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Historic First Tournament Win for Exiles Youth Team

Youth Tournament Report

02-06-2012

The Kent Exiles Youth team kicked off their season with the long trip to Harwich to face the hosts Colchester Gladiators, London Warriors, and new boys the London Olympians.
 
The Exiles faced the hosts Colchester first, and a very close competitive game ensued. The Exiles took the lead midway into the first half after a Solomon Agbabiaka run, but were pegged back by Colchester soon after. A further Agbabiaka score late in the first half gave the Exiles back the lead going into the break. Into the second half, the game became a very competitive defensive affair, with the Exiles defence performing well behind strong tackling from Elijah wood, Charlie Fanning, and Alex woods, who also had his first interception of the day. Colchester continued to press however, and after a dump off to their centre and a long run appeared to come up just short.This was confirmed later by video, however the Colchester line judge was adamant the ball had crossed the plane before control was lost, and the 'TD' stood. At the ensuing extra point, more drama unfolded as Colchester fumbled a 'double snap' under pressure from Charlie Fanning, who recovered the ball and raced into the end-zone. However, more pressure from the Colchester sideline ensured this play was also called back, and the Gladiators held on to win 13-12.
 
The next game for the Exiles was a match against old rivals the London Warriors. This was a highly entertaining game, highlighted by the sportsmanship shown by both sides, and again, the Exiles quickly took the lead from an Agbabiaka run. Warriors hit back however with a long pass, and converted a 2pt PAT to stretch the lead. The Exiles resilience showed, and just on half time they reached paydirt again, after Charlie Fanning recovered a fumble very close to the Warriors goaline. The ball was forced in, with the extras added by rookie wideout Todd Herbert.In the second half, more great play from the young Exiles on both sides of the ball ensured a lot of possession, with Alex Woods getting his second pick, and the Exiles scored three times, through Agbabiaka, and James Woods. The Warriors could only find one more TD in reply, as the Kent side ran out 31-14 winners.
 
Finally, the Exiles faced the newly formed London Olympians, playing their first tournament in it's current format. This time, it was the opposition who struck first, as the Exiles defence took some time to adjust to the new team. However, the Exiles struck back quickly, although it took some time to actually score, as Todd Herbert was denied what looked like a clear score by the officials. The Exiles scored two TD's in quick succession however, including a 'pick 6' from Kwame Opoku, to lead 12-7 at half time. In the second period, the Exiles defence stiffened again, and the offence further extended the lead through Agbabiaka, and James Woods. With both teams tiring in the hot conditions, mistakes started to be made, both defences began to get on top, and there was no further scoring, the Exiles running out 26-7 winners.
 
As results turned out, three teams finished 2-1 on the day, but the Kent Exiles won the tournament due to their larger points difference. This was the first tournament they had won in their history.
Head Coach Julius Hobbs said afterwards ' this was a thoroughly enjoyable day for everybody. We had some logistical problems early, and despite the issues with the first game, I felt on the field it was played in good spirit by both sides. Had we converted our extra point plays, nothing else would have made a difference. The two other games showed just how well this team can play on both sides of the ball, and I was really proud of how this largely rookie team performed. We will get better, and there are still things to improve, but it was a great start, and to win our first tournament was very special. I would like to thank the players and coaches for their effort, and all of the traveling support as well. We have made a great start, now we must build on this foundation'.
 
Defensive MVP Charlie Fanning
Offensive MVP Kwame Opoku



 

 

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