Birmingham & Solihull attempt to take the final step on a long and sometimes arduous journey on Saturday, requiring victory over Redruth to secure an immediate return to level two.

It is a match that has stuck out in the fixture list for several months, pitting as it does what were the two long-standing favourites for promotion.

But while Bees go into the game knowing a win over the redoubtable Cornishman will take them into next season’s Championship, Redruth can no longer say the same.

Their end-of-season stumble, coupled with a disinterest in accepting the opportunity to face Bristol and Exeter next season even if it had been offered, has seen them slip out of the reckoning leaving Cambridge as the only challengers to Russell Earnshaw’s men.

But Bees can end any other interest with success at Sharmans Cross Road this weekend and complete a remarkable turnaround in playing fortunes.

One of the main reasons for the upswing has been the form of Simon Hunt, the prolific wing who last week scored the hat-trick that took his season’s try tally to 30, one more than Nick Baxter’s 11-year-old National Two record.

Hunt arrived in Solihull last summer as one of 19 new faces brought in to rebuild the squad that had finished second bottom a few months earlier.

And while the reshuffle has worked well – Bees are currently on the crest of a ten league game winning streak – there have been stumbles along the way.

“It took us time,” admits Hunt. “There were so many new people at the start. There were only five or six left at the end of last year and we all came from lots of different places, different representative levels and ages.

“But we all chucked in from starting at Portway in June doing solid fitness, to going to the army training and making mates. It’s been a long journey with many ups and downs.”

One of those came on the first day of the season when they, rather peacock-like, headed off to Hell Fire Corner claiming they aimed to go through the whole season without losing.

That ambition lasted all of 80 minutes as ‘Ruth mugged their over-confident visitors 35-28. Further setbacks came at Wharfedale and at home to Tynedale but since then, Bees have not lost a National Two game.

“If you look at the video of us the start and then six months later and again a few months after that, we are a completely different side,” Hunt says.

“Looking at some of the ways we were defending and attacking, we are miles ahead of where we were.

“It’s coming to an end which is a shame really because while half of you wants it over and done with, the other half wants to carry on forever because it’s going so well and we’re all enjoying ourselves.”

They’ll enjoy themselves even more if things unfold as they should on Saturday. Cambridge are likely to maintain their pursuit by winning at Stourbridge and if Bees don’t record the victory they need, everything might yet come to a final day showdown.

Hunt, who is aware of the pitfalls, wants it all done and dusted by then. “We have two games against the second and third place in the table,” he said.

“We need three points but Redruth have beaten us once and Cambridge, who could still get promoted, pushed us hard down at their place.

“We could end it all with 80 minutes. We don’t really want to have anything on the line going into that Cambridge game because it would make it bigger than it should be.

“We want to end it on Saturday with a solid performance and we can go into the Cambridge looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd with the pressure off.” And only then will Earnshaw allow anyone to talk about buying Champagne.