The evidence that Moseley finally present a severe challenge for most of National One’s full-time sides is irrefutable.
Another narrow, oh so late, defeat at home to Doncaster last Saturday demonstrates that Ian Smith’s men are no longer operating in a different sphere to the well-heeled teams above.
The Knights needed a soft try, with just three minutes to go, to join the ranks of London Welsh, Plymouth Albion, Nottingham and Cornish Pirates as big fish who got away with a hard-won victory but not before their fins were clipped.
However, if the evidence provided by their trip to Sandy Park is anything to go by, Mose are still light years from worrying the very best at home.
Where Northampton Saints smashed them 68-12 last September, Exeter were even more ruthless when they handed out a 70-10 humiliation a year later.
Ten tries against and as poor a performance as they have put in for two seasons was reward for the squad rotation Moseley tried in Devon.
Leeds away is their next fixture, this Sunday, and given what happened against the Chiefs a couple of months ago, they could be forgiven for taking to the M1 with trepidation. No one has beaten Carnegie this season, not even Exeter – at home.
To make matters worse Moseley will be changing their line-up once again. Henry Trinder and Nathan Williams, two of their leading lights in the backs and front row respectively, will definitely be missing and there are serious concerns over Adam Caves’ calf. James Rodwell is away with England Sevens.
Thankfully Ian Smith will be able to call on his favoured centre partnership of Andy Reay and Jack Adams, the latter having recovered from the hamstring injury that kept him out of last weekend’s disappointing 19-12 reverse.
Reay, in his third stint at Billesley Common believes this Moseley team is no longer mere cannon fodder – despite events at Exeter.
“Against Exeter we had written the game off before we had even got down there,” the 25-year-old admits. “We will not make that mistake this weekend.
“Leeds are not the force Northampton were and they had a couple they nearly lost. Hopefully we can be the ones to take something off them.
“I think we have a chance. If you look at last weekend’s result, Cornish Pirates got a bonus point and gave them a real scare. Take that and think that we were beating Pirates away until the 80th minute and we can go up there with the attitude we can get something.”
To be fair to Reay he is uniquely placed to assess Moseley’s progress. The former Bristol and Newbury midfielder is able to judge his team with both the eye of an informed observer and a detached critic.
Reay first came on loan to Birmingham midway through the 2005-06National Two championship campaign and played an important role in a position that had caused Ian Smith a head ache or two.
He returned at the end of the next season and was the steadying influence on the club’s final day charge to First Division safety.
And he’s back for good after a year with Newbury. He has combined outstandingly with fly half Richard Vasey and Adams – two quality players who were not present in his first two stays.
“The change is really noticeable,” he says. “The lads who were in National Two like James Rodwell and Adam Caves have really stepped up. Ally Muldowney has been a great addition, the Gloucester boys have so much space to play in and there is so much pace outside of me.
“We have got a real cutting-edge out wide, which we didn’t have before. You can’t substitute for pace in those positions and because of that they have all scored tries. Inside me there is more stability. Rich Vasey controls the game really well and he is only going to get better.”
If they are to gatecrash the full-time teams, however, Reay says they must cut out the individual errors, the sort which deprived them of at least a draw against Doncaster.
“We defended really well for large parts of that game. The tries they scored came off our silly mistakes.
“We would have got away with those against the lower clubs, but the full-timers seem to be punishing us for them. If we can iron out those wrinkles we can start beating teams like Nottingham, Plymouth and London Welsh on a regular basis.”
But Leeds? That requires a performance of altogether more substance.