Pressure off for Vikings

Portsmouth 29, North Walsham 17North Walsham RFCfirst team slipped to their 14th defeat in 20 league outings - but it is unlikely to prove too costly.

Portsmouth 29, North Walsham 17

North Walsham RFCfirst team slipped to their 14th defeat in 20 league outings - but it is unlikely to prove too costly.

The struggling Vikings had been led to believe that the bottom sides in each of London One, South West One, Midlands One and North One would play off at the end of the campaign, with the two losers being relegated.

But it has now been revealed that that London One and their regional counterparts will be increased to 14 sides and that only the two worst performing outfits from the four divisions will go down. As it stands at present it would appear that no side will be relegated from London One - where Walsham currently lie third from bottom.

Walsham looked much more like their old selves at the weekend, matching hosts Portsmouth in every department bar one, with indiscipline costing them dearly. The concession of six penalties in kicking distance, all for technical offences, five of which were converted by scrum-half Rupert Neville, defined the final scoreline.

Walsham started well but after 15 minutes they were nine points adrift. Walsham got back into the game when Couzens swapped passes with Adie Ball and drew the defence before slipping a pass to Peter Clifford for a simple run in and conversion.

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At the other end Portsmouth scored and another penalty left Walsham trailing by 12 at the break.

Walsham got a penalty converted by Clifford but almost immediately a tackle was missed in midfield, leading to another penalty conceded and the gap returned to 12.

A break down the right by Portsmouth had Walsham tracking back but a well-placed kick to the midfield was well taken by full-back Jon Wood for a converted score.

A 50/50 ball was gathered by Couzens who burst through before Rhodes made his touchdown, Clifford converting.

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