Phoenix burn Pirates with 48-0 shutout win

June 20th, 2017

Tamworth Phoenix 48 – East Kilbride Pirates 00

The momentum that the Pirates had been gradually building in the early part of this campaign came to a shuddering halt as they hit the wall known as Tamworth Phoenix on Sunday. This was the first time East Kilbride had failed to score in a league game, since they were shut out by the same team in May 2012.

Steven Kane kicked off for the Pirates who immediately got their first break of the day.  The ball rebounded off an unsuspecting Tamworth player and was recovered by Gordon Wallace. However, they couldn’t capitalise on the gift and soon had to punt.  The home side quickly got into their stride and took just six plays to score when running back Elliot Walters finished the drive with a 32-yard carry, evading several attempted tackles along the way. Alex Lenkowski then added the conversion to make it 7-0. EK again went 3-and-out and had to punt. Tamworth’s second possession brought their second TD. Just four plays needed this time before Walters scored again from 19 yards and Lenkowski converted.

With things already looking ominous for the Pirates, they got worse two plays after the restart. A fumbled exchange between QB Neil Baptie and running back Scott Widdowson went to ground, only to be recovered and returned 17 yards to the house by Raphael Omozusi, followed by Lenkowski’s PAT. Despite the clear blue skies, and sweltering heat, dark clouds were beginning to form over the Pirates’ day.

In the second quarter, the pattern remained unchanged. EK were unable to sustain any offensive momentum, while their hosts appeared able to score every time they touched the ball. Phoenix QB Patrick Daley steered his team from their own 20-yard line to the Pirates 9 before connecting with Marcus Boswell for another TD which Lenkowski again converted. Tamworth’s next possession started inside EK territory and once more concluded with a score. Daley found Adam Hennessey from 5 yards.

Already cruising, the Phoenix tried to go for a 2-point conversion, but Lenkowski’s sneaky pass attempt was broken up by Andy Shaw. With the Pirates desperate to get to half time, they suffered another blow with the last play of the half. Daley and Hennessey for a second time connected from short yardage and Lenkowski converted to leave EK on the wrong end of a 41-0 score at the break.

With a running clock in operation after the interval, periods 3 and 4 passed quickly, and only one more score was added. In the middle of Q3, Daley completed his day’s work when he passed to Ben Burslem from 23 yards. Lenkowski duly converted to conclude the scoring.

The Pirates must now lick their wounds, both physical and mental, and quickly regroup as they face Merseyside Nighthawks this weekend in what could be another tough encounter. The Nighthawks, who defeated the Pirates twice last season, arrive at Hamilton Rugby Club on Sunday 25 June at 2.30pm. That game is preceded by the Pirates Junior side taking on Highland Wildcats at 12:00.

Game report by Bill Campbell



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