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Exiles Juniors show that every second counts

Latest Junior Kitted South Tournament results


The Kent Exiles Junior team, hit by illness and holiday, nevertheless took a small squad to the latest Junior Kitted South Tournament, hosted by the London Blitz. Despite soaring temperatures, and having significantly the smallest team on show, the Juniors lined up for their first game against the hosts determined to be as competitive as possible.  In an outstanding first half, the Exiles, driving the ball with a strong running game, turned around 8-0 ahead, thanks to a Toby Hanington interception setting up a surging TD run from Adam Renton, and a botched Blitz snap which flew out of the end-zone for a safety. In the second half, the Blitz came back strongly, and although having to work for every yard, used a good combination of rush and pass to score twice and edge ahead. The Exiles, unable to move the ball so well this half, found themselves 13-8 down with less than a minute and a half remaining. With the first outing of their new no-huddle offence, the Juniors drove to half-way, where, on 4th Down with 4 seconds left, Digby Holland found Tody Hanington with the go-ahead score to win the game by a point.

After a brief break, the Exiles Juniors faced the Coventry Jets in their second match. Again, the Exiles jumped ahead early, behind more power running from Adam Renton, going in for his second score of the day. The Jets equalised, using an effective running game themselves, before, on their last drive of the half, the Exiles gave the ball to Mike Jones, who ran the entire field length for the leading score. Coming out for the second half, on only the second play, a Jets fumble rolled into their end-zone and was recovered by Jack Lewis to push the Exiles further ahead. This prompted the Jets to take to the air, and they pulled a score back midway through the half. With three minutes to go, and driving, the Exiles failed to secure a first down by a yard, giving the Jets the ball one last time. A combination of good running and inventive passing gave the Jets a third down with 12 seconds left, about 15 yards out. After using all his throwing time, the QB completed a short pass to the centre, stopped for a short gain. Surely time had elapsed. Inexplicably, one second remained, and despite their best efforts, the Exiles couldn't prevent the Jets finding a receiver in the back of the end-zone to score the winning TD.

Having fought hard for two matches, many of the team were unable to continue competitively and with another tournament next week, reluctantly the third game was forfeited to the London Warriors. Despite this disappointing end, Head Coach Julius Hobbs said 'I was very proud of the players today, they stepped up and faced every challenge and obstacle set before them. This team are showing they can compete with everybody in the conference, and with most still eligible for next season, this bodes very well for the future of the programme. Despite dropping to 2-7, this could easily be the reverse had a few little things gone our way.Everybody dug in and played for each other. They deserve a great deal of credit'.

Kent Exiles 14-13 London Blitz
Kent Exiles 20-24 Coventry Jets
Kent Exiles 0-1 London Warriors

Tournament MVPs:
Defence Ben Goddard
Offence  Mike Jones



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