Pirates open with win over Wolverines
April 11th, 2016
East Kilbride Pirates 20 Lancashire Wolverines 0
Sunday saw the curtain come up on the 2016 Northern Conference campaign, and the opening fixture saw last year’s winners take on the third placed Wolverines. Both sides were keen to gain some early impetus going into what will almost certainly be another closely run competition.
The game started with a minute’s applause for Pirates’ defensive back Rob Worboys who sadly passed away in the off-season. The home side also started the game with just ten men on defense, leaving Rob’s position open as a mark of respect.
Both sides struggled in the early exchanges, with defenses well on top, leading to a lot of work for the punting units. The first quarter passed without any score and the only drive that didn’t end in a punt came when Gary Meechan picked off a tipped pass from Lancashire QB David Mead.
The second period saw more of the same on a heavy pitch. The quarter started well, with the Pirates’ Gordon Wallace recovering a fumble, but a subsequent sack of home QB Neil Baptie saw the punter back on the field. Later, a Lee Collins interception regained possession but once more the offense stalled. A bad snap on the ensuing punt gave Lancashire their best field position of the game so far, and although they failed to make any progress they set up for a 41 yard field goal. The low kick rebounded off the offensive line and was gratefully recovered by Blair McTague. East Kilbride then put an 11-play drive together before they too had to settle for a field goal attempt. Craig Black slotted home from 28 yards to give the Pirates a 3-0 advantage that they took into the interval.
The third quarter saw the contest continue in the same vein as before the break. More work for the punters, with no fewer than seven kicks in this quarter alone. Almost inevitably, the first TD of the day came from a defensive player. On the last play of the period, debutant Harrison White intercepted Mead and returned the ball 35 yards to score. Black successfully added the extra point and EK moved into the final quarter with a 10-0 lead.
Early in the fourth period, QB Baptie was intercepted in his own half. Lancashire quickly moved the ball inside the 10-yard line, but the home defense looked to have held them, only for a Pass Interference call to give the Wolverines a new set of downs from the 2-yard line. That threat was quickly subdued when Nathan Carr, another young player making his first appearance for the club, intercepted the ball in the endzone. This appeared to knock the stuffing out of the visitors, and the Pirates went on to add another TD on a 25-yard pass from Baptie to Jamie McLaughlin. Steven Kane converted to make it 17-0 and the same player later concluded the scoring with a 26-yard field goal.
The Pirates were happy to come away from this encounter with a win and now have a break until Sunday 1 May when they host Tamworth Phoenix at Hamilton in what is sure to be another closely fought contest.
Game report by Bill Campbell
Photos courtesy Alastair Wilson, AJW Photography
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