For the second year running Moseley have successfully negotiated sport’s only true Group of Death, yet the extent of that achievement will probably not be known until this time next season.
After all it is difficult to remember a time when Ian Smith’s name was not above the door at Moseley, as almost an entire generation of players have passed through during his seven year reign.
That tenure is now at an end, at least it will be by the time Mose next play a competitive fixture, and while opinion is divided on how well Smith’s team have performed this term, perhaps the best indicator will be when someone else tries to do better,
If the next man, or woman, in charge guides Mose into the top eight, then the 2010-11 campaign will go down as a wasted year. However if he, or she, falls short of this season’s 11th place, then history will probably be considerably kinder to the Scot.
It also depends on where you set your bar. If beating Birmingham & Solihull three times and escaping demotion is deemed success then Moseley have once more done their job – and done it well.
However, if you believed the coaches and players when they said at the start of the campaign they were aiming to make the promotion play-offs, then to be honest, they missed by a mile.
If, for some reason, performances rather than results are your yardstick then the calamitous October when Nottingham, London Welsh and Plymouth were offered victories without murmur, sit uneasily against the pride and intensity of the play-off wins over Esher and the New Year romp over Bees.
All of which means the Class of 2011 are an inconsistent bunch, capable of acts of both supreme defiance and negligent disinterest. That does not mean they deserved to be relegated.
Bees lost their verve and their nerve when it mattered most only to discover on April 10 that Moseley had broken into Damson Park and nicked it,
No-one more so than Chevvy Pennycook who, for the way he started and finished the campaign, was the club’s standout player. It was almost as if the Bristolian personified his side’s collective will when he barrelled through David Slemen to score the last minute try and seal critical success at Esher.
An honourable mention must also go to Bevon Armitage who was instrumental in shoring up the leaky backline and who personally saw to it that Moseley Mauler Simon Hunt was neutralised in the final derby match.
But perhaps the story of the season was embodied by little Ryan De La Harpe, the scrum half who learned on the job and who – after initial struggles – finally came good. Like player like team.