It may be thousands of years since cavemen roamed the earth, but one of their number was front and centre at the weekend.
Because Birmingham Moseley’s very own Caveman, as hooker Adam Caves is widely known, took his club-record appearance tally to the 350 mark.
And fittingly enough, 18 years after marking his first senior start in a pre-season match against Caerphilly with a try, the 36-year-old also crossed the whitewash at Cambridge prior to receiving a commemorative bottle of champagne from the Moseley Supporters’ Association and being able to reflect on his achievement.
“In a way it was another day at the office, as we had to go to Cambridge, keep our good away run going and get the job done, so it was nice to mark my 350th with a win,” said Caves.
“I tried to take it as another game but we are planning a bit of a celebration after the Caldy game at Billesley a week on Saturday when all my family will be there and hopefully lots of the supporters.
“I’ve also been awarded a testimonial year for 2018, which will be launched that day, in recognition of 15 unbroken years here after my spell with Gloucester.”
Caves joined Moseley from is father’s club Bournville as a 12-year-old and worked his way to the first team under John White. His league debut came in the Championship against Exeter, when he arrived from the bench to replace current rugby director Richard Protherough.
He then took the chance to play in a front row that included soon-to-be World Cup winners Trevor Woodman and Phil Vickery at Kingsholm before the current record-breaking run at Moseley began in 2002.
“I had a year-and-a-bit at Gloucester after Moseley went into administration,” he says, “which was the year Wasps beat them in the first play-off final after they’d topped the table all season. I came back in 2002 and I’ve been here ever since!”
Surviving the front-row jungle for long enough to appear 350 times is a remarkable feat of longevity and Moseley’s popular No.2 has survived a number of colleagues who he remembers with fondness.
“I’ve played with plenty of props,” he recalls, “but I have to mention Craig Voisey, Terry Sigley and Nathan Williams, who are all very good friends of mine and we’ve been through a lot together.
“Mark Regan was probably the toughest hooker I played against and although he wasn’t in the front row, facing Zinzan Brooke at Coventry was also memorable.”
Caves was man-of-the-match in Moseley’s biggest recent achievement, which came in 2009 when they lifted the RFU National Cup with an against-the-odds Twickenham win over Neil Back’s Leeds.
“It’s a bit of a blur but I remember there being loads of spectators and it being a fantastic day,” said Caves. “No-one gave us a sniff against Leeds, who were walking the league, but we’d done our homework on what was probably one of my best days in a Moseley shirt.
“The build-up to that Twickenham final was really special as we beat London Welsh with the last kick of the game, then Exeter in the semi-final as a double-header after a league match was cancelled.
“They were a great team and no-one gave us a chance then either, but we beat them quite well at home – all three of those games were fantastic to be part of.”
Moseley are seeking a return to English rugby’s second tier and Caves remembers their previous promotion season in 2005/6 with fondness.
“It was a brilliant year under Ian Smith and Don Caskie,” he said, “although, unfortunately, we lost our last game at Manchester to spoil our fantastic record.
“But it didn’t take the edge off it and I remember National One being every bit as difficult to get out of then as it is now.”
Caves modestly says he’d like to continue for as long as he is able to make a contribution, although he recognises that may not, for much longer, be at the level Mose occupy.
When he does call it a day, there is little doubt his legacy will survive him. The Caveman will always be synonymous with old-fashioned front-row values. More power to his elbow.
Source : BirminghamMail