Titans Wear Down Pirates’ Resistance
July 19th, 2023
East Kilbride Pirates 10 – Manchester Titans 48
Following the cancellation of their game at Leicester, East Kilbride were keen to get back on the field for the first time in 4 weeks, even if it was against the unbeaten, and reigning Champions, Manchester Titans.
Neither side scored on their first possession and EK also went 3-and-out on their second. The Titans capitalised when they opened the scoring on a 2-yard run by QB Sam Bloomfield and despite a 15-yard penalty on the PAT attempt, the extra point was good.
Into the second quarter and the visitors twice came up short on drives, with a Ben Gallacher interception ending the second. The Pirates failed to take advantage however, and when Manchester got the ball back, they made no mistakes on this occasion. A drive aided by no fewer than three 15 yard penalties on EK was completed with a 6-yard pass from Bloomfield to Brad Temple in the endzone. The PAT was blocked, leaving the Titans 13-0 ahead. East Kilbride bounced back immediately, taking just 2 plays to score. Cameron Dunn launched a pass down the left sideline to Fraser McDonald, who fought of a couple of tacklers on his way to the endzone for a 59 yard TD. Scott McDonald converted to reduce the leeway even further. Manchester responded by adding another TD before the interval, with Bloomfield passing on a low throw from 5 yards. The PAT was good, and just as it looked like that was the end of the scoring in the first half, EK quickly drove into Manchester territory, and assisted by a couple of penalties, got into field goal range. McDonald comfortably kicked the 32 yarder to close the gap to 10- 20 at the interval.
The third period started off in unusual fashion. EK kicked off and the return made it 89 of the 90 yards to paydirt before the ball came loose, rolled into the Pirates endzone where it was recovered by EK’s Ryan Miller for a touchback. Home joy was short-lived though, as a Dunn pass was picked off. Manchester moved the ball to the Pirates’ 2-yard line, from where Axel Falempin carried home. Another PAT was blocked, but the Titans kicking team came up trumps on the restart when they recovered an onside kick. Working with a short field, they soon extended their lead when Bloomfield passed to Max Gracie-Ainscough from 23 yards before running in the 2PAT himself. As the period drew to a close, EK were forced to punt. McDonald’s kick made it to the Manchester 32, before it was returned to the house for another TD. The successful conversion made it 10-41 and saw the running clock in place for the final period.
There was only 1 score in the shortened quarter, back up QB Zahir Wilder passing to Adam Bamber from 13 yards before Lenkowski added the final point of the day. Pirates MVP was awarded to Linebacker Ben Gallagher who led by example throughout the game.
This coming Sunday (23rd) will be the final home fixture of the season when the Pirates take on Merseyside Nighthawks. The game at GHA Rugby Club, which starts at 2pm, is being planned as a bit of a celebration. It will see the induction of members to the Pirates Hall Of Fame, as well as being a Homecoming game, where there is an open invitation to all former players, coaches and staff to come along, renew old acquaintances and relive the “good old days”.
Report by Bill Campbell
Photos courtesy Duncolm Sports Photography
Share this article