The First Winning Season
In 1998 the Exiles moved from Edenbridge to Orpington, to attract new members to the team from the local London areas. The Exiles had been strengthened by an influx of veterans coming out of retirement to play one last year, and rookies looking to get in to the sport, and created the UKs version of the "over the hill club".
So with greater depth than ever before, the Exiles entered the 98 season full of hope. It turned out to be the teams best year ever ending with their first winning season, at 6-4, and just missing out on a playoff spot. The highlights of the season were QB Dan Dart being the rated the best quarterback in division 2 that year and putting together their biggest victory ever 43-6 over the Maidstone Pumas.
1998 though will be remembered most for the teams greatest victory to date. The Exiles were away to the London Mets, who were undefeated, and had been beaten by them 44-19 earlier that year. The Mets strong rushing game had been halted by the Exiles tough Defence and the Mets were 6-0 up with 5 minutes remaining. It was then, after a fine drive, that Rob Hall caught a seven yard touchdown pass from QB Dan Dart to tie the game 6-6. Rob Whalley's Extra point kick was tipped at the line, but not enough to stop it from crawling over the bar, and gaining the Exiles a 7-6 victory, thus spoiling the Mets perfect season, and giving the Exiles a chance of post-season play for the first time ever.
This year saw the Mets and the Sabres advance to the playoffs, and the Exiles sit at home despite their best ever season. Any previous year would have seen the Exiles in post season play, but a change to the playoff format meant that we cruelly missed out.
Both the Mets and Sabres were eliminated before the final.
This year was also the first for our new local rivals the Maidstone Pumas.
END OF SEASON AWARDS
Players player of the year: Dan Dart
Coaches player of the year: Neil Reynolds
Offensive player of the year: Dan Dart
Defensive player of the year: Colin Field
Lineman of the year: Aaron Holmes
Rookie of the year: Terry Jeacock