Wharfedale 30 Moseley 35

In every sense, this was a big test of Moseley's promotion credentials.

Jaded after last week's monumental 14-man victory over league leaders Waterloo, playing in a freezing field deep in the Yorkshire Dales against fired-up opponents stung by defeat against local rivals Halifax, Ian Smith's men seemed ripe for a disappointing result.

It wouldn't exactly have been an upset either. Wharfedale had lost only once at home before Saturday's encounter.

But, an unconvincing performance aside, it is something of a testament to Moseley's character that they came out of this encounter on top. Not that coach Smith was a happy man.

Having watched the forwards who coped so admirably against Waterloo's monster pack struggle against 'Dale's much lighter offering, he said: "Whether we were feeling the effects of a fairly good result last week against Waterloo, I don't know, but we nearly paid the penalty.

"Some of our forward play was quite poor, which meant the backs got poor ball and they had to rush a lot. That forced us to kick far too often and quite poorly.

"We had stern words at half time and it picked up for probably 25 minutes in the second half.

"But then we lapsed again, and they managed to score four tries against us, which is unacceptable."

That the Birmingham men won at all was down to a mixture of poor place-kicking from 'Dale's Mark Bedworth, the hosts' poor quality in the final third and a devastating spell from the visitors when they swept all before them.

Before that, Moseley had stuttered to a five-point lead in half an hour. Bedworth opened the scoring for the hosts with a try on eight minutes before Ollie Thomas landed a penalty and converted James Rodwell's push-over try.

But the initiative changed hands just before the break when the visitors were reduced to 13 men following yellow cards for Neil Mason's indiscipline and Rodwell's unceremonious treatment of livewire home scrum-half James Doherty.

After Bedworth added three points for Rodwell's misdemeanour, Moseley roared back, adding three points through the boot of Ollie Thomas. Only a try by Simon Horsfall in the seventh minute of injury time levelled things at the break.

Once back to full strength, the visitors' power and pace dominated. A dummy by Daren O'Leary four minutes after the restart was enough to give him enough room to touch down in the left corner. Then a brilliantly-disguised flick by Andy Binns gave the rampaging James Aston an easy try from 15 yards on the hour. Both were converted by Thomas, who also added a penalty to open up a 17-point gap and that seemed to be that.

But the visitors lapsed once more. Although Aston's try on 69 minutes partially cancelled out a converted one by Adam Whaites two minutes previously, the momentum was once again with the hosts.

Prop Philip Peel added another close-range try, converted by Bedworth, whose penalty with three minutes to go made the difference only five points.

But strong defence denied the hosts a sniff of a try during four nervy minutes of injury time. And, as any pundit will tell you, if you maintain your winning streak while annoying your coach, something must be going right.