Pirates secure first win of the season against Giants
May 1st, 2017
East Kilbride Pirates 21 – Sheffield Giants 6
After drawing the opening game of the season against Edinburgh, the Pirates were keen to get a win under their belts when they faced Sheffield Giants on Sunday. The Giants, having rebranded from their previous incarnation as the Sheffield Predators, were also looking for a win, having fallen to Edinburgh the week before.
Both teams failed to get any real momentum on their opening drives, but the Pirates’ offense took a second trip to the field and produced the opening points. Unfortunately they were for Sheffield.
A good Adam Kyle run on first down ended with the ball being stripped from his possession. It was recovered by Sheffield’s Tom Hutchinson, who returned it 42 yards for the TD. The extra point kick was blocked, but the visitors held an early lead. That proved to be short lived however, as the Pirates bounced straight back to take the lead, An 8-play drive concluded with QB Neil Baptie passing to Stephen McCluskey for a 10-yard TD. Steven Kane added the PAT and the Pirates led 7-6 going into the second quarter.
The second period belonged to the defenses of both sides with there being no further scoring before the break. The same pattern continued for much of the third quarter with both punters getting several opportunities to bulk up their stats. Late in the period, an Andrew McGowan fumble recovery deep in Sheffield territory allowed EK to stretch the lead on a 7-yard TD run from Kyle. Kane again converted, making it 14-6 at the end of the third period.
Sheffield continued to press in the fourth quarter, but the home defence held strong, even when the Giants made it inside the red zone. East Kilbride clinched the win deep inside the 2-minute warning. Keeping the ball on the ground they moved from their own 11-yard line to the Sheffield 8 before Baptie carried home. Kane again converted to leave the score as 21-6 in EKP’s favour.
Despite the closeness of the encounter, there were several plusses for the Pirates to take away from the game. A shut-out on defense and several good displays from rookie players, with running back Craig Holliday making good yards, and impressive performances from defensive backs Andy Shaw and Darren Robert.
Next up for the Pirates is the return fixture against Edinburgh Wolves. The game is at Peffermill Playing Fields on Sunday 7 May with a 14:30 kick off.
Game report by Bill Campbell
Photo courtesy Joanne Cortes – you can find more photos from the game here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PiratesFootball/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10154748946779403
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