United Services need just one more point to lift the Hampshire one title after a hard-fought 22-19 win at Petersfield.
Director of rugby Matt Davis praised the battling qualities of his side as they weathered a terrific second- half storm from their hosts.
‘We scored all our points in the first half and then spent the next 40 minutes defending,’ he said.
‘Petersfield chucked everything at us but we dug in and our defence was magnificent.
‘It was a very tough game on a very wet and heavy pitch.
‘I was mightily impressed by the effort and commitment put in by the team.
‘We are nearly there and just need one more point to take us out of Bognor’s reach.’
Petersfield scored first but Services hit back with four quick-fire tries before half-time, including scores from Martin Hoskins, Phil Gilliland and Luke Peters.
Meanwhile, Fareham Heathens slipped to a 27-19 defeat against Millbrook at Cams Alders.
Portsmouth’s relegation fears increased with a 36-5 London two south west defeat at Warlingham.
With Tadley and Farnham both picking up bonus points, Portsmouth’s lead on the bottom two has been cut to just one point.
‘It is getting very tight at the bottom,’ said Portsmouth director of rugby Nigel Morgan.
Portsmouth trailed 12-0 at the break and could only manage an Adam Long try in the second half.
Outside-half Ben Chambers grabbed a hat-trick as Locks Heath Pumas romped to a 41-3 home win over Southampton.
Unbeaten Pumas have a seven-point lead at the top and are favourites to win the division two title.
‘We still have to play our two closest rivals,’ said head coach Jim Pearce.
‘If we can go through the whole season unbeaten it will be a massive achievement.’
Apart from Chambers, winger Cary Aston grabbed a brace and Steve Collins, Mark Tuckey and Damian Sambrook also claimed tries in the triumph.
Southsea Nomads went down 17-9 to Fawley.