Pirates torched by flaming Phoenix

May 3rd, 2016

Ivor Clark courtesy Duncan Gray, Duncolm PhotographyEast Kilbride Pirates 7 Tamworth Phoenix 55

East Kilbride not only gave up their eight year old unbeaten home League record, but suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of their closest rivals. Tamworth simply outplayed the Pirates in every phase of the game and have put themselves in the driving seat for the race to the Northern Conference title.

The home side got off to the worst possible start when QB Neil Baptie was intercepted on the third play of the game. Tamworth’s Alasdair Jarvis returned the pick for a 25-yard TD and Alex Lenkowski added the conversion. East Kilbride’s second drive proved more successful though, with Baptie completing to Andrew Prentice and Andrew Meechan as the ball moved inside the Tamworth red zone. An 18-yard completion to Prentice rounded off the drive, and in doing so, the young tight-end became the first player to have scored at every level (Youth, Junior and Senior) for the Club. Craig Black then slotted the extra point to level the scores. The teams traded punts before Tamworth put together their first real offensive drive to take the lead. The eleventh play of that drive saw QB Patrick Daley pass to number 11 Ben Burslem from 11 yards and Lenkowski again converted to leave Phoenix 14-7 ahead.

The second quarter started with another Pirates turnover. Baptie was intercepted by Will Hobbs who returned it to the 2-yard line. Daley immediately found William Hussey for the TD before Lenkowski made it 21-7. Tamworth were now starting to impose themselves on the game and scored three more touchdowns before the interval. Daley completed a 6-yard pass to James Hossack, he also found Hussey for a second time, from 10 yards on this occasion and concluded the half with a 5-yarder to Marcus Boswell. Two of the three TD’s were converted by Lenkowski, leaving the Pirates in a 41-7 hole going into the second half.

Any hopes of a second half revival were quickly dashed when Phoenix received the kick and marched down to the Pirates 2-yard line. From there Adam Hope carried over for the first rushing TD of the day. Lenkowski’s kick made it 48-7 leading to the additional ignominy of a running clock being imposed. A second rushing TD was added by Elliot Walters on a 29-yard scamper. Lenkowski once more converted with what was surprisingly, and possibly thankfully, the last score of the game.

In the final period both sides were happy to see out the game, giving playing time to squad players with an eye to the future. East Kilbride’s future is as close as Saturday 7 May when they entertain Coventry Jets at Hamilton Rugby Club (Kick off 14:30). They must quickly put Sunday’s poor display behind them and get back to winning ways to keep the season alive.

Game report by Bill Campbell

Photo courtesy Duncan Gray, Duncolm Photography


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