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2nd Half Performance sees off Cheetahs

Kent Exiles 34 - 20 Watford Cheetahs

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Abbott Reaches for the TouchdownThe Kent Exiles put in a dominating second half performance to see of the Watford Cheetahs at the Beaverwood Club today.

The first half was one to forget though as the Exiles offence spluttered whilst the Cheetahs seemed to find some good yardage each time they touched the ball, and in the first quarter they took the lead on a Martin Brown pass to Sam Roberts.

Whilst the Exiles looked lackluster on offence, a nice drive was put together in the second quarter, but disaster struck when on 4th and goal from the 4 yard line Exiles quarterback Zac Ritchie was picked off by James Drake who evaded would be tacklers and returned the ball 98 yards for the touchdown, and in front of their home crowd the Exiles were 12-0 down.

Hope was restored as the half ran out though, as Yazid Garba caught his first score of the season from Ritchie on a 6 yard pass, and despite the bad showing the team went in only 6 points down.

The second half was a different story as Coach Bainbridge had had some tough words with his team at half time, after taking the kick-off the Exiles drove straight downfield and scored on a 2 yard run by Ben Abbott to level the score.

The defence forced a Cheetahs punt on the next series, and then repeated the feat, this time Ritchie hitting Anthony Clarke from 40 yards out for the score, and the Exiles had their first lead of the day.

Losing their lead spurred the Cheetahs on, and they drove downfield behind their speedy running back Andrew Wilks, the drive stalled in the redzone, but a pass interference call against Ryan Wilson handed the Cheetahs the ball on the 2 yard line from where Wilks scored with ease. Sam Gordon scored the two point conversion, and the lead had swung once more.

The fourth quarter was time for the Exiles to show how they can really play, and the defence stepped up their game. Hits from Nick Clifford and Aaron Alexis forced Cheethas fumbles on successive plays, forcing the Cheetahs to punt. This gave Ritchie a chance to hit Clarke again, and the sure handed wideout pulled in a great catch for a 21 yard score. Nick Thompson then made a nice grab from Ritchie for the conversion, and the Exiles led 26-20.

More great defensive play followed on the next series, as Chris Price this time recovered the fumble in Cheetahs territory, and Ritchie drove the ball to the 1 yard line from where he took the ball in himself for the touchdown, and then hit Colin Chislett with the 2 point conversion, and the Exiles had an unassailable lead.

Following the game Exiles Head Coach Bainbridge commented, "that was a tough game, we knew the Cheetahs would give us a test, but we certainly helped by not playing to our potential in the first half. The second half was much better though, we stepped up on defence, and the offence found some rhythm. Overall I'm pleased with how the team responded, and showed their mental toughness. Now we've got a couple of weeks off to prepare  for our next game against the Pumas"

Full details of the Exiles next home game against the Maidstone Pumas in the 'Battle for Kent' is on the 30th June at the Beaverwood club, full details on the Exiles website, www,




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