Magnificent Seven Secures Title For EKP
September 8th, 2022
East Kilbride Pirates 50 – Cambridgeshire Cats 12
A sparkling 7 TD performance saw East Kilbride capture the 2022 Division 1 Britbowl crown. The trophy rounds off a wonderful campaign and provides a fitting end to their promotion winning season.
As they have done in several recent fixtures, the Pirates got off to a whirlwind start. Cambridgeshire won the toss and chose to kick off. A decision they immediately regretted when Struan Bailey returned the kick 88 yards to the endzone. Scott McDonald converted to give EK an instant 7-0 lead. The Cats’ first drive stalled near midfield and they were forced to punt. Pass completions from QB Neil Baptie to Fraser McDonald, then Rob Hayes quickly moved the ball upfield, before the running back duo of Greg Black and Dougie Meechan took over. Meechan capped the drive, going in untouched from the 1-yard line for a TD that McDonald duly converted. A third touchdown followed before the end of the first Quarter. A Bailey punt return took the ball back into Cats’ territory and just three plays later, RB Black was in the endzone after a 4-yard carry. McDonald’s PAT made it 21-0 as the game moved into the second quarter.
Inevitably, the pace dropped a little after the turn around, with the defences showing up well. However, the Pirates were still hungry for more points, and midway through the period they added a fourth TD. A Baptie to Bailey pass, saw the receiver scamper 27 yards along the right sideline to score, before the ever reliable McDonald added the PAT. Cambridgeshire did have a couple of chances to score, on the back of consecutive interceptions by their DB Mikey McLaughlin, but the Pirates’ D held firm to repel all attempts.
The Southern Conference champs did eventually get on the scoreboard with their opening drive of the second half. A steady, 9-play drive was rounded off with a 7-yard pass from Mark Rivett to Michael Johnson. The extra point kick was blocked leaving the Pirates 28-6 ahead. They immediately restored their 4-score lead with a solid drive of their own. A matching 9-play drive concluded with a 19-yard pass from Baptie to a wide open Andrew McBride while McDonald again tagged on the PAT.
On the opening possession of Q4, East Kilbride further stretched their advantage. A 1-yard TD run by Black was converted by McDonald, then Fergus McNiven recovered the ball from a fumble of the ensuing kick off return. Two plays later and Meechan was back in the endzone following a 12-yard run. Baptie then passed to Scott McKigen for the 2PAT to bring up the 50 point mark. With a running clock now operating, there just remained enough time for a late Cats consolation score. A pass by Rivett from inside his own half found James Horne who evaded several tackles to make it all the way to the endzone. The 2-point pass attempt fell incomplete and it only remained for the Pirates to run out time.
Neil Baptie was named as the game’s MVP and after the presentations were carried out, the team, staff and supporters all celebrated long into the London night.
Report by Bill Campbell
Photo courtesy Dik Ng and BAFA
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