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Records Tumble as Exiles Youth Claim Second Victory

Exiles host seasons third tournament


Saturday the 25th June saw the third youth southern conference tournament of the season, hosted by the Kent Exiles.

First up on a bright, warm day were the hosts versus season rookies Reading Rebels. The Exiles made a fast start, scoring on their first drive behind the running of George Grainger. However the Rebels hit back with two scores of their own. Grainger went in again, but another Rebels touchdown at the close of the half gave the newcomers the lead at the mid point.

On the first possession of the second half the Exiles tied the score, again through Grainger, however the Rebels hit back, and with time at a premium the young Exiles were looking at a losing start. With strong running, the Exiles came up with the tying touchdown just after the two minute warning, and crucially Digby Holland passed to Jack Lewis in the end zone for the extra point. This meant that the Rebels had the ball last, but with the Exiles executing the half time defensive adjustments made, the Black and Whites held out for a narrow win 25-24.

Next up were the National Champion London Warriors, and it soon became clear that the game would not mirror the defence heavy win of the Exiles two months previous. The Warriors pounded the ball, and lept into a 13-6 half time lead, the Exiles having scored on a pass from Holland to Solomon Agbabiaka. Despite strong defence in the second half the Warriors continued to steadily widen their lead, outscoring the Exiles by three touchdowns to two, the hosts scores coming on a second Holland to Agbabiaka pass, and a Grainger run. This left the final score 33-18 to the Warriors.

The Exiles final game, against the London Blitz, did not start well in the first period. First choice quarterback Holland had picked up an injury against the Warriors, and was replaced by Adam Renton. Then after defences were on top for each teams first two posessions, a catastrophic five minutes led to the Blitz scoring three times without reply. The Exiles kept plugging away, and Renton found Agbabiaka on the final play of the first half for a score.

After some tough talking from Coaches Hobbs and Lewis at half time the Exiles came out like men possessed, and immediately scored through the hard running of Devon Brown. Twitchiness appeared on the Blitz sideline, and previously rested starting players reappeared, and the game got a little bad tempered. Penalties began to mar the match, as forst one team scored and then the other. In between passes to Agbabiake the Blitz scored a further three times, but it was the hosts, with 14 seconds remaining, that had the last word, and Joseph Cordery converted the extra points.

Despite the tone of the match there were handshakes all round at the end, and the Blitz had run out 46-27 winners, also confirming their position as tournament champions.

At the conclusion, Exiles Youth Head Coach Julius Hobbs said "the lads should be proud of the way that they played today, they refused to be intimidated, and kept fighting to the end of each game. Our second win was gained two matches earlier than last year, and todays points total represents a record for us in tournament play. Again, it was pleasing that every single player contributed, and with the marked improvement and effort shown, I am confident that next time out we can have a real shot at our first tournament win".

Defensive MVP - Matt Murphy
Offensive MVP - Solomon Agbabiaka


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