Hamilton Buccaneers – youth tournament report

July 11th, 2018

Hamilton Buccaneers played host to the final Youth Tournament of the Season on Saturday. The late withdrawal of Gateshead Senators left the Scottish triumvirate to complete a shortened round-robin event.

First up was the home side against near neighbour East Kilbride Pirates. Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, the Pirates scored early then proceeded to keep their foot on the accelerator as they raced to a comfortable victory. The first drive saw EK score on a long run from Ryan Hannah before Hamilton’s short-lived response floundered when a high snap ran out the back of the endzone for a safety. The Pirates fumbled the ball away on their second offensive series, only for the Buccs to do the exact same thing on the very next play, Greg Black scooping the ball to score 6 points. A second safety was followed by another rushing TD for Hannah with Black also running in the 2PAT. The Buccs continued to contribute to their own woes when Matt Black intercepted a wayward pass, returning it for a TD then Logan Gallacher passed to Ewan Kelly for the extra points. A further rushing TD for Robbie McGregor followed by a third safety on a Jordan McSorley tackle saw EK 40-0 ahead at half time.

The pattern continued after the restart, another Hamilton fumble was returned for a TD, Hannah notching his third of the game. Paul Ravey then came up with another interception for a pick-6 before Gallacher passed to Matt Long for the final touchdown of the game. A successful 1-point conversion left the final score as Hamilton Buccaneers 00 – East Kilbride Pirates 61.

The second game was a title showdown between the Pirates and Highland Wildcats. The winner would take the Scottish Divisional Title and go forward to Britbowl while the runner-up would have to make do with the Plate competition.

It was the Inverness side that struck the first blow when Callum Wilson rounded off their opening drive with a scoring pass to Cameron Oag. EKP tied the scores when Logan Gallacher connected with Paul Ravey for a TD, but the Wildcats jumped back in front on another pass completion, Wilson finding Anthony Daley on this occasion. The aerial battle continued and the Pirates leveled the scores again on a Gallacher-Greg Black hook up. EK then took their first lead of the game when the same duo linked up for the 2PAT. The tide then appeared to turn in the Pirates’ favour when Guy Shafar came up with the interception and EK capitalised, Gallacher again finding Ravey for the TD and a 20-12 interval lead.

East Kilbride lost possession on a fumble early in the second half. This allowed Highland to reduce the deficit with a strong TD run by Chris Mackay-Reid. The Pirates then turned the ball over on downs before getting it back on a Greg Black interception. They couldn’t take advantage of the turnover however, and came up short once again. This allowed the Wildcats to move the ball steadily upfield using their ground attack before rounding off the drive with a TD pass from Wilson to Sean McWilliams for the go -ahead score. EK had one last chance, but an incomplete pass on fourth down allowed Highland to take a knee and claim the vital victory.

In a potential turnaround of fortunes, other scores from the weekend may allow East Kilbride Pirates to earn a ticket to youth Britbowl via the  ‘wildcard’ slot for best second-placed team across the seven participating conferences. With a further weekend of tournaments in England later this month, official confirmation won’t be given until after these have been completed.

The last game had an air of “after the Lord-Mayor’s show” about it. With nothing to play for, the Buccaneers took the chance to give playing time to their younger players including 13 year old QB Blair Kean, with one eye already on next season. They also rotated the small squad to allow players some game time is positions they were less familiar with.
Highland held Hamilton’s opening drive then began the scoring on their own first possession. QB Stuart Sandison connected with Cameron Oag before finding the same player for the 2PAT. On their next offensive drive Sandison again came up with the goods, this time passing to Sean McWilliams. The one-way traffic continued with another passing TD, this time finding Aimee Bright for 6. Before the break, the Wildcats notched their 4th score with Sandison & McWilliams again doing the damage and making it 26-0.

The second half started well for Hamilton when Ronan Haddow pulled in an interception. Unfortunately they immediately returned the favour when Ali Fraser came up with a pick-6. It was deja-vu all over again on the Buccs next drive. Despite some good runs from Jac Steele, another interception was returned to the house, Oag the beneficiary this time round. The 2PAT run was also successful before the scoring was completed with a Wilson-McWilliams pass that went the full length of the field.

Tournament report by Bill Campbell



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