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Exiles Youth Tournament Review


The Exiles Youth team made their long-awaited league debut at Beaverwood for their third tournament of the season, a match-up with Hertfordshire Cheetahs and Colchester Gladiators. The competing teams already had a win from this tournament due to Norwich Devils folding earlier in the season.

The Exiles kicked off proceedings with their match against Hertfordshire, a team who had proved a handful last time they met. The Exiles wasted no time in forging ahead, driving downfield behind strong running by Sam Crawford, before Andrew Bews finished things off on a run of his own. The Exiles defence of Sean Lewis, Gareth Norman, Michal Krawczak, Harry Woodley and Alfie West held firm, and the Exiles pushed further ahead on their next possession, when QB Joe Bennett found Conor Rumble with a pinpoint pass to score down the sideline.

Hertfordshire again had no answer, and the teams turned around with the Exiles 12-0 to the good. The second half started much as the first, with great blocking from James Suraille and Conor Rumble springing Sam Crawford to further extend the lead. This time, with Sam Adams and Cameron Rose drawing defenders away from space, Bennett found Jacques O'Dwyer for the PAT conversion. The Exile defence continued to hold, with Luke Boxall, Harrison Hill, and Joe Marron also contributing. On the other side of the ball, Adam Wallace, Josh Quartey and Callum O'Neill continued to move the ball for the Exiles, however, it was RB Reece Burrowes, behind some devastating Exile blocking, who sprung a play the length of the field, to scamper into the endzone. The defences for both sides held sway, until a late score from the Cheetahs gave them deserved reward for their efforts. This was converted, and the game ended  25 - 8 to the Exiles.

The two visitors then fought out an entertaining, and deceptively lop-sided affair, the Gladiators triumphing 26-0.

After their respite, the Exiles came out with purpose, but it was their opponents, Colchester who took the lead behind their power run game. The Exiles offence quickly got into it's stride, with a swift reply from the quick and powerful Josh Quartey, and a Bennett pass to O'Dwyer added the extra point. Sam Crawford could take no further part in the game, so the running back duties were shared between Burrowes, Quartey, O'Neill, and Theo Alexis, relishing his second role in the backfield. Halftime came with the Exiles narrowly ahead, and their offence continued to move the ball effectively, behind Rumble, Suraille, and Nathan Farmer, but they could not punch in another score. However, adjustments made at halftime meant that the defence stiffened, and with great play, Sean Lewis forced a Gladiators fumble in the end-zone, which was recovered by Harry Woodley for an easy score. This inspired the offence, and with a powerful drive, Josh Quartey finally punched the ball in, effectively ending the resistance, the young Exiles running out winners 19-6.

Head Coach Julius Hobbs said "It was wonderful to finally play at Beaverwood, and I'd like to thank everybody involved for their hospitality. We also had a big flag event with over 100 players going on, and the Senior team were also training, so there was an awful lot of great football going on. This was a very important stepping stone for our season, and whilst we are still not favourites for the Division title, we still have our destiny in our own hands going to Colchester next weekend. The players of all teams should be congratulated on how they played today, hard,competitive football, and for my team, they have to be aware that we need more of the same next Saturday. It is up to us to prove how good we are, I certainly don't want to give up our title without a fight. I am very proud of my players today, particularly the way they made key adjustments, and it has set up the final tournament in this division nicely, with three teams going for top spot." 


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