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Exiles Start Season with a Win

Kent Exiles 32-6 Colchester Gladiators

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The Kent Exiles started the 2016 season with a home victory over the Colchester Gladiators at The Beaverwood Club.

Colchester came into the game as favorites having competed well in Division 1 last year but it was the newly promoted Exiles who started the stronger and were good value for their win.

The Exiles defence took to the field and were able to get their first turnover of the young season on the opening drive when Jay Henderson intercepted a pass in his own end zone. Backed up deep inside their own territory, however the Exiles showed what they could do offensively as running back Daniel Exell rushed for 71 yards on four attempts including a 48-yard touchdown run for the opening score.

Soon after, the Exiles extended their lead as quarterback Zac Ritchie found Ben Griffin for another touchdown after Kent’s defence had forced two turnovers to set up the score. Adam Lillis added the two point conversion on a pass from Ritchie.

Colchester turned their offensive fortunes around in the second quarter scoring on a 38-yard run after a long offensive drive. However their two-point conversion attempt failed and the score remained at 14-6. The Gladiators could indeed have had more points if they had taken advantage of four interceptions thrown by Exiles’ QB Zac Ritchie. However Kent’s defensive unit stood strong and allowed no further scores.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Exiles offence got going again after a recovered fumble set them up deep inside Colchester territory. Three plays later, Ritchie found Dayne Robinson with his second touchdown pass of the day to extend the lead to 20-6.

Shortly after, Jay Henderson recorded his second interception of the game to once again set up the Exiles in excellent field position. On the very next play, running back Gabriel Quartey, newly graduated from the Exiles Junior Team, broke free for a 38 yard touchdown score to further extend the Exiles lead.

Quartey struck again toward the end of the fourth quarter with a 17 yard score to cement the Exiles opening day victory. Quartey, who had the bulk of the carries in the second half totaled 133 yards on the ground, Daniel Exell had 104 yards during his stint in the first half including his score. Quarterback Ritchie had 120 yards passing with two touchdowns, three of his receivers had three catches for over 30 yards.

The Exiles defense were outstanding in forcing five interceptions: two each for Richard Matkins and Henderson and one for Nick Mayer. Charles Mulvihill was the leading tackler of the team with 6.5 tackles, whilst Joe Alexis had 5.5.

Next up for the Exiles is a visit to the Sussex Thunder, a team that were defeated in their opening game by the Bury Saints. The Exiles will hope to build on their opening victory with a strong showing.

Report by Andrew Bunting


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