Pirates pillage Sheffield

October 28th, 2018

The East Kilbride Pirates women’s flag team improved their record to 8-0 with 4 more resounding wins, including a sound victory over the much-fancied Sheffield Giants.

The day opened with a game against something of a bogey team for the Pirates – the Chorley Buccaneers. In last year’s games, the Buccaneers played the Pirates close, with a low-risk offence limiting the Pirates’ defence chances to make vital interceptions. This game was a perfect tune-up for the Pirates, as they coasted to a 46-0 win. Aynsley Barclay threw for 7 TDs, with 6 different receivers getting on in on the scoring action.

Next for the Pirates was the huge contest against the Sheffield Giants. The Giants had been rampant in week one, and had a star studded line-up, featuring several GB Gold and Silver players. The Pirates feature one, but they were never outgunned in this fight. The Giants scored early to take the lead, but the Pirates responded with an expert drive as Aynsley found Louise Donnelly for a massive answer. From then on the Pirates defence took over, and an interception from Kerry McLaughlin stole a valuable possession for the Pirates, and stole momentum in this contest.

With the talent in their ranks, the Giants would begin to move the ball effectively again, but they were kept in 4th in long situations, thanks largely to the consistent pressure applied by blitzer Rebecca Gibson. Her two sacks and countless hurries kept the Giants QB off target. Rebecca even picked up a black-eye for her effort, but kept grinding to give the defenders in coverage opportunities to make plays on the ball. This was no more evident than when you look at the tackles made in the front zones – Robyn McCluskey and Heather Spurling-McGowan combined for 15 stops, as their strong tackling stopped the Giants from marching. The Giants managed another score at the start of the second half, and an additional mid-way through to keep things tight, but the offence took over.

Facing 4th and short just before the half way line, the Pirates took a shot deep to Louise Donnelly, putting them at the 1 yard line. A couple of plays, and precious minutes later, the Pirates retook their two score lead, and the defence was able to get another stop in a magnificent performance. The final score was 31-19, and it was advantage Pirates in the north!

The third game of the day saw the Pirates take on the Nottingham Green for the second time this season. A comfortable win in week one was punctuated with a 72-0 win here. 6 TDs from the offence, and 5 from the defence, gave the Pirates their seventh win of the year. Saskia found the end zone 3 more times, while Heather, Robyn, Paige Cawley and Katy Meina all raced to pay dirt on defence – Katy repeated the trick for her first ever competitive touchdowns with 2 in this game.

The final game of a gruelling contest was against the ever-improving Nottingham Gold. In week one, a 20-7 win was something of a dampener on proceedings, and this game threatened to be just as frustrating for the Pirates. They went into the half one score ahead, but tightened the screws in the second period   . The defence pitched a shut-out after the interval, while the offence re-found their scoring form. Paige and Saskia scored on multiple occasions, while Robyn racked up a ridiculous 15 tackles at the heart of the defence.

The game-day MVPs went to Louise Donnelly and Heather Spurling-McGowan. Louise’s massive performance against the Sheffield Giants showed how far she’s come as a weapon for the Pirates offence. Heather’s leadership and constant motivation of the defence kept them firing on all cylinders, as they had another outstanding day, scoring as many TDs as they conceded.

Next up, the Pirates march to Manchester to take on Hallam Warriors and Rangers. They round off their day with a showdown against the hosting Titans!

Report by Andrew Gibson
Photos courtesy Esme Greenan


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