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Exiles Season of to a Winning Start

Kent Exiles 25-14 Ipswich Cardinals

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The Kent Exiles got their 2008 season off to a winning start by beating the Ipswich Cardinals in a game which many had tipped the Cardinals to win.

Seth Campbell scoops up the loose
ball on his way to the endzone

The Exiles started the game on defence, which promptly set the tone for the day with some crunching tackles, and some great hustle to get to the ball carrier. And once again it was an Alexis who led the unit, but this time it was Youth team graduate Joe Alexis who stole the show in his first senior game leading the team in tackles with seven.

With the defence in fine form it was left to the offence to drive downfield against the always tough Cardinals defence, and at the third time of asking, following some fine running from Stewart Muir, Paul Crawford ran in untouched from the one yard line to open the Exiles 2008 account. Mark Evans kicked the extra point, and it was 7-0.

The defence then got in on the action, as on the next Cardinals possession David Maisey and Aaron Alexis broke through the line and forced the Cardinals quarterback to hurry his handoff, and forced the fumble. In the ensuing scramble for the ball Exiles defensive lineman Seth Campbell scooped the ball up and rumbled the 29 yards to the endzone for the touchdown, and a 13-0 lead.

The Cardinals next drive was stopped by a spectacular interception by Marlon Smith, the first of three on the day for the Exiles secondary. With less than thirty seconds left in the half, the Exiles decided to go for the kill, and did so in some style with Richard McHugh catching a 63 yard bomb from Aaron Griffiths and racing into the endzone for the score, and an Exiles lead of 19-0 at half time.

Ryan Kelly tears through the middle of the Cardinals

The second half did not start as well for the Kent side, a couple of completed passes, and two big penalties saw the Cardinals on the Exiles 6 yard line, from where veteran fullback Luke Box drove in for the score, with the extra point kicked the Cardinals were back in it at 19-7.

That score woke the Exiles defence back up, and they then contained the Cardinals with ease, Mark Evans and Carl Cahoon securing interceptions, and Aaron Alexis with two huge sacks. This allowed the offence to find some more rhythm; Paul Samartin’s barreling runs were punctuated by nice catches from rookie Harry Innis, and Australian International Ryan Kelly, before Griffiths found McHugh again for the touchdown, this time from 39 yards out.

With a 25-7 lead the Exiles started to clear their bench, and this led to the Cardinals scoring again late in the fourth quarter when a blown coverage gave up a 63 yard touchdown strike, and the final score of 25-14.

Following the game Exiles Head Coach Norman Navarro was justifiably pleased with his teams performance, and commented “It was a good game for us, and a victory is a great result, but we have to sharpen up as we made some silly mistakes and my coaches and I will be ensuring that the lessons we have learnt today will be picked up at training.”

Navarro then went on to say “I’m sure it will be another tough game when we visit Ipswich, they have some very good players. Their #59 Tony Groden was great on defence today and gave us some problems, whilst on offence #88 Caine Pamment made a superb grab in tight coverage which stood out for me.”

The Exiles now have a weeks break before traveling to Crawley and taking on the Sussex Thunder, a rivalry which has a habit of producing close high scoring games. Full details of the Exiles season can be found at

Scoring Summary
1Q – Exiles Paul Crawford 1 yard run, Mark Evans PAT
2Q – Exiles Seth Campbell 29 yard fumble return
2Q – Exiles Aaron Griffiths 63 yard pass to Richard McHugh
3Q – Cardinal Luke Box 6 yard run, #85 PAT
4Q – Exiles Aaron Griffiths 39 yard pass to Richard McHugh
4Q – Cardinals #6 63 yard pass to #85, #85PAT

Selected Exiles Game Statistics

Aaron Griffiths - 4 of 7 for 125 yards, 2TD
Damian Marshall - 1 of 5 for 23 yards
Tony Bainbridge - 1 of 5 for 21 yards, 2 INT

Stewart Muir – 15 for 54 yards
Paul Samartin – 6 for 34 yards
Rob Stewart – 8 for 21 yards

Richard McHugh – 3 for 123 yards, 2TD
Harry Innis – 1 for 23 yards
Ryan Kelly – 1 for 18 yards

Joe Alexis – 7 tackles
Mark Evans – 4 tackles, 1 INT for 31 yards
Baron D’Anyangwe – 4 tackles
Aaron Alexis – 3 tackles, 2 sacks for 14 yards, 1 fumble recovery
Trevorr Matthews – 3 tackles


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