Pirates lose on the road to Merseyside Nighthawks
July 28th, 2017
Merseyside Nighthawks 59 – East Kilbride Pirates 13
A fourth straight defeat finally extinguished any slim hopes of post-season football this year and the Pirates must use the remaining fixtures to start building for next season.
This game didn’t start well for EK. Their first drive came to a halt when the ball was stripped from wide receiver Kenny Muir and Merseyside recovered the football. Two plays later they opened the scoring on a 43-yard pass from Ben Robinson to Jordan Houghton. Alex Eager’s PAT kick was blocked, but the home side held an early 6-0 advantage. They increased that on their next drive. Again it was the Robinson-Houghton combo that scored, this time from just 7 yards and Eager’s kick was good to make it 13-0. The Pirates bounced back however, putting together a 7-play drive, leading to Scott Widdowson running the ball in from 2 yards, followed by Steven Kane’s PAT.
Merseyside had possession as the game moved into the 2nd Quarter, and they stretched their lead when Robinson connected with Dominic Woo from 16 yards out. Eager again kicked the extra point to make it 20-7 at that stage. The Pirates were still in the game, and were managing to hold their hosts at bay. Indeed, it was EK who scored next with Neil Baptie notching the TD with a 10-yard run. It was Kane’s turn to have a PAT kick blocked, but at 20-13, the Pirates were still in the game. Unfortunately there was still enough time on the clock for the Nighthawks to pad their lead before the break. Robinson threw his 4th TD pass of the game, this time to Harry Routledge from 18 yards. Again Eager’s kick was blocked, but Merseyside held a 26-13 lead until the break.
The second half couldn’t have started worse for EK. James Sutherland scored on a 19-yard run, converted by Eager. Then from the restart, Dougie Meechan had the ball knocked from his grasp and it was recovered and returned to the endzone by Vijay Masaun. Eager again converted and the Pirates were now facing a mountain to climb at 40-13. Their woes continued when the next drive came to a premature halt. Baptie was picked off by Michael Bassey and returned 63-yards for the unconverted TD.
There was little respite for the Pirates in the final period either, with the home side adding two more touchdowns. A 3-yard run by Dominic Sweeney before Leon Tsang had a pass intercepted by Masaun at the Nighthawks 30, and he returned it for his second score of the game. Eager converted to conclude the scoring.
Despite the scoreline, this was actually an improved performance by EK, and if they could eliminate the costly turnovers, then there is certainly hope for future improvement. Next up is a home game against Lancashire Wolverines on Sunday. Kick off at Hamilton Rugby Club is 14:30.
Game report by Bill Campbell
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