Exiles are denied by thrilling fightback

Mark Floyd, guesting for the Exiles team, is stopped in his tracks.
Mark Floyd, guesting for the Exiles team, is stopped in his tracks.

Bridlington welcomed ex-players back to the club on Boxing Day, for the annual festive Exiles match which is played for the Bill Hutchinson trophy.

The Exiles side was made up of players that have now moved on to other clubs, retired players and those have stepped down from the first team to assist the second team.

Both sides were bolstered by the up-and-coming under 17s side, who didn’t look out of place as they joined their older counterparts.

Bridlington pressurised the Exiles form the start, mounting attack after attack, eventually releasing the backs for Ben Dean to score the first converted try of the match in the corner.The Exiles then turned around well with a great run by Tim Smith, as he danced through the defence, to release Kyle Dench to score an unconverted try.

But this made Bridlington more determined as they ran in another quick try from a five-metre lineout following a penalty, as Ntsikayomzi Daka crashed over for a converted try.

Exiles’ forwards put phases together as they pinned Bridlington in their own 22, then quick ball to the backs saw Andy Middleton score a try.

The game seemed to be yo-yoing as the teams took turned in scoring tries, with Bridlington edging further away due to successful conversion kicks. But it was Exiles who scored the next try through Connor Williamson, to put them in front by a single point.

Bridlington responded from the restart, making quick progress up the field, winning a penalty 10 metres short, and Auryn Murray took a quick tap and dived through to score another converted try.

Bridlington that turned the ball over in a tackle but the experience of the Exiles showed as they stripped the ball, for Dench to break through the defensive line to score beneath the posts, and the half ended 22-21 to the Exiles.

The second half started with a bang, as Exiles were over the line in the first couple of minutes, but this was held up, allowing Bridlington to clear the line after a five-metre scrum, by winning a penalty. A good run by Taylah Muru-King took them to halfway, where a scrum was awarded to the Exiles.

From this, scrum half Oliver Stephenson sniped around the scrum then ran in for a try, as he zig-zagged through many tackle attempts, to score beneath the posts.

Exiles were again on the offensive very soon after the restart, Smith ran down the touchline, then to the posts to score yet another try to firmly put them in the lead by 15 points.

This seemed to fire up the Bridlington side. They battened down the hatches, not conceding another point in the game, scoring four unanswered tries through Auryn Murray, Gary Heeley, PJ Freeman and Adam Dixon.

Exiles had the last attacking play of the game, as the forwards made good ground, releasing the backs on halfway, but a kick ahead by Dench bounced into touch.