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Exiles Have a Good Day Hunting

Maidstone Pumas 20-62 Kent Exiles

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10-04-2011

Eversley on the run

The Exiles got their 2011 campaign off to a winning start with a 62-20 mauling of the Maidstone Pumas.

Renewing a rivalry that dates back to the early 1990's, but has not been played since 2005, both teams were obviously pumped up for the game as is kicked off, but it was the Exiles who were to start fastest, and then finish even faster.

The Pumas kicked the game off, and the Exiles offence found their rhythm quickly, a strong drive, led by rookie quarterback Marco Kornaros culminated in Jon Miller running in from 15 yards out. Kornaros himself ran in the two point conversion, for an early 8-0 lead.

The Pumas then stunned their visitors, as Ryan McDonald took the ensuing kick-off back 74 yards for an immediate reply. Robert Mitchell tagging on the Extra point, and it was 8-7.

Bouyed by the opening drive, the Exiles offence took to the field once again, and again showed that they meant business. A strong drive, which saw one score chalked off for an illegal formation penalty, was finally finished off by Wesley Eversley from 14 yards out. This time the two point conversion was thwarted, and the score was 14-7.

Crawford scored 22 points

The Exiles defence then forced a Pumas punt, and the offence took over once more, for a drive that was to be filled with incident. A short drive led the Exiles into scoring range, and the Pumas thought they had got the ball back on an interception only to have it ruled out by a roughing the passer penalty. Then Paul Crawford sprinted in from 7 yards out, only for the Exiles to see their second touchdown called back due to a penalty. The Exiles were forced back even further on the following play as Crawford was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, then finally the Exiles scored once more, Kornaros finding Miller from 28 yards out. Again the two point conversion was missed, and the Exiles now led 20-7.

The Pumas then found their best drive of the day, as they slowly made their way downfield. The Exiles Ryan Wilson thought he had ended the drive with an interception in the endzone, but once again a big Exiles play was chalked off due to penalty, and to add insult to injury the Pumas McDonald got his second touchdown of the day, diving in from 2 yards out. Mitchell hit the conversion again for a 20-14 score.

The see-saw scoring then continued as the Exiles offence continued to move, Crawford finally getting his touchdown on a 9 yard run. Once again the two point conversion was missed, but the Exiles maintained their lead with the score now 26-14.

The excitement of the first half wasn't about to finish though, as once again the Pumas struck back almost immediatly. Rookie safety Kyle Gurney saw a chance of his first interception, but was beaten to the ball by Jonathan Buggs who took the ball and sprinted the 70 yards to the endzone on the pass from Mark Charles. The extra point was missed, and the score was now 26-20.

Kornaros Vaults in.

Another score followed by the Exiles though, another drive went down the pitch after some good gains from rookie running back Nick Thompson, and Kornaros finished this one off homself as he vaulted into the endzone from 7 yards out. Crawford punched in the two point conversion, and it was 34-20.

Following their early mistakes, Coach Aaron Alexis had had some harsh words with his defence which had the desired effect. Good tackles from Kerry Gray, Adam Pearson and Simon Mackerill stopped the Pumas in their tracks, and a poor punt left the Exiles in their half with a few seconds left. It was enough time for Kornaros to hoist a long ball down the sideline to Jon Miller to score from 42 yards out as time expired. The same pair hooked up for the two point conversion as well, and the Exiles took a 42-20 lead into the half.

The second half started as the first ended, as the Exiles defence stepped up their game once again. Gavin Cooper recovered a fumbled snap, to get the ball back for the Exiles, and then Eversley ripped off a 49 yard run, to leave Crawford an easy finish from 7 yards out. Crawford also punched in the two point attempt, and the Exiles now led by 30 points, 50-20.

With a healthy lead, the Exiles cleared their benches for the remainder of the game, and saw that they had plenty of competition for places with barely a beat missed. Dave Silverman and Drew Filipowicz looked good in the defensive backfield, whilst Chris Hope made some good gains on the ground behind the blocking of Shane Medhurst and Ruban Siranjan. But it was to be veteran tight end Alistair Beaton who capped a fine individual performance with a 1 yard catch from Kornaros to score next, and make the score 56-20.

Coach Bainbridge

More defensive pressure, including two sacks from youth team graduate Lee Baxter, saw the Exiles pile the pressure on the Pumas, and the scoring was rounded out when back-up Quarterback Damir Latte stepped in and led the team to the final score, a 28 yard run from Crawford, and the final score of 62-20.

Following the game Coach Bainbridge was justifiably proud of his team, "we played a good game considering we have such a young team, mixed with some veteran influences. The game film will be good for us to review, as we did play sloppy football at times, with too many penalties. But if you'd offered me this scoreline before the game, i'd have taken it!"

The Exiles now have two weeks off before a visit to the Essex Spartans in game 2, full details are available at www.kentexiles.co.uk

 

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