Pirates drill to success from solid defensive platform

April 15th, 2019

Aberdeen Roughnecks 12 – East Kilbride Pirates 23

Last weekend saw the Pirates play their first game in Division 1 since 2011 and also their first competitive visit to the Granite City in 25 years. Having gone winless in 2018 and been relegated as a result, many were wondering if East Kilbride’s downward spiral would continue. Their opponents were moving in the opposite direction following their promotion from Division 2 after a successful 2018 campaign.

Early exchanges were cautious, but the Pirates Defense were already exerting their influence on the game, immediately shutting down the Roughnecks’ running attack. Home QB Chris Breen was sacked by Steven Kane on the first play after kick off, a fate the Pirates were to inflict a further eleven times during the contest. EK took the lead on their third possession when veteran QB Neil Baptie ran the ball in from 14 yards. Rookie kicker Allan Creer added the PAT for a 7-0 first quarter lead.

The second period was scoreless, with the visitors unable to capitalise on offence despite regular good field position.

The Pirates received the kick off after the restart, but once more failed to make sufficient progress and soon had to punt. Creer’s attempt was blocked by the home side and recovered by Chris Martin who returned it 17 yards for a TD. Their PAT kick was no good but EK now only held a 1-point advantage. They soon responded though, and it was that man Baptie who again did the damage. Faking the hand off to the right, Baptie rolled out to his left before showing a fine turn of speed to race down the home sideline for a 53-yard TD. Creer again converted to make it 14-6 and give East Kilbride some breathing space. It was Creer once more who was next on the scoreboard. The former professional goalkeeper, now playing on the D-Line for the Pirates, sacked Breen in the endzone for a Safety to leave his team 16-6 ahead at the end of the Third Period.

That lead was extended early in the Fourth Quarter when Baptie notched his third TD of the day. It was his elusive running that proved decisive, resulting in a 21-yard dash which Creer converted. Aberdeen did score an offensive TD late in the contest, when Breen passed to Robert Hayes from 17-yards. The attempted 2-point conversion run was stopped short, and it only remained for the Pirates to end the game the same way it had started, with a Jamie Christie sack of the beleaguered home QB.

So a dominant defensive performance from EK, but there is still a good bit of fine tuning to be done to a stuttering Offense. They do have time to work on things however, as the next fixture is the home tie with Yorkshire Rams on May 12.

Report by Bill Campbell
Photographs courtest Duncan Gray, Duncolm Photography


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