Gosport & Fareham produced a gutsy display to break their London one south duck by beating Haywards Heath 29-23 at Gosport Park.
Coach Mark Wells praised the determination of his side to register an all-important first win.
‘This team possesses bucket-loads of grit and they showed it,’ said Wells.
‘It was important that we stopped the rot and avoided a fourth straight defeat.
‘This first win is so important for morale and we must now look to build on it.
‘We could have had another 15 points and the final scoreline flattered Haywards Heath.’
Winger Gareth Jones gave the home side a perfect start with a try in the corner inside three minutes.
Alex Duncombe’s conversion bounced back off the crossbar – but he added a ninth-minute penalty.
Haywards Heath grabbed a couple of penalties of their own before the home side notched a converted try midway through the half through scrum-half Cameron Brew.
Gosport & Fareham maintained the pressure and were held up over the line on the stroke of half-time.
Wells’ side was rocked at the start of the second half as Haywards Heath scored a converted try, but Veitaia Veiteve restored the home side’s nine-point lead with another try converted by Duncombe.
Still the home side couldn’t shake off the Sussex visitors, who reduced the arrears to 22-20 with 15 minutes left.
With the game in the balance the home side needed a bit of magic – and winger Jones was to provide it, two minutes from time, with the try of the game.
Jones burst past two opponents from halfway and successfully chased his kick-ahead to grab the vital try, his second of the game.
Duncombe converted and though Gosport conceded a last-minute penalty it was too late to prevent victory.
‘There was a lot of tension out there and it was a relief to get the win,’ said Wells.
‘We are in a big transitional period and will get better and better.
‘Youngsters like 19-year-old prop forward Daniel O’Donahue, who came in and did a superb job, are coming through.
‘It’s our responsibility to make sure we look after them in the physical nature of rugby at this level.
‘There were a number of superb performances out there from the likes of second-rows Mark Pollard and Matt Smith, No8 Chris Thompson young scrum-half Cameron Brew and winger Gareth Jones.
‘The win puts us all in a much better place.’