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MATCH REPORT - Kent Exiles 35-7 Cambridgeshire Cats

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The Kent Exiles began the 2017 season with a comfortable 35-7 victory over newly promoted Cambridgeshire Cats in Cambridge on Sunday. Coming off a successful 2016 season which saw the Exiles reach the division 1 semi-finals, hopes were high in the Exiles camp of a positive start against the Cats.

The visitors wasted little time in displaying their dominance, forcing Cambridgeshire into a three-and-out on their first offensive possession before a 46 yard punt return from Aaron Patterson set up the Exiles in great field position. Running back Dan Exell then ran in a 14-yard touchdown on Kent’s first offensive play from scrimmage to take an early lead for the visitors.

After forcing the hosts to punt once again, the Exiles added to their lead. A four-yard pass from veteran QB Zac Ritchie to Adam Lillis was followed by an impressive 45-yard score from Dan Exell as the visitor’s explosive offensive began to take control.

The Exiles defensive effort in the early stages was impressive as they refused to allow a Cats’ first down until the second half. A sack of the Cambridgeshire QB was swiftly followed by an interception from Joe Alexis to once again set up the Exiles in Cambridgeshire territory. Three plays later and Ritchie found Lillis in the end zone for the third score of the game midway through the first quarter.

Kent’s defensive dominance and explosive offense combined again in the second quarter as Nick Mayer recorded another Exiles interception and a nine-play 61-yard drive was capped off with Exell’s third rushing score of the game.

The scoring for Kent was not over and A-Jay Crabbe recorded his first Exiles touchdown on a 37-yard catch and run early in the third quarter to take the score to 35-0. After that, the visitors took the opportunity to give some of their younger players their chance to shine and QB James Cook took to the field for the first time as a senior.

The Cats did score a consolation touchdown in the third quarter but the Exiles made sure to limit mistakes and record an opening day victory.

Ritchie totalled 137 yards and two touchdowns whilst Exell rushed for three scores and 87 yards George Eghator and Harry Kent also chipped in with 31 and 20 yards respectively. On the defensive side, Joe Alexis recorded five tackles and an interception whilst Nick Clifford and Nick Mayer each had an interception. Charles Mulvihill also added four tackles to an incredible defensive effort.

Next up for the Exiles is another away game against a promoted team as they visit the London Hornets in two weeks time.


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