Pirates Pillaged by Victorious Vikings
July 22nd, 2019
East Kilbride Pirates 00 – Northumberland Vikings 05
It’s not clear whether it was caused by the overhead conditions or big game nerves, but East Kilbride chose the wrong time to put up their poorest performance of the campaign. While their Defence repeatedly kept them in the contest, a stuttering Offence was unable to penetrate the Vikings’ back line. The old bug bear of ill-discipline also reared its ugly head, with no fewer than 25 accepted penalties incurred (others were offset or declined), giving 2 45 free yards to their opponents.
The contest started fairly brightly with the Pirates forcing an early turnover. Angus Mackintosh recovered a Vikings’ fumble and returned it inside the red zone. However, despite the good starting position, EK were unable to punch the ball home and stalled on a 4th Down incompletion. With both defences well on top, the punters saw plenty of game time, and the visitors were winning the field position battle as the Pirates’ Special Teams seemed unwilling to return kicks and continually found themselves pinned back. This pattern continued throughout the second quarter, and the stalemate remained unbroken at half time.
The third quarter started in much the same way as the first. Northumberland’s opening drive coming to an early halt when Steven Kane fell on a loose ball. Once more however, the Pirates failed to capitalise. The remainder of the period continued in the same, staccato fashion and the relentless stoppages for penalties was also making the crowd restless. Well, that and the fact that neither side had remotely threatened the endzone.
The tie went deep into the final period before points finally appeared on the board. Once more EK allowed a punt to roll deep into Pirates’ territory, only stopping at the 1-yard line. Two plays later, and the almost inevitable “holding” penalty was called in the endzone, giving the visitors a 2-point safety. East Kilbride then had to kick off and the Vikings added insult to injury when they drove into field goal range before slotting a 35-yard kick to make the score 0-5. This meant that despite not scoring a TD in the two games between the sides, Northumberland held the tie breaker on a 10-8 aggregate.
East Kilbride finish the regular season with a 9-1 record, while Northumberland sit at 8-1 with a game still to play. So, barring the unlikely scenario of Aberdeen winning at the Vikings this coming weekend, the Pirates will need to settle for second place in the Division. As a result, they will now be on the road for the play-offs, starting at the Birmingham-based Sandwell Steelers on August 11th.
The OnPoint Financial MVP award went to Defensive Back Aaron Callaghan for his effective pass coverage, stepping up to make tackles when required and leading by example in his role as captain for the day.
Report by Bill Campbell
Photos courtesy Duncolm Photography
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