The further into the West Midlands rugby pyramid one searches, the more difficult it becomes to use the word thriving.
However when that search alights upon Finstall Park and the homely clubhouse of Bromsgrove, it is difficult to think of any other, except perhaps successful.
The two adjectives do not always sit easily together, many clubs have an upwardly mobile, bolt-on first team that has little to do with the rest of the organisation.
And many more boast burgeoning youth sections without translating them into a healthy league position, the trick is combining the two. Bromsgrove appear to have done just that.
To describe the club as merely ‘Ross Baxter’s men’ is to say nothing of their 19 other teams, 350 juniors and the fact they became the first in the North Midlands to achieve the RFU Whole Club Seal of Approval.
Yet it is difficult to ignore the progress Baxter and former Worcester full back Duncan Roke have made since taking control of the flagship team four years ago.
Promotion to level five in 2009, was almost followed by a second elevation – they ended up in a club-record fifth – and complemented by a North Midlands Cup victory.
And while Baxter concedes the Boars ran out of steam last term, they are showing no signs of doing so this.
A thumping 56-8 victory over Scunthorpe last Saturday reasserted their hold on third place in National Three (Midlands), from where they intend to launch themselves towards a more sustained promotion challenge.
“December and January will go a long way to determining who is going to be in the top places,” Baxter said. “That’s tradionally when some teams take their foot off the gas but we’ve talked about it as the time we kick on. In the last two seasons it has been what we have done in those two months that has put us in the mix, so we’ll be trying the same thing again this year.”
They are also sticking with an expansive style of play that has made them the leading points scorers in their division and propelled Adrian Hales and Warren Oliver to the top of the try charts,
“Twelve of the 15 lads who started on Saturday had come through our junior section and out of our squad of 35, 25 are home grown players. There are no rock stars here,” Baxter added.