Spalding RFC captain Harry Sharman accepts that the club’s stellar season will mean nothing if they lose on Saturday.
Town, who finished second in Midlands Two East (North) welcome Midlands Two East (South) runners-up Newbold on Avon to the Memorial Field for a winner-takes-all promotion play-off (3pm).
The winners will play Midlands One East rugby next season – which was Spalding’s goal at the beginning of the campaign.
Defeats against champions Belgrave and third-placed Ashbourne scuppered Town’s title dream, with a home draw against fourth-placed Oakham also pretty costly.
But Sharman, who scored a hat-trick on the final day of the season in a whopping 70-13 win over Bakewell, told The Voice that his side are well up for their biggest game in years.
He said: “We’re really looking forward to it. It’s a one-off game and everything is on the line – but you want to be involved in these kind of games.
“It’s a tough one, as we don’t really know an awful lot about them. If we’re honest, it’s a step into the unknown.
“But we’ve got everyone available and we are a team full of confidence after a strong finish to the season.
“I think the most disappointing thing about the season was losing at home to Ashbourne.
“If we had won that one, we’d probably be champions and not in this situation.
“But we can’t complain too much, we’ve had a strong season overall.
“It does all come down to one game I guess. The aim at the start was to get promoted, so I suppose this match will define our season.”
Town are no strangers to the promotion play-off format, having lost to Leighton Buzzard (2008) and Nuneaton Old Edwardians (2009) in the not too distant past.
But they won their most recent play-off 25-10 against Market Harborough back in 2010 – and Sharman feels that earning promotion back to the promised land of Midlands One East is a must for the club and its fans.
“This club needs to be playing in Midlands One East. We want to test ourselves every week. That level will help the younger players develop and keep the more experience ones motivated.
“It’s all about challenging yourself. It’s nice winning every week, but sometimes that makes you sloppy.
“I think the club deserves to play one level higher and hopefully that’s where we’ll be after Saturday.
“We’re hoping that the fans turn out to get behind us, just like they always do. Saturday will be a big occasion for the club and we don’t want to let anyone down.”
Standing in the way of Spalding are Warwickshire-based Newbold on Avon, who claimed 90 points from their 22 games.
They finished 12 points behind champions Leighton Buzzard, losing four times.
Perhaps worryingly for Town, they stepped up to the plate in big games towards the end of the campaign, beating Leighton Buzzard their only loss in the process.
Follow @Andrew_Clucas on Twitter for updates from the crunch Memorial Field clash on Saturday.