Burgess Hill rose to the challenge on Saturday as they beat Eastbourne in a top-table clash at Poveys Way.
The leaders arrived unbeaten but the All Blacks had suffered only one defeat and showed their title credentials with a 34-10 victory.
Hill’s strong squad opened at a frenetic pace, with captain and lose head prop Jon Phillpot leading from the front as the back row of Ian Paris, Christian Jones and Joe Schofield provided quick ball at the ruck.
The opening score came when scrum half Ben Herbe spun the ball wide for full back Will Pearson to outpace the cover and score in the corner before narrowly missing the conversion.
Hill followed up moments later with another storming break as this time second row Tim Daniel, Herbe and fly half Fleming all played a part in putting outside centre Rhod Bendle away to score near the left post. Pearson added the extras for 12-0.
Hill continued to dominate most facets of play and it was only a matter of time before another score came. Hooker Ben Dewey and flanker Adam Rezazadeh, off the bench, were now terrorising the visiting defence.
When the ball was once more spun wide, inside centre Dan Harris cut through the defence and then sent Pearson through to outpace the defence and score in the corner.
Five minutes later Pearson completed his hat-trick after good work by wingers Owain Larard and Ant Baldwin.
With two minutes of the half left, Hill continued centre Simon Eyre’s quick feet enabled him to round the Eastbourne No 10 to score under the posts before the conversion made it 31-0.
Complacency, yellow cards and Eastbourne picking up their game could all have been factors in a second-half which the visitors won 10-3.
Certainly Hill were pedestrian compared to the first half and had two players yellow carded for offside. But despite playing 15 minutes with 14 and five minutes with only 13, they conceded just two tries.
Their sole response was a Pearson penalty in a match where MoM was scrum half Ben Herbe.
This week the Sussex All Blacks host Farnham in the second round of the National Junior Vase (2pm).
Hill’s 2nd team did not have a game on Saturday after Eastbourne 3rds pulled out late on.