Juniors clinch Scottish title with win over Wildcats
July 17th, 2018
Highland Wildcats 18 – East Kilbride Pirates 28
The Junior Pirates clinched their third consecutive Scottish title with a come from behind win in Inverness on Sunday.
The Wildcats sprung straight out of the traps, scoring on a 47-yard run by Alex Roberts on the first play of the game. East Kilbride’s first drive stalled but the Pirates defence quickly regained possession when Elliot Sorbie recovered a fumble created by Ben Gallacher. The turn over was quickly converted into points with a 37-yard pass from Scott McKigen to Struan Bailey. McKigen also ran in the 2-point conversion for an 8-6 lead. Highland’s reply was brief, lasting just one play as Ben Hewitt pulled in the interception. EK again punished their opponent’s carelessness when McKigen and Bailey connected for a second TD, this time from 15 yards. A succession of penalties on the 2PAT try moved the Pirates back towards midfield, and it was no surprise when the attempt eventually came up short.
There was little chance for either team to gain any momentum in the second quarter as yet more flags constantly interrupted the flow of the game. However, late in the period, the home side narrowed the deficit on a 20-yard pass from James MacLean to Lewis Hilditch. The conversion attempt failed, leaving the score sitting on 12-14 at the interval.
After a scoreless third period, the encounter burst into life in the final quarter. Firstly Jack Cochrane ran in an 18-yard TD to pad the Pirates’ lead, only for the Wildcats to respond with a 6-yard run by Rory Grant restoring the differential to just 2 points. EK finally sealed the victory with a 28-yard run by Rory Hutton. McKigen also ran in the 2PAT to end the scoring at 18-28.
The game ended on a Declan Kelly interception that he appeared to be going to return for 6 points only for him to step out of bounds at the 1-yard line.
The next challenge for the Juniors sees them head South to face Chester Romans on Sunday 29 July.
Report by Bill Campbell
Photos Amanda McDonald
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