Season ends for Pirates with loss away to Sheffield Giants

August 9th, 2017

Sheffield Giants 46 – East Kilbride Pirates 14

The curtain came down on the Pirates’ 2017 Season, and unfortunately there was no grand finale to close out the campaign.

EK kicked off and soon made the home side punt, however a holding call on the return saw the Pirates start deep in their own territory. The drive was cut short when a Neil Baptie pass was picked off and returned to the Pirates’ 17-yard line. A couple of short runs, aided by two offside penalties against the defence, took the ball to the 4-yard line from where Brad Thompson connected with Matthew Wade for the TD and Alex Cooper tagged on the PAT. The next drive from the Pirates ended with a Steven Kane punt which found the Sheffield endzone. Starting from their 20, Giants’ running back Sam Broughton broke free and galloped 60 yards untouched for the score and Josh Allen also ran in the 2PAT. East Kilbride’s response was short lived as a wayward Baptie pass was again picked off, this time by Reece Waller who gleefully returned it 19 yards to score. Cooper again converted and the Giants were 22-0 ahead early in the game. There was even more woe ahead for the visitors. A third interception was returned to the EK 3, and two plays later Harry O’Neill carried the ball for a 2-yard TD that Cooper converted,

The Pirates had a chance to narrow the 29 point gap early in the second period. Having moved the ball to the Sheffield 4, they chose to run the ball in and only succeeded in fumbling away possession. They paid an expensive price for that carelessness as Sheffield marched the ball downfield, capping a 9-play drive with a 13-yard pass from Thompson to Wade before Cooper added the PAT. A 4-and-out by EK allowed the Giants to further increase their lead. A 28-yard run by Allen and a Cooper conversion stretched the lead to 43-0.  East Kilbride eventually got on the board when rookie running back Steven Williamson scored on an 8-yard run that Steven Kane converted. A Giants’ punt gave the visitors one last drive before the interval, and they made the most of it, ending on a 7 yard TD pass from Neil Baptie to Ivor Clark. Kane again converted to make the score 43-14 at half time.

After a high scoring first half, the third quarter was both scoreless and uneventful. Early in the fourth Sheffield added a 21-yard field goal from Cooper to end the scoring.

So once again a slow start left the Pirates with an insurmountable deficit to navigate. Across the season they have been outscored 116-34 in the first quarter of games, and will need to find a way to address this for next season.

Now, as the latest tranche of retirees and departures move on and the next class of graduates come through from the Juniors to be joined by new recruits in January, preparations are already under way for the 2018 campaign.

Game report by Bill Campbell


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