Battling Gosport & Fareham came through a difficult test against Old Alleynians to keep their titles hopes alive.
The 40-25 victory at Gosport Park did not tell the whole story of the London two south west contest.
Captain Matt Smith admitted the hosts struggled for much of the contest.
‘It wasn’t until the closing stages that we stepped up our game and dominated,’ said captain Matt Smith.
‘Alleynians were determined and played well.
‘They challenged us all over the field.
‘It was a hard-fought affair.When they led 15-10 at half-time, it was starting to look like another bad day at the office for us.
‘We were getting frustrated with ourselves.
‘When we finally stopped trying to be too clever with our offloads and started keeping hold of the ball it made the difference.
‘Our greater fitness also told in the later stages and then we powered past them.’
Chris Thompson, Sean Shepherd, Wes Dugan, Wayne Dugan, Dave Cleary and Ben Roberts all scored tries for Gosport.
Smith has promised Gosport will be fired up from the off when they face a key clash at leaders Guildford on Saturday.
‘The win sets us up nicely for our big clash at Guildford,’ said Smith.
‘As soon as the game ended you could see the players were already starting to think about it.
‘We will definitely be up for it.’
Locks Heath Pumas edged to a 26-19 Hampshire two win against Fawley.
Jim Pearce’s side raced into a 21-5 lead at half-time.
The Oilmen hit back to reduce their deficit to 21-19, before a last-minute try by left-wing Pete Moore sealed a bonus-point win for the visitors.
Pearce said: ‘We dug deep to hold on and grab a bonus point.
‘We believe we still have a chance of catching Fareham Heathens and getting promoted.’
Joel Stocker and Matt Newton scored first-half tries for the Pumas.
Impressive Petersfield beat Fareham Heathens 16-10 at Penns Place to extend their lead to 13 points at the top of the table.