Portsmouth & Southsea came through their biggest test of the season with flying colours, beating St Cross Symmondians by 47 runs.
The division one leaders were missing four of their top-order batsmen for the first time this season.
And captain Dave Tiller feared the worst.
However, his side displayed great strength.
Mike Patey (28) stepped up to open the batting for the first time this season and helped Ash Wallace (79) get the hosts off to a solid start.
‘I knew Mike could come in and do a job for us,’ said Tiller.
‘He and Ash saw off the new ball and the opening bowlers.
‘Ash went on and batted for 40 overs on a wet, slow wicket which is totally different to what he is used to in South Africa.’
A late ‘blitz’ from Alex Fletcher, who smashed 38 runs off 20 balls, saw Portsmouth & Southsea finish on 258 for five.
‘With our bowling attack I was confident that would be enough,’ said Tiller.
St Cross made a steady start before Tiller got rid of their danger man lbw early on.
It was the pace of left-armer Jono Willey (three for 23) who eventually disrupted the visitors, leaving them on 100 for seven.
‘We dropped off the pace a little then until Fletcher came back on and took three wickets,’ said Tiller.
‘With five games to go I will be disappointed if we don’t get promoted.
‘We have a good set up here and all the youngsters in the team are good enough to play Southern Electric cricket.’
Portchester returned to action after a two-week break with a fine 82-run triumph over Andover II.
Rich Locke (41) and Steve O’Neill laid the foundations with a first-wicket partnership of 80.
Overseas player Jamie Ryan also weighed in with some important runs (43).
Portchester ended on 211 for nine which proved far too tough for the visitors to chase.
Waterlooville fell to a surprise one-wicket defeat against strugglers Ellingham at Rowlands Avenue.
Sam Thompson (47) got Hayling Island back on track as they stormed to a seven-wicket win at Mudeford in division two.