Mike 'Re' Turner seals Play-offs for Exiles
Maidstone Pumas 0-45 Kent Exiles
The Kent Exiles guaranteed themselves a place in the BAFL play-offs last Sunday by inflicting a crushing defeat on the Maidstone Pumas by 45 points to Nil.
This local derby has a history of being a heated affair, and the scorching weather helped to make it one not for the faint hearted at the outset. The Exiles soon showed the Pumas they meant business by scoring on their first play of the game when great Britain international Stewart Muir went in virtually untouched from 58 yards out and a very early 6-0 lead. This was only the start of a great day for Muir, who finished with 116 yards on his 9 carries, and earned offensive most valuable player honours for his performance.
This set the tone for the game really, as the Exiles dominated on all sides of the ball. The Exiles defence was swarming, again led by Aaron Alexis who recorded 10 tackles on the day, whilst also holding their second opponent in a row to a zero in the pass completions box.
Mat Tompsett added a 19 yard field goal to the tally before one of the plays of the game when Michael Turner intercepted the Pumas quarterback and returned the ball 40 yards for the touchdown. The Exiles now led 15-0, and the Pumas had barely touched the ball.
The second quarter was played mainly by the refereeing crew, as nearly 20 flags were thrown for penalties which hampered both sides scoring ability. But the Exiles did break through once more before half time on a 2-yard pass from Matt Duncan to Grahame Warby.
The third quarter was again to be all about the Exiles, and they were determined to show the Pumas why they were top of the table. Duncan again found Warby, this time from 48 yards out to start the ball rolling, and this was soon followed up by Alex Campbell, who was on the end of a 21 yard Duncan strike. Tompsett added both extra points before rounding out the quarter with his second 19-yard field goal of the day, and the game was effectively already over with the Exiles leading 38-0.
The fourth quarter saw Turner step up and take his place in Exiles history, and become the first Exile to return two Interceptions for touchdowns in the same game, this time it was from 67 yards out, and is certain to be a highlight on the end of season DVD!
Rookie Quarterback Joel Grundy came on to lead the Exiles offence for the rest of the half, and in doing so completed his first ever pass, whilst also engineering two good drives into Pumas territory, but not being able to just punch the ball in. The Exiles were unlucky not to break the 50 point barrier late on when Roy Hall had a 70 yard punt return called back on a clipping penalty.
Head Coach Phil Wood paid tribute to his team following the game, “we’ve done well to qualify for the play-offs at this stage of the season, with three games still remaining, but a victory next week will seal the South East title for the first time in club history. We’ve really got to be disciplined in our play though, we could have wrapped this game up in the first half, but made stupid mistakes which meant it was harder than need be for us".
In a bizarre scheduling twist, the Exiles now face the Pumas again, this Sunday at home in Orpington. Kick-off is at 2.30pm, and admission is free. Full details can be found on the Exiles website, www.kentexiles.co.uk
1st Quarter – Exiles – Stewart Muir 58-yard run
1st Quarter – Exiles – Mat Tompsett 19-yard Field Goal
1st Quarter - Exiles – Michael Turner 40-yard Interception return
2nd Quarter – Exiles – Grahame Warby 2-yard pass from Matt Duncan
3rd Quarter – Exiles – Grahame Warby 48-yard pass from Matt Duncan. Mat Tompsett PAT Good
3rd Quarter – Exiles – Alex Campbell 21-yard pass from Matt Duncan, Mat Tompsett PAT Good
3rd Quarter – Exiles - Mat Tompsett 19-yard field goal
4th Quarter – Exiles – Michael Turner 67-yard Interception return, Mat Tompsett PAT Good
Most Valuable Players:
Offence – Stewart Muir, Running Back
Defence – Scott Lawrence, Defensive Line
Special Teams – Roy Hall, Defensive Back