ABERGAVENNY slipped to a five-try 40-15 derby defeat at home to Monmouth on Saturday, the score made worse by two late tries.
Although the weather was cool and calm as was appropriate for the silence impeccably observed by all present, the finishing ten minutes at Bailey Park was anything but, as Monmouth rubbed salt into Aber’s wounds.
Playing down the slope to start, the hosts had some early impact with direct carries, but the visitors were in front after just five minutes, centre Jordan Howells making a forceful break on the left to find fellow centre Dan Dunmore to open the score with an unconverted try.
And Dunmore was to figure again following a break out of defence by wing Matt Tabb, whose chip kick he followed up to win a penalty, but the hosts were let off this time when the kick to the corner led to a crooked throw in.
Abergavenny worked their way back to Monmouth’s 22 with their young heavier pack exploiting Monmouth frailty in the set piece scrums.
But the visitors then won a series of rucks at the Hereford Road end and Tabb stepped up for the first of several successful kicks at goal to widen the lead to 8-0 on ten minutes.
Worse followed for Aber, as visiting full back Lewis Bates then outpaced the defence over 70 yards to go over, Tabb converting for a 15-0 lead.
The referee then penalised a Monmouth forward, but the kick at goal went awry and Abergavenny remained pointless.
A visitors’ attacking scrum then saw Bates on hand to support a narrow side move and go over for his second.
Aber were rocking now, but finally rallied as half-time approached, Dawid Rubasniak crossing the whitewash, followed by Ben Main, for two unconverted tries, although Tabb added another penalty for Monmouth to make it 23-10 at the break.
And Tabb again stretched the divide to 16 points with another penalty after the restart.
Monmouth were only occasionally using the slope to their advantage though, and one lengthy clearance was kicked straight out for a ‘ball back’ decision.
A visiting yellow-card for a high tackle also gave the hosts some hope, while there was laughter from the crowd when the referee’s whistle failed and he had to run to the clubhouse for a spare.
But he soon needed it for another high Monmouth tackle, and the hosts profited from a quick penalty as Anthony Squire went over over virtually untouched, although again the conversion went begging, leaving it 26-15.
The hosts were now playing with greater vigour though, and robustly defended a long series of rucks near their line.
But late on from a 5m touch, Monmouth flanker Cory Harper was driven over and Tabb converted from far out for 33-15.
And with the game drawing to a close, a penalty for a tackle off the ball saw Tabb running across field to link with Bates on the loop to make good ground, which centre Morgan Jeffs completed for an easy conversion by Tabb and a 40-15 final score.
The result saw Monmouth leapfrog Abergavenny, who slip to third from bottom of WRU East One, and will need to pick themselves up quickly, with a trip to bottom side Risca this Saturday (November 18).
Elsewhere in East 1, Blaenavon won 24-14 at Nelson to go seventh, one place above Monmouth.
They host Dowlais on Saturday, while second-placed Brynmawr, whose game with Risca was postponed late on owing to a withdrawal of opposition players, one disgruntled fan arriving from London to be told, are at Talywain.
Nantyglo lost 30-26 at Abertysswg in East 3, and host Rhymney at the weekend, while Crickhowell travel to Bettws in East 4.