Worcester 11 Northampton 15
It took one sleep-inducing hour and only 20 breathtaking minutes to prove the fabled philosopher, Saint Augustine of Hippo, knew his rugby.
The man credited for merging Greek and Christian theory is best-known for coming up with the following afterdinner ditty - "Faith is to believe what we do not see; and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe."
Thus the 9,000 or so devoted souls who assembled at Sixways on Saturday must have done so in hope rather than expectation that these two out-of-form teams would be able to defy the atrocious conditions and produce something truly memorable.
Ultimately they were repaid for their perseverance as a dour first 60 minutes gave way to as pulsating a final quarter as can have been witnessed since Augustine himself was a lad.
It was a period in which Northampton scored two tries, both created by that rarest of sights - the free-running English outside centre, and looked home if not particularly dry with a 15-6 lead and only five minutes to negotiate.
By the time Aisea Havili, Worcester's Tongan wing, pumped his fist in celebration at having scored the decisive points for his side no one could argue they had not had their money's worth.
Sadly for Havili, and his team-mates, his triumphant gesticulations were rather premature as referee Chris White ruled that the pass that set him on his way, delivered by the irreplaceable Shane Drahm, had drifted forward. There was to be no score and, for the third league game running, no win for Worcester.
Drahm shook his head, television replays proved inconclusive and the hosts' coaching staff held their counsel.
They do not in future, according to head coach Anthony Eddy, want such important matters referred to a video judge. Their supporters will not agree.
Until that point White's officiating had been pretty faultless. If he and his touch judge were right they should be applauded, if not there should be no censure.
He had, in the main, managed to keep his whistle from his lips and his cards in his pocket throughout a dull first hour in which both combatants seemed more preoccupied with the few inches straight ahead of them than the acres of space out wide.
Never mind, we thought, look at the conditions - no one could play rugby in freezing rain. Even the visitors' normally ebullient Kiwi creators Carlos Spencer, Mark Robinson and Bruce Reihana - All Blacks to a man - trusted in the limiting effects of the weather.
But when three tries, possibly four, were scored in the last 17 minutes on reflection one is entitled to ask why it took so long for the rugby to break out.
Slick handling was not an easy task but it was one to which both teams eventually showed themselves equal, so if there is any criticism to be bandied about it should be directed at the decisionmakers, on the field or off it, who stifled three-quarters of this match with a tactical straight-jacket.
Worcester are perhaps more innocent in this respect than Northampton. They had every reason to believe their guests' main area of weakness lay around the fringes of the breakdown - it has in the past and will in the future - and so they shelled the narrow channels incessantly.
That was when they had possession because for half of the first period and most of the second they barely saw the ball at all. It is difficult to recall a time when they have been so starved of sustenance on their own pitch.
Which is a massive credit to their defence. Not only did the Worcester pack repel Northampton's ponderous pick-and-drive routine for a good half-hour, they did so with such discipline that the visitors had no recourse but to keep battering away.
Perhaps they should have freed the huge talent of Jon Clarke more than twice. When he did get some decent ball he set up tries for Steve Thompson and Ben Cohen, men he seems destined to join in the England ranks.
Yet when Worcester got it in the last ten minutes, they showed themselves more than capable of playing 15-man rugby, through the middle and out wide, and nearly pulled off the most unlikely of results. Drahm was their catalyst.
He was introduced after 50 minutes and once his forwards won him some quality possession he demonstrated a range of passing and speed off the mark that far outshone anything his predecessor, James Brown, had been able to produce.
With Worcester trailing 15-6 he held his pass beautifully to maximise Kai Horstmann's rampage down the blindside for 15-11. Although he missed the conversion he made amends for it with another deft off-load, under pressure, to Drew Hickey who cracked the Saints' defence.
The next time Drahm appeared in the move was to float play out to Havili on the right sideline. As the 28-year-old sped to the Northampton line everyone in the ground had become a believer. Except for Chris White.