Pirates perfect so far

October 16th, 2018

The Pirates women’s flag team enter week 2 of the Opal Series with a perfect 4-0 record, matched only in the North by their competitive rivals, the Sheffield Giants.

The Giants sit atop of the North conference of the Opal Series by virtue of a superior points difference, but there were plenty of positives for the Pirates on week one.

Since the first day of action, a small armada of Pirates took part in Pink Bowl in the Netherlands, where they finished 4th overall! This was a tremendous achievement with a squad of only 6 players!

Domestically, the Pirates kicked their season off in style with a commanding victory over the Nottingham Green side. The vaunted defence from a year ago pitched a shut-out with strong tackling, limiting the Nottingham Green’s offensive gains. The scoring unit for the Pirates started the day on fire, with 10 TDs and XPs scored – with nine different receivers getting their name on the scoresheet. Defensively, Katy Meina snagged nine tackles in her first start for the Pirates, while Clare Dynes continued to be lethal from five yards out, adding 2 TDs and 4 XPs from close distance.  70-0 was the final score in the end.

In their second contest, the East Kilbride side took on the other Nottingham University side, the Nottingham Gold outfit. It was a much tighter contest, as the conservative Gold defence stifled the Pirates offense. The defence was as resolute as ever, but let in a score late in the first half to make this a nervy affair. Louise Donnelly provided the insurance score for the Pirates to give them an unassailable lead, while Heather Spurling McGowan’s 6 tackles and numerous bat-downs saw the Pirates grind out the win. The final in this one was 20-7, as the Pirates now prepared to face the Sheffield Hallam Warriors.

The Hallam Warriors were a playoff side from a year ago, and came into the game rested, while the Pirates were in their third game in a row. The Pirate women, coming off a somewhat disappointing performance, put in arguably their most complete showing of the day.  On offense, the Warriors could not compete with the speed of the debuting Saskia Köttler, who broke the game open in the first half with a huge score. The Pirates defence responded to the challenge, pitching another shut out and running two picks back for touchdowns themselves – Robyn McCluskey put the exclamation mark on a huge win for the Pirates, as bounced back in style. The Pirates prevailed, 53-0.

In their final game of the day, the Pirates would have to knock off some more rust after a lengthy break in proceedings. The Hallam Rangers awaited them, and were put to the sword as the Pirates put in another huge performance. The defence was firing on all cylinders now, and safety Kerry McLaughlin was rampant in the back end of the Pirates defence – she accounted for 4 interceptions in limited action!

On offence, Aynesley Barclay continued her terrific day, playing mistake-free football, going the whole day without throwing a single interception. She took advantage of the short field the defence gave her, scoring 80 more points for the Pirates.

The game-day MVPs for the Pirates were Saskia Köttler (offense) and Robyn McCluskey (defense)!

Looking forward to round 2
The Pirates now face off against some familiar opposition at the next game-day. The Chorley Buccaneers, another playoff side from last year, await the Pirates first. The Buccaneers played the Pirates close on occasions last year, so this will be far from a formality for the Pirates!

Next up, the Sheffield Giants await. The Giants were rampant in the first week of action, scoring at will and conceding 0 points on the day. The Pirates and Giants split their series last year, so it’ll take a huge performance from the Pirates to pull off the upset.

The Nottingham Green and Gold round off the day for the Pirates; both teams are likely going to look much different, so EK will need to be on high alert to avoid any potential banana skins.

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Review by Andrew Gibson
Photos courtesy Esme Greenan


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