All was right in the Birmingham & Solihull world on Sunday. A defiant performance masterminded by the scampering Mark Woodrow brought back memories of happier days when all in the second tier trod warily whenever the Bees were in town.
The little fly-half was in his element. Pitted against big money opponents Bristol – who just happened to be his hometown club – in a match no-one gave his side a hope of winning, Woodrow chivvied and chided for all his worth.
The end product was the Championship upset of the season, a 35-33 victory secured with a last minute swing of his boot after he had picked out Dan Sanderson with a pinpoint cross-field kick, that made it feel as though he had never been away.
“On a personal level it was great to be put in that position,” the 30-year-old said. “It was even better that it came off.
“When we conceded that penalty try near the end we gathered under the posts and promised each other the least we were coming away with was a draw.
“We knew we had five minutes to go and get a try, we knew we were capable and then it was just a case of whether we could get the conversion.”
Once Sanderson had picked Dan Norton’s pocket, the worm that appalled Bees so much the previous week – when they lost to Moseley with a last-play conversion – had completely turned.
Woodrow’s conversion rose into the air, hovered dangerously close to the left-hand upright before it slipped just inside and sparked near delirium among the Bees squad.
“It was a great, whole-team performance,” Woodrow said. “That is what we are going to have to do week in, week out if we are going to avoid the relegation play-offs.
“The pack stood up to them really well. It was only at the end when Bristol managed to exert some pressure.
“This group of players have always had self belief, it’s just that they have been missing out in most games through mistakes or things going against them.
“I spoke to Russell Earnshaw before I came and he said we have been playing some good rugby. As long as we keep doing what we did against Bristol and keeping ourselves in games, we have got the side to compete with anybody.”
Woodrow makes his latest home debut against Bedford Blues this Sunday, a game Bees go into knowing a third victory of the season would lift them to within touching distance of the top eight. Given the struggles they have had in the last year, that would be an amazing feat and with Woodrow at the helm, it might just be possible.