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Exiles Youth still on top after trip to Canterbury!


July 16th saw the Kent Exiles Youth team travel down to Canterbury, home of the East Kent Mavericks, for their third tournament of the season.
They faced the London Blitz first, and with the reverse against the Blitz in tournament 1, it was obvious how crucial this match could be. The young Exiles came out with fire and purpose, with a key defensive stand, resulting in a forced fumble, recovered by the Kent side. This left the offensive with a short field, and QB Conor Rumble found wideout Russell Oriunuta for the opening score. The PAT was added by a great catch from rookie Connor Gannon.
The rest of the half was frustrating for the Exiles, with great defensive work from Sean Lewis, Alfie West, Michal Krawczak, Harrison Hill, and Jess Ferguson, backed up by Luke Martin, continually stopping the Blitz O, however, a combination of good run defence, and missed passing opportunities kept the score to just one TD.
The second half saw some adjustments, and the Exiles again started brightly, Rumble again finding Oriunuta for a further score. The run game of Theo Alexis, and Josh Quartey, was finding space behind great blocking from James Suraille, Sedier Al-Kiar, Aelx Savine and Jay Vijayshankar, and this was starting to open up the pass. This was backed up by even more great defence, and the Exiles persistence paid off when Rumble found James Suraille in the end-zone to stretch the lead even further.
Clinical thereafter on defence, the Exiles ran out winners 19-0.
Next up was the home team, East Kent Mavericks. The Mavericks, clearly very focused on the game, struck first, when great defence from Alfie West saw him tipping a pass into the hands of the EKM receiver who had over-run the pass. This unlucky break was compounded when the receiver raced away to score. 
On their next possession though, the Exiles hit back, when Rumble found an unlikely target in RB Theo Alexis, who caught the ball beautifully in stride for a picture-book score.
On their next offensive possession, the Mavericks fumbled into their own end-zone, and Harrison Hill reacted quickest to fall on the ball and score. The next five minutes held more misfortune for the Exiles, as on the PAT attempt, QB Connor Weedon broke his ankle as a result of a late hit out of bounds, the DT unable to stop his momentum, and on the EKM offensive possession, Sean Lewis appeared to force a safety with the Mavericks QB throwing out of bounds, but instead was penalised for a personal foul, despite not taking the player to the ground.
This seemed to unsettle the Exiles, as just before the half, the Mavericks struck again with a pass into the endzone, and the teams turned around 12-12.
Things did not improve after the break for the Exiles, as a broken run appeared to put them in the lead, but the score was called back for a block in the back. Defences were clearly on top, but the final nail in the coffin happened with 3 minutes left. With EKM on offence, facing 4 and 15, the referee spotted the ball, establishing the LOS. EKM held their huddle on the defensive side of the ball, next to the Exiles DT, who was pushed away by a Mavericks player. The penalty flag came in......Unsportsmanlike conduct against the Exiles!!! This gave the Mavericks an automatic first down, and to add insult to injury, the Mavericks scored the go-ahead touchdown on the very next play.
With time running out, the Exiles drove down to the Mavericks 5 yard line, and on essentially the last play of the game, the Exiles had a shot to draw level, but could not punch the ball in, ending the game 18-12 to the Mavericks.
After the game, the Wembley Stallions announced that they would forfeit the final game to the Exiles due to a lack of fit players, giving the Exiles a 2-1 tournament record.
Afterwards, Exiles Head Coach Julius Hobbs said, " I was very please with the application from the players, and especially the effort on a very, very hot day. The Blitz game was just about the best we have played all season, and despite all the setbacks against EKM, the team fought hard. We gave ourselves a shot at the end, and that's all you can ask for. Despite the loss to EKM, we are still top of the division, with our destiny in our own hands, and we go on to the Warriors tournament with a great opportunity to make the post-season. "
He added, "I'm proud of all the players today, and thanks go to EKM for hosting the tournament, and the other teams for contributing fully to a very competitive day of football."
We are always happy to hear from any coaches or players interested in joining the Exiles. We can be contacted via the club website, or by e-mailing

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