Brian Dick on history proving that promoted clubs can live in National One...

The league title has yet to be won but already the minds of Moseley's coaches, players and supporters will be straying to next season - in National One.

Although the Billesley Common side beat Halifax on the day they were promoted (pictured), the result that confirmed their elevation was Waterloo's victory at Esher in the second versus third play-off.

The Merseysiders' 41-7 triumph guaranteed both theirs' and Moseley's return to the upper echelons of the English game. It is a magnificent achievement for everyone involved, particularly so after both clubs' problems adapting to the professional era.

Yet for all the sounds of corks popping and congratulatory phone calls there must also be a nervousness about what life at level two holds.

Moseley's young side was mauled when they were relegated from the First Division three years ago. That 2002-03 season was an exercise in medicine-taking.

A 102-point thrashing at Rotherham, two heavy defeats in the derbies with Birmingham & Solihull, as they were then, and 333 points conceded in their last six games was the stuff of nightmares. They could be forgiven for making the next step with trepidation.

Yet they need not be especially tentative. A glance through the record books suggests that Moseley and Waterloo will find it tough in National One but not insurmountably so.

Since the game went professional in 1995 only one team promoted from level three has been immediately relegated the following year - Bracknell in 2001 - and two of them, Worcester and Leeds, are in the Premiership.

The current champions and runners-up Doncaster, who dominated National Two last season, and Newbury, who were a clear second, are a fairly typical example of the way clubs have fared at the higher level.

Neither have set National One alight this season, they stand tenth and 12th respectively, but neither have they been whipping boys. Doncaster have won nine of their 23 games and Newbury seven.

Interestingly, with the league's reputation for big sides churning out conservative rugby, both teams have progressed by remaining true to their own styles.

Many predicted that Newbury would find the heavy pitches and gargantuan forward packs too much to handle yet they have moved their opponents round with considerable skill and have had some remarkable results in doing the double over Plymouth Albion and beating Exeter Chiefs and Otley.

With three games to go Moseley have won more matches than Newbury did in 2004-05 and, with a productive youth system, they are arguably more self-sufficient than the Berkshire side and therefore have as good, if not better, chance of staying up next year.

Half of the players who lost their last National One game, 36-25 to Exeter in April 2003, are still with the club and it is clear to see the lessons that were so brutally administered then have been well remembered.

Winning National Two doesn't confer any particular privileges but in eight out of ten years the champions have finished the next season higher than the team that comes second. With three games to go Moseley need two more wins to end up top but they have to be considered favourites.

Yet, whether they come first or second, the task ahead should not be under-estimated. Of all the teams promoted only five have managed to sneak into the top half of the table in the following year and six have subsequently dropped out of level two. Richmond have fallen out of the National Leagues altogether.

But with a commitment to living within their means, Moseley are far wiser and more stable than they were the last time they played in National One. In Ian Smith they have a well-grounded and intuitive head coach and with young men like James Rodwell, Nathan Bressington and Adam Caves in their side nothing about next season should faze them. They only have to look in the record books to see that.

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