East Kilbride Pirates youth tournament report
July 25th, 2017
East Kilbride Pirates hosted the last tournament of the regular season on Saturday, and despite having already clinched top spot in the Scottish Conference, they were keen to maintain their unbeaten record.
First up were the Edinburgh Wolves. After stopping the Wolves on their opening drive, the Pirates soon moved into the lead on a 4th Down pass from Scott McKigen to Jack Cochrane. McKigen also connected with Paul Ravey for the extra point and an early 7-0 lead. Edinburgh’s next drive stalled when Declan Kelly hauled in an interception, but EK couldn’t capitalise on this occasion. A second score wasn’t too far away however, and that man Cochrane scored again on a long run, a feat he repeated on the Pirates subsequent offensive play, again running the ball home on 1st Down. The Wolves’ next drive lasted just 1 play, with Declan Kelly again intercepting. This time he returned for a TD, giving the Pirates a 25-0 advantage at half time. The second period saw more of the same. McKigen and Cochrane teamed up again to score then McKigen ran in his own TD on the following drive. Another pick by debutant Guy Shafar immediately regained possession for EK, allowing a 3-play drive to be capped by a McKigen pass to Ewan Kelly. Edinburgh then got a consolation TD when QB John Kohl threw to Cammy Tait, who ran the ball all the way to the endzone. There was still time for the hosts to add 2 further scores with McKigen running in his second TD before Logan Gallacher came in at QB and passed to Ewan Kelly to end the game at 57-6.
Highland Wildcats provided the opposition in Game 2 and a closer game ensued. It started in a familiar fashion, with McKigen again passing to Cochrane for the go ahead score. Highland came straight back though and levelled on a pass from James MacLean to Efem Demirel. East Kilbride were unable to respond on their next drive, but immediately after the turnover, Jack Cochrane, playing on Defence, came up with the Pick-6 to give the Pirates a narrow 12-6 lead as the game reached the interval. Both teams went 4-and-out to start the second half before the productive partnership of McKigen and Cochrane added another TD. They repeated process later in the game to extend the lead to 24-6, before Declan Kelly snared another interception and returned it for a touchdown, making it 30-6 at the whistle.
In the final game it was Hamilton Buccaneers that stood between the Pirates and a perfect 12-0 season. EK were first to show and a strong run by Ben Hewitt gave them an early lead. That was extended on their next possession when Mathew Black ran the ball home on 1st Down. The Buccs bounced straight back however, and scored on their own long run by Youssef Betout to narrow the gap to 12-6. East Kilbride reinstated their advantage on another rushing TD, with Greg Black doing the damage this time. He also ran in the 2-point conversion, padding the lead to 20-6. That quickly became 26 on a McKigen–Paul Ravey connection, then 32 with Declan Kelly completing his hat-trick of interception returns before the break. The second half was a less frantic affair. McKigen and Cochrane teamed up once again for their compulsory TD, while Ravey pulled in the 2PAT. The teams then traded interceptions, Guy Shafar getting his second of the day for EK before Christian Rubuga returned the favour for Hamilton. From there Betout ran in his second TD of the game to conclude the scoring at 40-12 to the home side.
East Kilbride can now look forward to the Finals Tournament in Sheffield next month with some confidence, and they will be determined to hold on to the title that they won in 2016.
East Kilbride Pirates 57:06 Edinburgh Wolves
Hamilton Buccaneers 18:43 Highland Wildcats
East Kilbride Pirates 30:06 Highland Wildcats
Hamilton Buccaneers 14:14 Edinburgh Wolves
East Kilbride Pirates 40:12 Hamilton Buccaneers
Highland Wildcats 56:06 Edinburgh Wolves
Report by Bill Campbell
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