While his absence from Saturday’s final game of the season will be a source of sadness to Mark Evans, it will be even more so to the Moseley supporters who will not now have their opportunity to bid farewell to one of the club’s most faithful servants.
After nearly a decade, relegation, promotions and cup wins in the Red and Black the back-rower has decided to concentrate on his teaching career and announced his retirement from semi-professional rugby.
If anyone deserves a curtain call and one more appearance to add to the 202 he has already amassed, it is the 31-year-old who has loyally answered the club’s reveille whenever it came.
However, perhaps appropriately, Evans’ work commitment prevent him from taking part in this weekend’s game against Plymouth, a match that is a chance to reflect on another job well done.
Relegation has been staved off and an afternoon of sun-kissed stress-free rugby awaits for his team-mates. “I am a bit gutted about missing that,” Evans said. “It would have been good, especially with all the lads going out afterwards.
“But I let them know I wouldn’t be available for this match at the start of the season, it’s just a shame it’s the final one.”
Instead Evans will have to content himself with the knowledge his valedictory start was something of a collectors’ item – against Ulster at Ravenhill on a Wednesday afternoon in February.
If that is a regret it is the only one: “For the last two years it’s been a struggle to keep up with the full-timers,” Evans explained. “I have been taking on extra responsibility at school and that has to come first. Getting to training late, after 5pm, when you have been up since 6am is very hard and it’s frustrating not to be able to give my all to everything. I don’t want to do anything half-heartedly.
“I’ve been there and done it over the last nine or ten years with Moseley but I am happy that I have had my time.”
That time began in the most austere of situations as part of a callow Mose side that was relegated into the third tier in 2003.
While many left Evans stayed loyal and was a big part of the side that gained promotion in 2006. “The Twickenham experience was good but coming back up as champions meant so much to me and the whole club. Coming back from what we had been through was something that made me very proud.”