THE action-packed ride in National League 3 South West is over for Salisbury RFC.

Green and Whites’ relegation from the fifth tier of English rugby was confirmed on Saturday following a 24-20 home defeat to newly-crowned champions Old Redcliffians.

But Neil Loader’s troops went down fighting in front of a bumper crowd at Castle Road.

After going behind to the division’s best side, Salisbury’s Rob Larcombe picked the line to make it three tries in as many weeks.

Then came the try of the game when Josh Green broke from a scrimmage and fed Dave Tonge, the ball went wide and found Ollie Bowden who smartly stepped two defenders and put veteran winger Tom Pottage in for a vintage try. Matt Loader added the conversion and the hosts were ahead.

Old Reds responded with a clinical try from Oli Rayner, which was converted, but Loader had the last say of the half knocking over a penalty for a one-point 15-14 lead at the break.

The visitors opened the second period with a try from Ezra Caven but Salisbury rallied again when prop Gary Williamson was driven over for a score.

As the clock ticked down, it looked as if Salisbury were to pull off a seismic one-point victory but lost possession and the visitors made the most of it to score in injury time through Craig Owen.

Lydney’s win at Launceston condemns the Green and Whites to demotion. Salisbury have two away games left with Hornets on Saturday and Bournemouth on April 22 before preparing for life in South West 1 East next season.