Pirates sunk by Titans’ offensive canons
June 25th, 2018
Manchester Titans 64 – East Kilbride Pirates 27
The Pirates’ barren season continued with another reverse and their sixth consecutive loss. However, there were signs of the first green shoots of recovery in the baking hot Manchester sun, as the offense started to click on a more consistent basis.
The game kicked off in front a very poor crowd at Belle Vue Speedway Stadium. A fact probably related to England’s ongoing World Cup progress as this fixture overlapped with their game against Panama.
The Titans drew first blood on their second drive when running back Joe Nicholson carried home from 9 yards and Aaron Ainsworth-Bowcott added the PAT. Their fourth possession brought a second TD. Starting deep in EK territory after a short Pirates’ punt, Manchester took just 2 plays to extend their lead. QB Sam Bloomfield passed to Scott Higgins for a 15-yard TD, although Ainsworth-Bowcott’s conversion attempt was blocked. EK took a major risk on their next drive, going for it on 4th and 12 from their own 18 yard line. When Baptie’s pass fell incomplete, the Titans took advantage with Nicholson again running home the score. Ainsworth-Bowcott’s Extra Point made it 20-0 at the end of Q1.
At the start of the second period, the home side were again in possession and rounded off an 11 play drive when Bloomfield passed to Adam Bamber from 20 yards and Ainsworth-Bowcott converted. The sides then traded interceptions but the Pirates found themselves close to their own goal-line. A low punt snap saw Baptie, also deputising as punter, tackled in the endzone for a Safety. The Titans next drive brought more points with Bloomfield again finding Bamber for a 39-yard TD that Ainsworth-Bowcott converted.
The Pirates then staged a minor comeback. Firstly Baptie completed to Andrew Meechan from 20 yards to open their account, then just before the interval he found James Lightbody with a 38-yard pass. Baptie also kicked the PAT to narrow the deficit to 36-13 at the interval.
Early in the third quarter, the impressive Nicholson notched his third TD, powering over from the 1-yard line. A seventh touchdown soon followed, with Bloomfield again finding Higgins from 10 yards out. At the start of the final period, Baptie once more connected with Lightbody, completing a 6-yard pass on 4th-and-goal. Manchester were then forced to punt before EK scored again. On this occasion Baptie passed to Liam McClory for a 37-yard TD, then added the 2PAT, finding Kenny Muir in the end zone. A couple of late Manchester scores padded the gap with firstly Bloomfield finding Bamber from 17 yards then back up QB Josh Mills passed to Higgins from 34 yards. Both scores were converted to end the game at 64-27.
Next up for the Pirates is the formidable task of facing reigning British champions, Tamworth Phoenix. The game at GHA Rugby Club on Sunday 1st July with a 14:30 kick off.
Report by Bill Campbell
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