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Positive results for Exiles Youth

Rookies continue to re-write records!

30-07-2011

The Kent Exiles Youth team made the long trip to Marlow for the second time this season, a re-scheduled venue after Reading Rebels pulled out of their home tournament. First up for the Exiles was a friendly fixture against the London Blitz. The Exiles suffered a heavy loss; however, it allowed the inexperienced Kent side valuable playbook practice which was to prove its worth later on.

The first game that mattered was against season new boys, the Colchester Gladiators, also the first time that the two clubs had met at this level. Kent jumped out to an early lead, as Solomon Agbabiaka ran the length of the field to score. This was converted by a Kwame Opoku pass to James Woods. Further strong running by Agbabiaka extended the lead, this time the extras were added by a catch from Jon Eluwa. Colchester replied with an unconverted score of their own, but now it was time for the Exiles defence to make a significant play. On Colchester’s next possession, a lobbed pass was intercepted by Alex Woods, who skipped in for a ‘pick six’, this time the extra point caught by the ever – reliable Jack Lewis. Just before the half, a further TD run by Agbabiaka was again converted by James Woods, giving the Exiles a 28-6 lead at the half.

The Gladiators frustration at being shut down by the Exiles defence, led by Kadel King, and Elijah Wood, started to boil over, and as the second half started, Exiles were targeted by verbal tirades from the opposing sideline. This seemed to fire up the Colchester team, who scored first after the break, however a quick catch and TD run from Jack Lewis effectively put the game to bed. The rest of the half saw defence on top, although Colchester gained a late consolation, scoring on a broken play as time expired, giving the Exiles a 34-19 victory.

The heat of the day was starting to show on the Exiles, but 15 minutes later they were in action again, against the Marlow Wolves. A game of high quality started with a bang, as the teams scored in turn, the Exiles replying Marlow with a run from Agbabiaka, converted by Myles Leslie, and replying again through a James Woods catch, this time Agbabiaka scored with the conversion. Marlow scored at the end of the half, to edge a close first period 20-14.

Marlow scored on their first possession after the re-start; however the Exiles defence, behind strong tackling from King, Wood, Alex Woods and Daniel Jarman, stiffened, and kept the Wolves at bay on their next two possessions. With time running out, the Exiles reduced the arrears with a catch from Jack Lewis, again it was Agbabiaka with the PAT conversion, and a comeback seemed possible. But, on a busted run play, Marlow scored once more, leaving the Exiles on the end of a 34-21 reverse.

Exiles HC Julius Hobbs said afterwards, “with Reading’s forfeit, a 2 and 1 record for the day is excellent, particularly since this is the least experienced team I have taken to a tournament since our formation year. Again, every single player contributed, even first game rookies like Alex Woods and Pierce Robinson. We broke our single game scoring record again, our 4-team tournament points total record, and had a positive aggregate score in a four team tournament for the first time in our history.”

Coach Hobbs added, “we gave the London Blitz the respect the deserved by playing the friendly, and we learnt a great deal as a team. It was disappointing that Marlow chose not to play the Blitz, even with so few players they were aware that three games were scheduled, and whilst it is difficult to criticize too much with player safety a concern, the 2 hour break that they had between matches was a great leveler. Despite their freshness, the last match could have gone to either team, a great credit to my players. We are still in the post-season hunt, and today’s experience will help the players immensely, particularly those playing in unfamiliar positions. They worked hard all day, and should be proud of their achievements so far.”

Defensive MVP – Kadel King
Offensive MVP –Kwame Opoku
 

 

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