It's been a helluva journey for all us Bees fans over the last few months, and a happy end to what could have been a devastating season.
I was volunteering out in India when I heard about what was happening at Bees, and when Dad informed me that someone had stepped in to help the club out, it didn't take me long to work out who would be quite stupid/passionate (there is a fine line) enough to do such a thing.
Well Friday day I was hoping to finish work early, but didn't end up leaving Manchester til past three, and my thoughts as I was traveling down were not those of a positive man, I must concede. The pain of such a well-fought defeat against Coventry where the fate of the club was taken out of our hands had really knocked the stuffing out of me. On the way home from that match I was stupid enough to say ... "well - if that's how crap it's going to feel when we're on our way down, just imagine how Rusty's going to use this feeling to inspire Bees to victory against Moseley" - I just didn't have a clue how Rotherham would fare against Coventry.
I managed a lie-in on Saturday morning, and came down to quite an optimistic atmosphere. Dad was playing the organ at a wedding, so as soon as he got back we were geared up and headed to the ground. Once inside, I went over to meet with some friends, and left Dad to his own nerves, rather than sharing my own.
The next 80 minutes of Rugby were magical. It probably wasn't the best display by either team, with many more mistakes and missed tackles than the 25-24 win by Moseley in the regular season. There was an absolutely fantastic turn out by both sets of supporters, and an atmosphere worthy of the occasion. The two best moments for me was Hunty's run from just outside our 22, when he managed to cut straight through the Moseley back line and score right under the posts, then Ant Elliott's sterling touchdown 12 minutes from time to regain the lead for the Bees, after Moseley had taken it off us for the first time in the match, with only 18 minutes to play.
I was keeping tabs on the updates through my phone, courtesy of the fantastic fans @ Rolling Maul - without this site the day would have been a lot more stressful. From about 20 minutes into the game Rotherham were appearing to dominate Coventry - yet the thought of counting my chickens was dispelled by the disaster of doing so at half time two weeks previously.
When the final whistle went, and the bees players jumped in the air for joy - it was a special moment. The fans around me that had followed Bees for much longer deserved the result - the Moseley fans were a credit to the game of Rugby. Sure, they'd wanted to send us down - any rivals would - but they were gracious in defeat, and mindful that they will get another chance to try next season.
Back at the Clubhouse we had the end of season awards. I liked Rusty's comparison to the Redskins in 1991 - I remember having a little claret hat with the golden R - brought back from Dad on one of his trips to the states. Rusty's done a fantastic job - nobody can possibly deny the commitment of a man who, against Coventry, dislocated his should for then umpteenth time this season, lay behind the dugout whilst two men manhandled him in an attempt to put it back in, to then have to head to hospital once they'd failed - to then be on the pitch at the start of the next game - as though it was nothing more serious than a bit of a cramp.
One of the nicest parts of the weekend was just after I set out to head back home to Manchester. I was driving down the M42, and honked when I drove past a car with a bees sticker in the window. "Proud to be following the Bees."
It's great that the club can look forward now, that we can build on the achievements of this season. However, the key part of the club is the fans. The ones we've got, and the ones that we need to get. To turn out next season, wherever we may be, in front of an ever expanding crowd is the best way to help the team on the pitch. I wouldn't suggest that copying my parents in breeding 6 bees fans in necessarily the best (or most convenient) way forwards, so get your friends involved - lets get the stickers on the bumpers and raise the profile of Bees Rugby.