RFU Championship Relegation play-offs: Birmingham & Solihull 14 Moseley 23
The Season That Never Quite Was reached its logical conclusion for Birmingham & Solihull as they slipped, comatosed out of the Championship and into the hinterland that is the community game.
And such is the malaise that has afflicted a team, which in the last eight months has specialised in the Near Miss, that on the day they needed any sort of Hit, they all but forgot to let go of the arrow.
Yes, they led 7-0 after nine minutes but that was more to do with Moseley’s attacking deficiencies rather than anything constructive Bees put together themselves. And so it was throughout.
Once Simon Hunt had picked the visitors’ pocket and taken his interception 60m to the Moseley line, one expected the hosts’ nerves to settle.
Yet for all their frenzied commitment there was an anxiety that underpinned everything they did and while they were arguably the better side between the 22s, in the zone where games are won and lost - they were hopeless.
Fumbles, penalties and botched set-pieces abounded, which meant whenever they had edgy Moseley under pressure, the tension was defused without the visitors having to do anything heroic.
It’s been the same all season and is not only the reason why their level two status was under threat in the first place but also the reason why they lost it in the final analysis.
It would be wrong to blame individuals for the collective failing but the absence of a reliable centre partnership that has cost them so much this season, cost them once again as any semblance of rhythm was coughed up without dispute.
And if he can bear to watch this match back director of rugby Russell Earnshaw will also probably note an absence of leadership from his half-backs.
But given their demotion such considerations are mere deck chairs on the submerged Titanic.
Which meant by the time Semisi Taulava barged over for his seventh try of the season, the game was already up. The Tongan’s 68th minute score cut the deficit to nine points but it counted for little. This was a day when Bees made those arrears look like 900 points.
Not that Moseley were much better. If they bother to watch this match again they will reflect they were almost equally as profligate, though the individual skill with which Ryan De La Harpe made the game safe after an hour was a notable exception.
And off the pitch? There have been times when these neighbours have met in the recent past that tribalism has overstepped the mark, where decency has been sacrificed on the altar of parochialism.
This, though, an occasion replete with more than enough opportunities to indulge in schadenfreude, was different. There was no triumphalism from the Moseley supporters.
The Moseley players were rightfully restrained in their celebrations and one of the moments of the season came at the final whistle when Russell Earnshaw’s first action was to walk to the opposition dug out and congratulate the victors.
Those sentiments even included an embrace with opposite number Ian Smith, one which 12 months ago would have been inconceivable. Such grace reflected well on a man who has ruffled the odd feather or two in his time in Solihull.
And Moseley? A bullet dodged is the kindest thing that can be said. It would be wrong to infer from yesterday’s result - or indeed any of the 32 that have preceded it - that all is well at Billesley Common.
There are several issues that need reconciling, but none more pressing than how to increase the money available to their coaches.
Half a million pounds might sound a lot and few of us would have any objection to finding that sum in our bank accounts tomorrow morning.
However, it is not enough to fund the 30 professional players, two coaches and sundry support staff required to stand still at this level.
If Moseley don’t do that they will be back in the same situation next season, and the one after that, until one year they finish on the wrong side of the small margins.
And then they might be grateful they acted with such equanimity at Damson Park this afternoon.
BEES: Foden (Winter 58); Hunt, Lawson, Connolly, Culpin; Woodrow, Petty (Williams 60); Long (Dugard 40), McMillan (Denbee 56), Tau (Halavatau 40), Taulava, Sanderson (Noonan 70), Earnshaw (Clayton 58), Preece, Hopley
MOSELEY: Carter; Bishay (Bressington 58), Armitage, Reay, Thomas; Davies (Borgen 70), De La Harpe (Taylor 74); Williams N, Caves, Sigley (Voisey 47), Lyons, Spivey (Stott 71), Maltman, Pons (Maidment 63) Pennycook. Replacement: Warner
Referee: Chris White (RFU)