May 21 2013 Latest news:
Friday, May 25, 2012
Kent Exiles 29 Cambridgeshire Cats 30
Head coach Tony Bainbridge believes Kent Exiles’ performance in Sunday’s match bodes well for the rest of the season – despite seeing his side suffer their third defeat in four matches.
Exiles were second best for much of the first half, but a refusal to throw in the towel had Cats hanging on for victory, as the hosts missed a gilt-edged chance to win on the stroke of full-time.
Bainbridge said: “Nobody really expected us to be in this game, but we showed we can play good, tough football.
“We drove the ball well and made some good defensive plays.
“Take out a few big plays for the Cats and this would have been a very different scoreline.”
Cats’ American contingent got them off to a flying start as they led 17-0 at the end of the first quarter.
But a change in fortune in the second began with a Lee Baxter sack of the Cats’ quarterback in the endzone for a safety and two points for the Exiles.
Zac Ritchie then orchestrated a drive, which finished with Colin Chislett scoring on a 38-yard pass and Bradley McManus kicked the extra point to knock the deficit down to eight.
Cats extended their lead with a touchdown, but a great kick return from junior-team graduate Gavin Jones sparked an offence and Ritchie found Chislett once again for a score from five yards out.
McManus again kicked the point to leave the match in the balance at half-time, 23-16.
The second half started with another great Exiles drive. Kieron Woolmer ran for tough yards, while Ritchie found Wesley Eversley with a couple of passes, before Miller caught the touchdown pass five yards out. McManus was good with the point to tie the score.
Scoring then subsided as both teams tried to regain their composure, with Jon Dwyer strong in defence for the Exiles.
But just when the Exiles appeared to be turning the screw a 73-yard catch and run stunned the home crowd and had the Cats back in front with only minutes remaining.
With the game on the line the Exiles offence came good with two stunning plays.
Firstly, rookie receiver Ennis Alhashimi pulled in a sensational one-handed catch.
Then mercurial running back Eversley took a short pass from Ritchie and turned it into a stunning touchdown as he twisted, turned and broke tackles before forcing his way over the line.
With a minute remaining, Bainbridge opted to attempt the two-point conversion rather than the one-point kick.
And, despite a diving effort, Ritchie’s pass to Jon Miller fell agonisingly incomplete in the end-zone.