Pointless Pirates Regret Missed Opportunities

May 29th, 2024

East Kilbride Pirates 0 – Newcastle Vikings 8

Having already lost to the Vikings this season, East Kilbride were out for revenge on a wet day at GHA Rugby Club. Pre-match rumours that Newcastle’s star WR Terrell Brown had returned to the States proved to be unfounded as both he, and compatriot Mike Ruisch at QB were in attendance. Given that these two did most of the damage in the first fixture, it looked like being a long day for the Pirates’ Defense. Overhead and underfoot conditions were to play a big part over the course of this fixture and immediately had a negative effect on the visitors. During the opening kick off, their kicker Josh Penny lost his footing and despite getting his kick away, dislocated his knee cap in the process. A lengthy delay ensued as he received treatment, with him eventually spending the night in Glasgow before being allowed home on the Monday.

The Pirates first drive ended with a punt that pushed Newcastle back to their own 10-yard line. However, they put together a 9-play drive that was capped off with an 18 yard Ruisch – Brown connection. Johnny Mbuyi ran in the 2-point conversion despite EK having 12 men on the field, making the score 8-0 to the Vikings. Little were we to know at that early stage that those would be the only points of the day. The Vikings main threat disappeared when Brown limped off injured, and although he did make a couple of attempts at coming back on later, he was effectively done for the day. This allowed the home Defense to concentrate on closing down the opponents running game and bringing pressure on Ruisch, a task to which they responded magnificently throughout the rest of the game. Indeed, neither Offense could generate any sustained momentum for the remainder of the first half.

The same pattern continued during the second half, with Defenses again on top. Newcastle were happy to employ their running game to keep the clock ticking and hold what they had. In the fourth quarter they did have one chance to stretch their advantage, but a 37-yard Field Goal attempt by Will Heath was blocked by Rob Hayes and recovered by James Williams. EK then introduced Greg Black at running back, and his no-nonsense style reeled off four consecutive carries for 34 yards before the hamstring injury he had been nursing reared it’s head again. The Pirates looked to have capped the drive with a TD when Mark Stewart carried to the endzone from 32 yards out, only for him to be ruled out of bounds at the 1-yard line. He crossed the goaline again on the next play, but this time it was a holding call that robbed him of 6 points.

Then as EK went for it on 4th and goal, QB Neil Baptie was stopped just short of paydirt, and in the process had his collarbone broken, ruling him out for the rest of the season. The Pirates were to have one last attempt at scoring, but a wayward snap on 3rd Down was recovered by Newcastle allowing them to kneel out the game for a hard earned victory.

Pirates’ MVP award was given to the entire D-Line for their dominating performance throughout. Next up for EK is the visit of local rivals, the Edinburgh Wolves on June 9th, kicking off at 4pm at GHA Rugby Club.

Report by Bill Campbell
Photos courtesy James Graham


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