Pirates take welcome win over Wolverines
June 6th, 2016
Lancashire Woverines 9 East Kilbride Pirates 30
The Pirates switchback season continued as they extended the win, loss, win, loss pattern with their third victory of the campaign. They must now hope to break that sequence when they travel to face Tamworth Phoenix this coming Sunday (12 June).
It was the home side who kicked off and East Kilbride were quickly into their stride. On the eleventh play of the opening drive, QB Neil Baptie ran the ball home from 2 yards. Steven Kane’s extra point was wide of the posts, so the Pirates were 6-0 ahead. Lancashire’s response looked to be short lived when David McInally picked off a David Mead pass only to see his interception negated by a penalty flag. The Wolverines failed to heed that warning, and McInally was soon to return to haunt them. The drive spluttered to a halt and even a fake punt on fourth down failed to gain the necessary yards. The teams then traded punts and the Pirates had the ball back as the game moved into the second quarter.
A fumble on a pitch play saw the Pirates lose yards and despite a Baptie completion to Jamie McCoy, Kane was again called upon to punt. Lancashires ensuing possession saw a 48 yard pass completion and a 32 yard run move them into the Pirates’ red zone before McInally pounced for a second time to intercept Mead and this time the play counted. A sack of Baptie once more pushed EK backwards and another punt followed. Lancashire moved the ball towards the Pirates goal line, only for McInally to pull in his second pick of the day, this time in the endzone.
With the East Kilbride offense failing to engage top gear, it was the defense who once more came to the rescue. After another Pirates’ punt, they quickly got the ball back when it was Joe McGee who came up with the interception this time around. Baptie passed to Craig Black and runs from Bud McFerren and Adam Kyle moved the ball close enough for Kane to slot home a 30-yard field goal. With half time beckoning, it was McInally who yet again got his name in lights. He gathered his third interception of the half, and on this occasion, returned it 65 yards for a touchdown. Kane converted and East Kilbride held a 16-0 lead at the break.
The third period started much the same way as the second had ended, with Mead throwing his fifth interception, Dougie Meechan being the beneficiary of this one. The remainder of the quarter saw defenses on top and the teams swapped possession for the duration. A Kane punt put the Wolverines back inside their own 10 yard line and they were just starting to work their way out when the game progressed into the final quarter.
That drive took the ball to the East Kilbride 16 yard line before 3 successive incomplete passes looked to have stopped the momentum. Rather than go for the short field goal however, Lancashire rolled the dice and Mead found Sam Bloomfield in the corner of the endzone for a TD. They then went for a two-point conversion to narrow the gap to just one score, but the pass fell incomplete. The Wolverines did score again on their next possession, but had to settle for a 25-yard field goal, narrowing the deficit to 9-16 with just over 7 minutes to play.
Another punt exchange then followed, but an almighty 82-yard kick by the Wolverines rolled all the way to the Pirates’ 1-yard line, leaving the visitors under severe pressure. Cool heads prevailed however, and after runs from Iain Dick and Baptie had created some room to manoeuvre, Baptie launched a long pass in the direction of Jamie McLaughlin. He pulled in the ball and outpaced the home defense for a 77-yard touchdown. Kane converted to give EK a bit of breathing space.
Lancashire’s response lasted only two plays before Glenn Davis recovered a fumble deep in enemy territory. They couldn’t capitalise but still left the home side with a long field to navigate. Four incomplete passes let the Pirates resume from where they had left off, and a Stephen McCluskey pass to Black moved the ball to the 1-yard line, from where Kyle ran in the final TD. Kane converted to end the scoring and the Pirates won a game that was closer than the final score suggests.
Game report by Bill Campbell
Photo courtesy Nathan James Sharrocks
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