Ellingham & Ringwood RFC are still on the shoulders of London 3 South-West’s leading two at the half-way point of the season.
The Es picked up their ninth win of the campaign with a 16-8 victory at fifth-placed Sandown & Shanklin.
Ellingham’s single try was scored by hooker Joe Tarrant from a catch-and-drive move at the line out. Fly half Charlie Cockram also kicked three penalties and the conversion.
Fly-half and coach Phil Osman, who was forced to sit the game out following injury in the warm-up, said: “This was a very edgy and tense game – and one that we could easily lost.
“It was very physical, but we stood up and took the game to them to earn an important victory.”
Eastleigh lost a bit of ground at the top of the league after being hit early at Farnham.
Things looked ominous for Eastleigh as the leaders raced to a 10-0 lead with just four minutes on the clock.
But Eastleigh refused to buckle and came desperately close to being rewarded with a couple of bonus points to take back home as the pack went close in the final minutes of the game.
Captain Russell Smith and prop Paul Taylor, who was later named Pipestock man of the match, both scored first half tries as Eastleigh got back to within five points of the home side at one point.
Farnham pulled away again after the break but John Weatherall touched down to keep Eastleigh’s hopes alive. Jon Lynch kicked eight points during the game but Eastleigh eventually lost out 35-23.
Coach Andy Boyes said: “I was really pleased how the boys reacted and they competed until to the final whistle, we never let Farnham break away.
“We were unlucky not to have scored with the last play of the game which would have given us two bonus points.”
Second-placed KCS Old Boys, the only unbeaten side in the league, beat Camberley 38-8 at home.
More rugby: Pages 44/45