Hamilton Buccaneers youth tournament report

July 3rd, 2017

July 1 marked the fifth anniversary of the formation of Hamilton Buccaneers and to celebrate they hosted the most recent Scottish Youth Tournament. First up for the home side was a game against a strong Highland Wildcats team. On the back of a multi-TD performance by running back Aaron Paterson, the Wildcats ran out comprehensive winners in a 57-0 rout. Meanwhile, on the adjacent field, East Kilbride Pirates U-17’s were defeating Edinburgh Wolves 50-14.

Next up for the Buccs, was a game against local adversaries, EK Pirates. With both sides being part of the wider Pirates organisation, any rivalry was a friendly one. The Pirates were first on the board following a strong TD run from Jack Cochrane. EK added a second rushing score soon afterwards when Greg Black carried the ball from his own half to the Hamilton endzone.

QB Scott McKigen then passed to Cochrane for the 2-point conversion, stretching the lead to 14-0. That then became 16-0 when the Buccs gave up a Safety on the second play after the restart. Moments later McKigen connected with Cochrane on 1st Down to go the full length of the field. McKigen also found Jordan McSorley with the conversion pass to take the score to 23-0.

Hamilton bounced back and got on the board following a long run by Christian Rubuga. Buccs QB Lewis Smith also added a 2-point conversion with a pass to Gunther Ofori. EK restored their advantage when McKigen passed to Cochrane and added an extra point by passing to Paul Ravey. Immediately before half time, Smith narrowed the arrears with a pass to Steven Murdoch which went the distance. The conversion attempt fell incomplete leaving EK 30-14 up at the break.

The Pirates carried on in the same vein after the interval. McKigen added another unconverted TD, this time to Ravey, before a second Safety extended the lead further. Still not giving up, Hamilton were next to score with Smith and Murdoch again teaming up for a full distance TD. Any hopes of a comeback were dashed when Cochrane ran in his fourth TD of the game as well as the resulting 2-pointer. It only remained for Smith and Murdoch to score for a third time to see the game end 46-26 in the Pirates’ favour.

The third round of games saw Hamilton end a miserable day with a 34-14 loss to Edinburgh. However, the game between East Kilbride and Highland was of major significance, with the Inverness based side having to win to prevent the Pirates securing the Scottish Divisional title. The Wildcats were first to show and took the lead on a passing play from James MacLean to Efem Demirel. EKP responded with their own passing TD when McKigen and Cochrane again combined to tie the score at 6-6.

The same duo gave the Pirates their first lead of the game, and McKigen also found Ravey for the extra point.  East Kilbride’s next possession was a mirror image of their last, McKigen to Cochrane for the TD and McKigen to Ravey for the conversion. Half time saw the Pirates lead by 21-6.

Just two plays after the restart and the Pirates scored again, with McKigen passing to Ewan Kelly this time. Another McKigenCochrane TD came along midway through the half and it only remained for Cochrane to round off his high-scoring day with an audacious one-handed interception that he returned all the way to the endzone. So a 39-6 win for EK saw them retain their Scottish crown with one round of games to spare. They will now go forward to National Finals Day at Sheffield    , hoping to defend the title they won in 2016.

Hamilton Buccaneers         00 : 57            Highland Wildcats

East Kilbride Pirates            50 : 14            Edinburgh Wolves

Hamilton Buccaneers         26 : 46            East Kilbride Pirates

Highland Wildcats                42 : 13            Edinburgh Wolves

Hamilton Buccaneers         14 : 34            Edinburgh Wolves

East Kilbride Pirates            39 : 06            Highland Wildcats

Report by Bill Campbell
Photos Amanda McDonald


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