Vikings Repelled As Pirates March Onwards

August 17th, 2022

East Kilbride Pirates 42 – Northumberland Vikings 06

With both sides having shared two close games during the regular season, many expected another tight encounter in this play-off match up. East Kilbride had other ideas however, and came out with all guns blazing.

The Pirates kicked off and soon forced the Vikings to punt. Their own first drive also stalled when a 4th Down pass fell incomplete. This was merely a temporary delay, and their second possession saw them open the scoring. A short drive was capped off with a 25-yard pass from Neil Baptie to Fraser McDonald, the big receiver grabbing the ball between two defenders. Scott McDonald added the PAT for an early 7-0 lead and EKP were off to the races. Northumberland were soon forced to punt, and a poor kick barely passed the line of scrimmage. It was Baptie who once again took advantage, this time linking up with Struan Bailey for a 43-yard TD, that McDonald also converted to end the first period.

The second quarter saw the game continue in the same vein. A Vikings fumble was recovered by Declan Kelly, giving the home side another short field to work with. The ground attack did the damage on this occasion, running back Greg Black powering into the endzone from 18 yards, with McDonald converting. Nothing was going right for the visitors at this stage, and both their next two drives lasted just one play, with passes being picked off by Ker Stuart then Kelly. Baptie made them pay for their mistakes by throwing his third TD of the first half. Craig Black was the grateful recipient this time around, pulling in a 17-yard pass. McDonald continued his kicking streak to leave the score at 28-0 going into the break.

Any hopes that Northumberland had of staging a second half comeback quickly dissipated when Bailey returned the kick-off 85 yards to the house for his 2nd TD of the day. McDonald’s 5th PAT resulted in the introduction of a “running clock”. The abbreviated third quarter ended as it had started, with a Pirates’ touchdown. A six play drive was capped when Baptie again connected with Fraser McDonald, this time from the 9-yard line and a 6th PAT made it 42-0.

It only remained for the Vikings to get a consolation score late in the final period. They took six attempts to score from the Pirates’ 4-yard line, aided by a penalty, and finally broke into the endzone with a 1-yard run by Joe Dorr. The attempted 2-point pass was unsuccessful, but they did recover an onside kick. Unfortunately the subsequent pass was intercepted by Jordan McSorley, allowing EKP to see out the game without any further scoring.

The Distell International Game MVP award went to Linebacker Declan Kelly for a hard-hitting, strong tackling display.

This coming Sunday (21st) sees East Kilbride make the long trip to face number 1 seeds, Leicester Falcons to decide the Northern Conference title. It will also determine who gets promoted to the Premier Division and then goes on to the Division 1 Bowl Game to take on the winners of the Southern Conference. Ironically, the last time that these two sides met was in the 2011 Division 1 Bowl when Leicester represented the Southern Conference. A similar result to that day would certainly suit the Pirates.

Report by Bill Campbell
Photos courtesy Duncolm Photography – you can find a full gallery here


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