Tottonians’ first XV may not have put any silverware on the shelf this season but victory over Hampshire rivals Gosport & Fareham went some way to making up for it.
And, even though Totts slipped down a place in the table following their dogged 22-15 home victory, a third place finish is still a possibility.
Top quality rugby expected of teams at the head of London 2 South-West was not in abundance on a miserable afternoon at Water Lane but Tottonians’ determined second-half defending proved just as important for their success.
Totts were 9-0 up after 20 minutes after Gosport gave Robbie Searle the opportunity to kick three penalties.
Gos hit back with one of their own but the home side was then awarded a penalty try, which Searle converted, after a series of infringements as Totts’ pack threatened the line.
A quality try from Gosport’s No 8 following a penalty kick to touch got them back into the game before Totts’ skipper Mike Searle was taken off with a broken leg.
Totts spent most of the second half on the back foot and refused to let Gosport over until five minutes from time when prop Tom Blackburn crashed over.
Robbie Searle hit back with a penalty before being sin binned but his teammates refused to buckle and held up Gosport’s final effort as they crossed the line with the final play of the game.
Totts’ coach Gavin Williams said: “I am delighted to get a win over a team that have been second all season.
“I thought our defensive work in the second half was excellent and showed the quality of the lads in this team.
“It was a tense game and both teams wanted to win. It would have been easy to think that it is the end of the season and it doesn’t really matter but it clearly did to the lads.”
Gos head coach Scott Ashley said: “We need to take stock from this and move things forward. I don’t want to be going into a play-off on the back of two losses – that’s not the way to do business.”
Totts still hope to oust London Cornish from third place and travel to relegation-threatened Portsmouth RFC looking for a bonus point win on Saturday. Cornish host table toppers Guildford before playing their game in hand at home to Weybridge Vandals a week later.
One of the sides that will be wishing Totts well at Portsmouth is Trojans who are in real danger of relegation twice on the bounce.
On Saturday they became the latest victims of a quality Guildford side.
The Surrey side were over the line within two minutes and 19-5 up at the break – forward Alex Williams touching down for Trojans.
Again just a couple of minutes had passed from the restart when the home side crossed for a try.
Trojans hit back when Mark Greenhalgh crashed over but the leaders had plenty in the tank and went on to win 57-10.