PORTSMOUTH scored nine tries as they romped to a 51-3 London three south west win against Petersfield at Penns Place.
Director of rugby Jim Pearce is looking up from third spot at second position and hoping Portsmouth can close the gap even though parts of the display did not completely impress him.
He said: ‘Petersfield had front row problems which meant we had to go to uncontested scrums in the second half.
‘Because of that we lost a bit of our shape and rhythm.
‘We are eight points off second place and it keeps us in the fight.’
The match was preceded by a one-minute silence for Petersfield stalwart Cliff Fairley who sadly died recently.
By half-time the visitors had established a 19-3 lead with tries by Tom Whitehouse (who crossed twice) and Rhys Bowen.
In the second half Luke Simmons and Mark Ovens both added a brace of tries with Stuart Davies and Finn Parry also touching down.
United Services Portsmouth beat Bognor 21-20 in a thrilling Hampshire one contest.
Services captain Rich Neil, who went over for the decisive try, admitted it was a close encounter.
‘It was very physical with some big hits going in,’ he said.
‘I am not sure how some of our players are going to walk this week.
‘Both teams played positive attacking rugby in what was an excellent game.
‘The win puts us in the driving seat, nine points clear at the top.’
The home side started well scoring a converted try with Services hitting back with a couple of Billy Rolfe penalties.
Services established a 14-7 half-time lead with a converted try scored by Tom Jennings.
In the second half Bognor raised their game to lead 20-14 but with 20 minutes left Neil went over for his crucial score.
Southsea Nomads lost 38-24 against Southampton at Furze Lane in Hampshire Two.
Nomads captain Ben Horrod felt his team were unfortunate and they deserved credit.
He said: ‘We started well but were a little rushed at times.
‘If we hadn’t had an unlucky patch in the second half I think we could have come away with a win.’
Tries were scored by Jack Barnard, Alistair Taylor and Aaron Beesley.
Jonathon Branston added a penalty and three conversions.