N their very last game of the season, Abergavenny dug in deep and battled tenaciously to keep the door to survival in Division Two East slightly ajar with a tense 26-18 defeat over Rhydyfelin.

However, in a ironic turn of events the fate of the claret and ambers was still to be decided by the outcome of fellow relegation candidates Rhydyfelin's three remaining games in hand.

Games in which the results failed to fall in Aber's favour and as a consequence they have once again been relegated to Division Three East by the narrowest of margins.

Finishing third from the bottom of the table on level points with Rhydyfelin and Ynysybwl, Abergavenny were simply undone by the fact that they had won one less game this season than the other two clubs, and as a result they sink into the mire alongside Treherbert and Fleur De Lys.

A resigned head coach Gary Lawrence told the Chronicle, "Myself and forwards coach Gareth Taylor went to watch two of Rhydyfelin's remaining games and it was like Chinese water torture. Especially the Tredegar fixture.

"Tredegar are the champions of Division Two East and you'd have expected them to have comfortably put Rhydyfelin out of the picture, but they only won by three points, and as such Rhydyfelin picked up the bonus point and were well on their way to winning the basement battle."

After the surprise result of losing to top dogs Tredegar by such a small margin, Rhydyfelin went on to beat Llantrisant 17-10 and picked up another bonus point in their 23-26 defeat to Brynmawr, as the final nail was hammered into Aber's coffin.

"I think our first four months without a regular scrum-half was our downfall in retrospect," explained Lawrence. "During that period we were losing games by a single score, whereas an experienced number nine would have maybe been able to help us close that gap and turn defeats into victories.

"Regardless, relegation is now a reality and next season we've got to bounce back yet again," added the determined coach.

Aber's 2008/09 season in Division Two East has been their second bite of the cherry in the space of three years. Yet twice now the experience has left a bitter aftertaste in the mouths of the claret and ambers who have once again been unceremoniously booted out of a higher division due to a legacy of mixed performances, with the occasional glimmer of inspired brilliance.

A reflective Lawrence mused, "It's been a difficult season, but a challenging one. And from the point of view of the coaches, an enjoyable and rewarding one as well.

"In the final analysis we only lost out by a cat's whisker, and I believe the players have learned some tough and invaluable lessons at this level of rugby that will stand them in good stead for the future.

"I'm sure if we can keep those same players on board for next season and fine-tune the structure of the club, then we'll make a return to Division Two East in next to no time at all."

On a final note Lawrence would like to thank on behalf of the club, all the loyal supporters who have followed Abergavenny's roller-coaster campaign and been on hand to lend their cheer and support when needed most. As the coach commented, "Without the supporters, the club wouldn't amount to much of anything."