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Exiles Start Strong but Fall Short Against Sussex

Kent Exiles 12-19 Sussex Thunder

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In a week where many games were cancelled due to inclement weather, the Exiles game went ahead but they succumbed to the Thunder to drop another game which could have gone either way.

Sean Starwind makes the grab

The Exiles started the game with a monster drive to the Thunder 5 yard line, but mistakes thwarted the scoring opportunity and gave the ball to the Thunder who then embarked on a drive of their own. Paul Robinson marshalled his team downfield and capped the drive with a 4 yard strike to Phil Allman. The extra point was missed and gave the Thunder an early 6-0 lead.

The remainder of the half was a defensive affair, with neither team scoring any further points. The Exiles linebacking corp of Alexis, Samartin, Vickers and Hands took control of the game and started to stop drives with regularity, whilst the Thunder defence bent but did not break.

The third quarter began with another Exiles drive, this was just to be a short one though as Pat Turner's interception and 36 yard return set up Stewart Muir to scamper in from 21 yards out, and tie the game at 6-6.

After a Sussex punt the Exiles took over again, and the offence for once looked unstoppable driving down field with ease to again allow Muir to score, this time from a yard out, for a 12-6 lead and the Exiles looked to be taking control of the game.

But on the kick-off a great individual play from Eber Kington electrified the watching crowd as he broke tackles on his way to a 76 yard return for the touchdown. Crucially Gareth Evans extra point crept over the bar, despite being partially blocked, and the Thunder led 13-12.

That play spurred the Thunder defence on, and they held the Exiles next drive. It also spurred their offence into action, and two big catches on third downs led to Lance Nutley taking the ball in from the 1 yard line and the final 19-12 scoreline, as the Exiles could not muster the yards needed to score again.

Following the game Exiles Head Coach Craig Ramsay commented, "We looked to be taking control of the game in the third quarter following two good scores, but that kick-off return spurred the Thunder on to take the game. We just can't seem to win the close ones this season, and we have not got long left to sort that out".

The Exiles now close out the season with two away games at Ipswich and Sussex, and are looking to salvage some pride in a season which started with so much promise, but is ending in near disaster. Full details of all games can be found at

Selected Game Statistics

Antony Bainbridge - 6 of 21 for 85 yards, 3 int
Joel Grundy - 1 of 2 for 10 yards

Stewart Muir - 18 for 121 yards, 2td
Antony Bainbridge - 8 for 36 yards
Michael Omeru - 7 for 18 yards

Sean Starwind - 6 for 83 yards
Darren Durup - 1 for 12 yards

Aaron Alexis - 9 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
Paul Samartin - 8 tackles, 1 forced fumble
Alan Hands - 6 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries
Steve Collison - 6 tackles
Pat Turner - 3 tackles, 1 interception for 36 yards

Total Offence
Kent Exiles - 281 yards (186 rushing, 95 passing) 21 First Downs
Sussex Thunder - 252 yards (107 rushing, 145 passing) 9 First Downs


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