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Ash rises from the Exiles to claim victory

Kent Exiles 14 - 13 Ouse Valley Eagles

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11-05-2014

The Exiles travelled to Bedford International Athletics Stadium to take on the Ouse Valley Eagles in their first game of the season Sunday, and despite a disastrous start came home victorious after Ash Faiers converted a crucial extra point.

It was fair to say it was blowing a gale throughout the game, hampering both teams throughout, but especially the Exiles early on as the Eagles stormed to a 13-0 lead. An early fumble from Alex Poynter led to their first score on a 10 yard pass from Martin Day to Dale Hawes, and Vasco Dias kicking the PAT.

Then a short kick return backed the Exiles up on their next possession, and a botched hand-off in the end zone was recovered by Paul Green for another Eagles score. This time however the PAT was stopped as Dias was tackled short of the end zone, and perhaps crucially the Eagles kicker was then ejected for throwing a punch.

The 13-0 score line seemed to wake the Exiles up, and certainly their defence stepped up to the plate when on the Eagles next possession Nick Mayer stepped In front of a Day pass, and returned it 62 yards for the score, Faiers stepped up to boot the extra point.

The second quarter was all defence, with a series of stops by both sides. But towards the end of the half the Exiles got a drive going which was capped by Zac Ritchie finding Poynter for the 20 yard score, and tying the game. Faiers stepped up and calmly slotted the PAT for the lead, little did any of us know then it would be the game winning point.

The second half saw both the wind, and both defences, step it up even more. The Exiles particularly impressed with interceptions from Jay Henderson, Gareth Rees, Earl Perkins and Ryan Wilson, whilst Abdul Habib contributed a fumble recovery and a sack, with Lewis Whitcombe, Neil Cooper and Kerry Gray also stopping the QB for losses.

But it wouldn't be an Exiles game without a nervous finish, seemingly in control with less than 3 minutes to go a mix up saw Ritchie throw an interception to set the Eagles up inside the Exiles 30 yard line, and a chance to win the game. 3 stops saw a 4th down come up quickly though, and replacement Eagles QB Stuart Franklin launched a Hail Mary which was picked off by Ryan Wilson to seal the game.

After the game Exiles Head Coach Tony Bainbridge commented "what a difference having a great kicker can make,not only did Ash Faiers convert his PAT's but his kick- offs and punts also helped the field position battle today. The defence also stepped up with several takeaways which was good to see. We certainly knocked the rust off today, and now look forward to taking on the Spartans at home next week".

Full details of the Exiles season can be found on www.kentexiles.co.uk.

 

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