NEW Hampshire Premier leaders Basingstoke RFC continued their reign at the top after a 62-5 victory at Portsmouth II.

The visitors made a few changes to the side with Joe Bissett coming in at 9 after some great performances for the twos and Jack Lucas Smith coming in for the injured Dan Rees, Sam Goddard starting at 8 and Sam Turner came in at tighthead prop.

The changes did not affect Stoke with them making a fast start as they came out firing in the first 10 minutes that saw them score the first points from a Will Buckingham try, which soon followed by a great solo try from Gareth Kelly and a Mick West score after some scrappy play.

Then complicity set in, with Stoke not sticking to the game plan and saw Portsmouth controlling the breakdown and commanding the last 20 minutes of the half and get their own score but trailed at the break 33-5.

Some strong words at half time saw an improved second half performance, but this was probably the most unconvincing performance to date for a team that have been hitting high standards and missed the opportunity to put a big score past Portsmouth II.

Nevertheless, the win saw Stoke maintain their five-point lead at the top and the opportunity to regroup in the week and address the areas they need to work on as they focus on Saturday's home game against Fareham Heathens.

It was also positive to see some of the new starters grabbing their opportunity to impress with Joe Bisset being one of the standout players on the day as was Sam Turner who was aggressive in defence and Goddard again impressed at 8 with another solid performance and is one to watch for the future for Basingstoke.

Stoke now move into November and have the chance to test themselves in the Junior Vase Cup as well as the league. They have been drawn at home on November 10 against Reeds Weybridge, who like Stoke are looking to achieve promotion to the London leagues and are also unbeaten, it should present a good challenge for the developing side.