Pirates punished by Titans

May 24th, 2024

Manchester Titans 42 – East Kilbride Pirates 0

The Pirates returned to league football after a lengthy break, and restarted with a tough challenge against reigning Champions, Manchester Titans.

On a very warm day, both sides went three-and-out on their opening drive. However Manchester’s punt was muffed by the EK returner and the Titans regained the ball deep in Pirates’ territory. After a stoppage for an injury to one of their players.the home side promptly made the Pirates pay for their mistake. QB Josh Mills found Adam Bamber with an accurate pass from 14-yards for the opening score, which Alex Lenkowski duly converted. Despite the early set back, East Kilbride competed well, with the defense repelling all boarders to ensure no further scoring in the first quarter.

Manchester finally managed to break from the shackles in the second quarter when a short swing pass to RB Ben Smith saw him break out and go 62 yards, only to be tackled a yard short of the endzone by James Williams. The TD was just delayed though, as Mills passed to Anousheh Fulford on the next snap before Lenkowski again converted. With the Pirates’ Offense struggling to put together any sustained momentum, their Defense was putting in a sterling effort to keep the game close. As the game hit the 2-minute warning, it was still 14-0, but that was about to change. Mills threw his third score of the day, connecting with Charlie Ascott from 17 yards. Rob Hayes blocked the PAT to hold the score at 20-0. Again the Pirates couldn’t move the ball and had to punt. A high snap sailed over punter Rohan Chaterjee’s head into the endzone. He gamely tried to retrieve the situation when kicking the ball out of the endzone for a Safety may have been the better option. Unfortunately his bravery didn’t pay off, and Manchester retrieved the loose ball to score again. A bad snap on the PAT attempt left Manchester ahead 26-0 at the break.

Any hopes of a second half comeback by EK were short lived. A long kick off return took Manchester to the Pirates’ 15-yard line, and from there it took just one running play to score. That, along with the extra point, stretched the lead to 33-0. Midway through the period, Lenkowski added a 34-yard Field Goal which signaled the introduction of a “running clock”. The shortened final quarter brought one further score, and that was on the last play of the game, with back-up QB Charlie Martin passing into the endzone from 11 yards as time expired.

Once again, the Pirates’ MVP’s on the day all came on Defense. James Williams for his work on both Defense and Special Teams, Mark Stewart who was outstanding on both sides of the ball, having strong runs on Offense as well as important contribution from Defensive End and Elliot Sorbie with his relentless pursuit, hustle and effort in getting to the ball carrier to make significant tackles.

So, despite several good performances on Defense, a chastening defeat for EK. However, with some better decision making and fewer mistakes, the score could have been a bit closer. The Pirates do need to work on their offense which has now not scored in two (three if you count the US College) consecutive games. That work needs to be done quickly, as the Newcastle Vikings head north this Sunday (26th), having already defeated EK once this season. Kick off at GHA Rugby Club in Giffnock is 3:30 and it follows the U19’s who face Manchester Titans.

Report by Bill Campbell


Share this article