MARLOW RFC shrugged off their cloak of under-achievement on Saturday to record a result that puts their entire season into perspective.
They were at home to Oxford Harlequins, a side that had won 21 of their 23 games and scored nearly 1,000 points in the process.
By contrast, Marlow were second from bottom in South West 1 East, 11 points adrift of the side just above them and their last match was a 47-5 drubbing against fellow strugglers Newbury Blues.
As bankers go, this was up there with the best of them.
But sport is nothing if not surprising and Marlow’s 19-15 victory over the champions-elect was one of those results that appeared at first like a misprint.
Head coach Richard Kinsey said: “They played brilliantly. In the last three weeks they showed ability and showed that they’ve got rugby inside them.
“But Saturday was the first time they all managed to play well at the same time and they were on a high after the match. After a few weeks of ordinary rugby it was a huge relief.”
Marlow had been dismantled 62-3 in the away fixture in December but Saturday’s turnaround represented not just their best result since Kinsey came in, but their best result of the season.
He said: “It’s about the guys starting to become a team and you don’t necessarily get that overnight.
“I think after Newbury there was a lot of soul searching and a lot of honesty.
“They had a look at it and decided that performance wasn’t acceptable and against Oxford they were an entirely different team.
“I said to them at half time that I didn’t know where this side had been last week.
“The thing that made the difference was they played as a team and played for each other.
“Oxford Harlequins really tried to pull it back in the last five minutes, they were really trying, but we kept tracking back and making the tackles.”
To cap a fine Saturday for the club, Buckingham and Cheltenham were both beaten at home, meaning the gap between Marlow and safety is down to eight points.
But with two games left, time could well run out.
Kinsey said: “There is no point looking at the last three games and saying, what if?
“We haven’t played well enough all season and we haven’t won enough games.
“Mathematically it’s still possible, but it’s out of our control. If we play like that again in our last two games will we win them? Yes.
“But it’s down to other teams.”
Marlow go to Reading on Saturday before hosting Devizes on the final day.