into play-offs having beaten everyone – twice – and there was a huge mental impact in that.
“But now we are just going in looking to keep momentum and continuing to enjoy our rugby. We are more comfortable within ourselves now, we are playing better and there’s no angst or stress or having to win.
“We are now building for the next phase and it’s going well at the moment.”
Indeed it is. Moseley are undefeated in their last five matches and – having initially been nursed back to health in the British & Irish Cup – are demonstrating decent league form too. If one looks at results alone.
The reasons for confidence are manifold. Not since the promotion year of 2006 – when the opponents were Henley, Orrell, Halifax, Barking and Launceston – have the Red and Blacks gone so long without losing.
Yet the perception remains they are vulnerable in defence and impotent in attack. Now that’s enigmatic.
“The fact is we are playing fairly well, a lot of the stuff in our systems is working when they are being adhered to and we are getting our just rewards in terms of wins,” Smith maintained.
“The points will come, we are creating opportunities but not quite finishing them off.
“We have played in difficult conditions but against Plymouth there were three or four opportunities we missed and again against Rotherham there were at least two or three.
“We will get there. I think, it’s just a case of keeping going and players making the right decisions.
“Against Birmingham it stuck when we played OK but in the last two games we just let ourselves down at crucial points but a lot of the build up work and the things we are working on are really coming to fruition just at the right time.”
Which was never more true than in their work without the ball. In the last three league games their line has been breached just twice. with new signing Bevon Armitage leading the charge.
“Defensively we are playing pretty well,” Smith added. “The penny has dropped, we are doing nothing different to what we were doing in pre-season or September and October. But the boys are actually cracking on with it now.
“You have got to talk and be relaxed in defence but I think the organisation is good, I think the defence off the first two or three phases is what is helping and then we are relaxing after that and causing a few problems.”
Oh and the classic line? Riddle, mystery, enigma and all that – was aimed at Russia – a place almost as cold and unpredictable as Chillesley Common.