Heads Held High Despite Heavy Defeat
June 22nd, 2023
Manchester Titans 55 – East Kilbride Pirates 07
East Kilbride knew going into this game that it would be their toughest fixture of the season, away to the current British champions. The task at hand became even harder when a raft of injuries, unavailabilities and late call offs saw them head South with just 26 players. However that small squad, including a number of inexperienced rookies, played their hearts out and managed to score the most points Manchester have conceded so far this campaign.
In the early exchanges, a ruthless Titans side scored on each of their first 3 drives, racing to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. They had possession as the game moved into the second period and were unstoppable as they scored again on three consecutive drives. Then, midway through the period, a forced fumble by Rob Hayes was recovered by Michael Girvan, setting EK up inside the red-zone. On 3rd Down, QB Scott McDonald hit David Gordon on a quick slant and he carried home for a 13-yard TD, his first for the Club. McDonald also added the PAT to reduce the arrears to 34-7. This momentarily knocked Manchester off their stride as they failed to convert on 3rd Down after the restart and opted to attempt a 49-yard Field Goal. The kick was tipped at the line of scrimmage and fell well short of the posts. Seemingly annoyed, the Titans then chose to use their time outs deep inside the 2-minute warning rather than just go to the half time break. This allowed them to add their 7th TD and a 2-point conversion to leave the score at 42-7 at the interval.
With the “Running Clock” rule due to be imposed, and the impending arrival of heavy thunderstorms, both sides agreed to a shortened break and reduced Quarters. Manchester added 1 TD in each period (1 converted) to produce a final score of 55-7.
The MVP award was distributed among the 6 linemen who shared duties on both sides of the ball throughout. Special mention too for the loyal band of Pirates supporters who turned up on the day. The EKP Ultras not only seemed to outnumber the home support, but encouraged the team under difficult circumstances and showed their appreciation by cheering them off at the final whistle.
The Pirates now have a week off to regroup before making another long away trip. On Sunday 2nd July, they travel to take on a Leicester Panthers side that will be looking to avenge their narrow defeat at GHA earlier this month.
Report by Bill Campbell
Photos courtesy Duncolm Sports Photography – you can find a full gallery of images from the game here
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