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Exiles Youth get off to Flying Start

Win over national champions bodes well for season


The Kent Exiles Youth kitted team kicked off their 2011 season with an away tournament hosted by the Marlow Wolves.

A tall order was given to the Exiles, 75% of whom were playing for the first time, as their first game up was against the current national champions, the London Warriors. However, on the first play from scrimmage, William Chu set the tone by blasting through the centre, and after a high snap, tackling the QB in the end-zone for a safety.

In a game where defences were dominant, the Warriors recovered to score the only touchdown of the half, to lead 6 - 2. In the second half, defences were again on top, and a forced fumble by the Exiles gave them great field position. Digby Holland found Jack Lewis in the endzone for the go-ahead score, and the same pairing teamed up to nail the extra point.

On the Warriors next drive, the Exiles again forced a fumble, and again converted, however this time a late 'offside' call pulled the score back. A tense finale saw the London Warriors drive down deep into Exile territory, where they had their own conversion problems, scores being pulled back for offside and false start calls, and with tension mounting, and 40 seconds to go, a pass into the endzone was caught by both Exile and Warrior alike. Sadly for the Warriors, the ball had also hit the ground, ruling the pass incomplete, and the Exiles ran out the clock to record a deserved but hard-fought win.

The second game, against Marlow Wolves, followed on quickly after the first, and again, defences were on top, the Exiles led by William Chu and Matt Murphy. But, two lapses of concentration from the Exiles defence led to two quick strikes from the Wolves, one possession after another, running the length of the field in both cases to score. The Exiles finished the half strongly however, with James Woods dropping a pass in the end-zone under great pressure on the penultimate drive, and Jack Lewis caught a pass as time expired, it seemed that he only had to stretch to break the goal-line, but in the process he agonisingly fumbled the ball out of bounds.

The Exiles showed great defensive improvement in the second half, and shutting down the Wolves, it seemed that they were the only team that were likely to score. Indeed, on their first drive, Devon Brown broke through the Wolves defence, but just as he cleared the last defender, a trailing arm knocked the ball away. Defences were on top throughout the rest of the game, and the Exiles went down 15-0.

The third game against London Blitz started contoversially, as confusion over tactics led to the Blitz being allowed to rush three blitzers on the Exiles first two possessions. This led to a safety for them, and the Exiles struggling to move the ball. Once the problems were ironed out, the match developed into an even contest, for although the Blitz scored twice on blown pass coverages, the Exiles replied behind the stong running of George Grainger, and a pass to the reliable Jack Lewis for a score of their own. Going into the second half 16-6 down, the Exiles good work was undone immediately when a Blitz running back was allowed to race down the sideline to score. The Exiles stuck to their task well though, and tough tackling from Elijah Wood and George Grainger, coupled with good receiver work from Adam Renton and Myles Leslie kept the Exiles competitive, until in the late stages of the game, with tired legs showing, the Blitz were again allowed to run the field for the final TD. This left a final scoreline of Exiles 6 Blitz 28.

Head Coach Julius Hobbs said: 'To have come here with so many rookies, and beat the current National Champions is a tremendous achievement, a victory that we throughly deserved. However, we have to learn to concentrate for three complete games. We were very competitive against Marlow, a game which could have gone either way, and I was pleased with the way that the players stuck to the task against the Blitz, although in the second half fatigue was starting to set in. All in all the team should be very pleased with the way they played in their first tournament this year, it bodes well for the rest of the year, and they should be proud of themselves.'

He added ' I would like to thank Coach Mckee and the Wolves for hosting a great tournament, and thank all involved with the Blitz, Warriors and Wolves for three hard-fought games, played generally in a good spirit.'


Offensive MVP Jack Lewis
Defensive MVP Kadel King


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