Pirates On The Road To Recovery

June 11th, 2024

East Kilbride Pirates 13 – Edinburgh Wolves 3

East Kilbride put in a stubborn performance for a second consecutive home game, but this time they did get the rewards their efforts deserved. Despite the visitors taking the lead, EKP responded to go in front and preserve that advantage throughout.

Edinburgh opted to receive the opening kick off, but their initial possession came to a premature end when James Williams picked off a Jamie Morrison pass. The Pirates’ response was short, going 3-and-out and having to punt. A decent return aided by a penalty on the Pirates, left Edinburgh in good field position. A subsequent Pass Interference call shortened the field even further, but a 3rd Down sack by Rob Hayes meant that the Wolves had to settle for a 32 yard field goal from Callum Smith. Their delight at taking a 3-0 lead was short lived as James Williams returned the ensuing kick-off 87 yards to the endzone. Rohan Chatterjee added the conversion as the Pirates took a 7-3 lead that they maintained all the way through a scoreless second period. Neither team could generate any sustained momentum as the punters were repeatedly called into action. The one time Edinburgh did put a drive together, it was again halted by an interception, this time by Sean Dickie.

EK’s first drive of the second half appeared to have stalled when they were once more forced to punt. However, despite calling for a Fair Catch, the Wolves’ returner allowed the ball to cannon off his chest and it was recovered by the Pirates. Five plays later RB Greg Black scored from 8 yards with one of his trademark, no-nonsense carries, shedding tackles on his way to the endzone. A penalty against the Wolves on the Extra Point allowed EK to go for the 2PAT, but the run was stopped short, leaving the Pirates with a 13-3 lead.

East Kilbride were content to play the field position game in the final period, repeatedly giving their opponents a long field to navigate and then making sure they failed in that quest. A Campbell Ward interception halted one drive, and with time against them, Edinburgh turned more to their passing game. Indeed that appeared to have worked, when a 4th Down Hail Mary was caught in the endzone. Unfortunately the receiver had previously stepped out of bounds and was flagged for Illegal Touching, turning possession back to EK. Their final attempt in the dying moments fell on a Ryan Miller interception, allowing East Kilbride to see out the remaining few seconds.

Pirates’ MVP awards went to Kicker Rohan Chatterjee for his work on Special Teams, pinning Edinburgh deep on kick offs and stepping in at Punter following an injury. On Offence QB Cammy Dunn took the honours in his first start of the season, while on Defence, another exemplary performance all round made for a difficult selection. Eventually the award was shared by Cornerback James Williams for tight coverage, strong tackling and of course his interception and kick return. Sharing the kudos was Lineman Rob Hayes, who not only helped shut down the Wolves’ running game, but harassed their QB all day.

With results elsewhere going in the Pirates’ favour, the possibility of Play Off football is once again a viable option. To work towards this they will need t    o beat next opponents, Tamworth Phoenix when they travel to GHA Rugby Club on June 23rd.

Report by Bill Campbell
Photographs courtesy of Duncolm Sports Photography – you can find a full gallery here


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