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Exiles Fail to Tie Game With 7 Seconds Left

Kent Exiles 18-20 Oxford Saints


The Exiles lost the return match against the Oxford Saints at home this weekend, but only just!

In a game which must have been a gem for the crowd watching, the two teams traded scores during the game, and with 7 seconds left on the clock the Exiles had a chance to tie the match with a 2 point conversion, but veteran centre Dave Pester's snap sailed high over quarterback Joel Grundy's head to seal the game for the Saints.

The game started well for the Exiles, with Steve Collison picking off Wayne Mayers first pass of the game. But it was to be both teams defences which were on the ball early, as neither team could move the ball far.

Mark Evans had two interceptions on the day

The Exiles then got ahead in the second quarter when Mayers threw his third pick of the day, Mike Turner gladly took the ball all the way back behind some great blocking for a 49 yard touchdown.

The Saints soon struck back though, as Mayer found Mark Losos from 17 yards out. Turner had looked like grabbing his second pick, but the ball somehow found it's way through on the fourth down play, and Losos walked in for the score. Adam Newman kicked the point after and the Saints led 7-6 at half time.

The Exiles found some offensive rhythm in the second half though, and came out with a strong drive. Stewart Muir and Michael Omeru gaining some good yards, before Joel Grundy found Sean Starwind from 28 yards out and the score. It was to be the first of seven hookups for the pair on the day as Grundy started his first game since week 1 of the season.

Disaster then struck, the Exiles defence looked to have held the Saints once more, but on a play which looked like it was going to be stopped for a short gain Randy Townsend broke a couple of tackles and found himself in the endzone 32 yards later. Newman again hit the point after.

Grundy was then intercepted on the next drive, giving the Saints good field position, Townsend finished off the short drive with a 5 yard run. This time though the point after was missed after the holder fumbled the exchange, and the Saints led by 20-12.

With only a few minutes remaining the Exiles knew they had to score, and hit the 2 point conversion, to be able to take anything from the game, and they meant business. Once again Muir made good gains, and Grundy hit Starwind and Martin Jefkins for good yardage before the drive stalled at the Saints 30 yard line, where the Exiles turned it over on downs, and it looked like the Saints had it won.

But the defence had other ideas, on the very next play Mark Vickers recovered a Saints fumble, and the Exiles had another chance. Two plays and a penalty later and the Exiles were on the four yard line with 12 seconds to go. The Saints sent everything after Grundy trying to force the mistake, but the fearless quarterback stood his ground and found Jefkins alone in the back of the endzone for the score, and set up the botched 2 point conversion attempt.

Following the game the Exiles were counseled by Head Coach Craig Ramsay, "the team know we lost this game the hard way, we believe we were the better team on the day, but that counts for nothing. We'll move on to the next game though, and we know that their may still be some life left in our season."

The Exiles now have two weeks before travelling to Colchester to take on the Gladiators again, a win will all but guarantee the Exiles will not be relegated, as it will almost certainly doom the Gladiators to that fate. Full details can be found on the Exiles website,

Selected Game Statistics

Joel Grundy – 10 of 20 for 143 yards, 2td, 2int

Stewart Muir – 10 for 66 yards
Michael Omeru - 9 for 40 yards
Antony Bainbridge - 3 for 13 yards

Sean Starwind - 7 for 123 yards, 1td
Martin Jefkins - 2 for 14 yards, 1td
Darren Durup – 1 for 6 yards

Aaron Alexis – 9 tackles
Steve Collison - 8 tackles, 1 int
Paul Samartin - 8 tackles
Mark Vickers - 7 tackles, 1 fumble recovery
Mike Turner - 3 tackles, 1 int return for 49 yards, 1td
Mark Evans - 2 Int


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