Gosport & Fareham grabbed another losing bonus point after pushing London one south leaders Wimbledon all the way in a 20-13 defeat at Gosport Park.
Head coach Neil McRoberts was singing his team’s praises after another top performance.
‘Putting the result to one side, it was another fantastic performance in a brilliant game of rugby between two good teams,’ he said.
‘If you were a neutral turning up you wouldn’t have been able to tell who was top of the league and who was just below mid-table.
‘That’s testament to how well the guys are playing and yet again we looked like a top four team.
‘We didn’t get the win which we were capable of but once again we’ve pushed the top team – who have infinitely more resources than we do – right to the wire.
‘Our eight were better than theirs and can really kick on from here and be a force in this league.’
Wimbledon led 10-0 after 16 minutes with a converted try and a penalty but Tom Lewis kept Gosport in touch with two penalties.
The visitors added a second penalty in the 33rd minute for a 13-6 lead at the break.
Gosport levelled the scores 10 minutes after the interval when a Wes Dugan try was converted by Lewis.
An intense battle followed but it was Wimbledon who edged it with another try in the 61st minute.
The defeat saw Gosport remain ninth in the table.
Hampshire two leaders Locks Heath Pumas overcame Aldershot & Fleet 45-0.
Damien Sambrook grabbed a brace of tries with Matt Newton, Stuart Forbes, Nick Di Stefano and Harry Cripps claiming touchdowns.
‘It took us 20 minutes to get up and running but once we did we were okay,’ said head coach Jim Pearce.
‘We are top and unbeaten but still have to play the teams immediately below us.
‘There is still work to be done.’
At the other end of the table, Southsea Nomads lost 53-3 at Southampton.
In Hampshire one, Fareham Heathens beat Alton 47-5 and Petersfield lost 45-10 at Millbrook.