Pirates youth win 2016 Scottish championship title
August 1st, 2016
The East Kilbride Pirates U17 side followed their U19 team-mates in winning the Scottish Divisional title for the first time. They now go forward to the Britbowl Finals in Sheffield on 3rd September, looking to capture the National Championship crown.
First up for the Pirates were the Edinburgh Wolves. The side from the capital had a small travelling squad, but competed strongly throughout the tournament. East Kilbride opened well, and scored on their first poss ession, concluding with a pass from QB Scott McKigen to Ben Gallacher. McKigen also found Ben Hewitt for the PAT and a 7-0 lead. The Wolves’ first drive ended badly when Calum Marney returned an interception for a TD and the advantage was further stretched when Declan Kelly picked up a fumble and ran it in to score. A 2PAT pass from McKigen to Fraser McDonald made the score 21-0 at that stage. There were two more TD’s before half time, with Jack Cochrane and Ewan Kelly snaring passes from McKigen, with Paul Ravey and McDonald adding the extra points. After the break McKigen passed for his fourth TD of the game, again finding McDonald before Declan Kelly added a pick-6 to his fumble return. It only remained for the Wolves to get a late consolation TD to give a final score of 47-6.
The second game was a local derby against Hamilton Buccaneers. The Bucs had given Highland Wildcats a fright in their first game before going down 24-36. Unfortunately, that seemed to take a lot out of the Hamilton side, and they were never really in this tie. The Pirates jumped out to an early lead with a fumble recovery for a TD by Jack Cochrane. The same player scored again when he caught a McKigen pass, before the young QB linked up with Cameron Ross for a third TD. Ben Gallacher added the 2PAT, leaving the score at 20-0 going into the break. After the break EK continued from where they’d left off, and a scoring run by Declan Kelly was topped by a 2PAT pass from McKigen to Paul Ravey. Hamilton were still playing for pride, and duly scored when Lewis Smith found Angus McCorkindale to avoid the whitewash. A late run by Cochrane ended the scoring at 48-6.
The final match-up saw Highland Wildcats having to win, and win by a significant margin, to deprive the young Pirates of their place in the finals. The Inverness side got off to the best possible start, scoring a TD then adding a safety for an early 8-0 lead. EK came straight back however and Declan Kelly’s second pick-6 of the day, followed by a 2PAT pass from Scott McKigen to Jack Cochrane levelled the scores. Defences were on top for the remainder of the first half, but the Pirates edged ahead just before the interval thanks to a rushing TD from Kelly. A breakout run by Callum Connolly-Tennock of the first play after the restart, and a 2-point run by the same player gave the home side some breathing space at 22-8. A further 8 points were added when McKigen passed to Fraser McDonald for a TD and also a 2-point conversion. Despite their best efforts, Highland could only add another safety to their total, allowing East Kilbride to take the win and the title.
The tournament was played in good spirit throughout, as the games have been all season, and special mention goes to Highland coach Robbie Paulin who took time out from his own disappointment to go over and wish the Pirates well in the games ahead.
Report by Bill Campbell
EAST KILBRIDE PIRATES – 47-06 – EDINBURGH WOLVES
HIGHLAND WILDCATS – 36-24 – HAMILTON BUCCANEERS
EAST KILBRIDE PIRATES – 48-06 – HAMILTON BUCCANEERS
HIGHLAND WILDCATS – 40-00 – EDINBURGH WOLVES
HAMILTON BUCCANEERS – 24-15 – EDINBURGH WOLVES
EAST KILBRIDE PIRATES – 30-10 – HIGHLAND WILDCATS
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