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Exiles narrowly lose top of table clash

Kent Exiles 13-26 London Cobras

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Palumbo Touchdown

The London Cobras maintained their 100% record for the season with a hard faught victory over the Exiles. The loss means the Exiles are now locked in a battle for second place in the division with the Cambridgeshire Cats and Ipswich Cardinals, whilst the Cobras have a clear lead at the top of the table.

Both teams had several injury problems going into the game, but that did not stop the battle being intense from the outset, with both teams playing to their full potential, and providing a bruising encounter for the 250+ crowd to watch.

The Cobras scored first, when after a short drive Devar Gayle burst in from the 1 yard line. The 2 point attempt was no good.

Then at the start of the second period the Exiles drove well, Stewart Muir with gains on the ground, and Richard McHugh and Harry Innis making catches, before Aaron Griffiths finished the drive with a 1 yard run into the endzone, McHugh kicked the point after, and the Exiles led 7-6 at the half.

With both teams playing near error free football, both had to work for their points, and at the start of the second half the Cobras again got a drive going, which was finished by Jerome Allen's pass to Emmanuel Mokuro for a 25 yard score. Again the 2 point attempt was no good.

The Exiles again came back, Paul Samartin rumbled for a gain of 15 yards on the drive, punctuated by a pair of Sean Starwind catches, before Clive Palumbo snared a 6 yard pass from Griffiths in the back of the endzone. Opting to try and take a three point lead the Exiles went for the 2 point conversion, which failed, but the Exiles led 13-12.

The Cobras next drive saw them take the lead again, when Ike Okonkwo found some room to run, and sprint down the sideline for a 48 yard score, this time the 2 point attempt was converted and the Cobras had taken the lead straight back 20-13

A great kick return from Palumbo took the Exiles straight back into Cobras territory, and then into the redzone with a Samartin run. But the Cobras defence stiffened, and finally got some pressure on Griffiths which bought up fourth down. Griffiths again had to scramble, but managed to get the pass off, but a diving Starwind could not come up with the catch in the endzone, and the Exiles had crucially turned the ball over on downs.

The Exiles defence then stood up for counting, led by Sacha Conte's 9 tackles, and forced the Cobras to punt, but this led to a short period where both teams traded possessions for a few drives, and the game remained in the balance until late in the fourth quarter when Gayle put the game out of reach with his second 1 yard touchdown of the game.

Following the game Exiles Head Coach Scott Rowe commented "Obviously we are disappointed to lose today, but I am very pleased with the effort level we showed. The Cobras are an outstanding football team, who are well coached, and with a number of great athletes. The fact that we matched them for the majority of the game shows what potential our football team has".

The Exiles now have a weeks rest before traveling to the Peterborough Saxons on the 4th July, where they will play at the USAF base in front of a large crowd of airmen and their families as part of the American Independence day festivities. Full details of the Exiles season can be found on their website



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