Pirates U19 eventually sink Buccaneers
May 22nd, 2019
Chorley Buccaneers 28 – 36 East Kilbride Pirates
On the pages of a dictionary, the definition of ‘Pirate’ and ‘Buccaneer’ are very similar. On the football field in Preston on Sunday afternoon, there was also little difference between the two teams battling it out.
This may have come as a surprise to distant observers, and indeed EKP themselves who were on the crest of a wave after recent victories over the Wildcats and Assassins. Maybe the expectation was to meet a Chorley team sitting in the doldrums after the shut-out defeat inflicted on them by the Titans. However this certainly wasn’t case.
The Pirates playing in white, as their usual cherry red was too close to that of the Bucs uniform, started the game brightly enough scoring on their first drive. EKP’s confident running game moved the ball from their own 32 yard line to 1st and goal in just 6 plays. RB Matt Black then blasted in from 4 yards to give his team a 6 point lead.
Chorley received the kick and with the help of a penalty on EKP and some missed opportunities to close down QB Joel Chesters in the backfield, he connected with receiver Reon Haworth from 12 yards tying the game up at 6-6.
It was the same combination on the Buccaneer’s next drive that again did the damage to EKP’s defense – Chesters to Haworth from 15 yards and a successful 2PAT meant that the Pirates found themselves behind in a game for the first time this season. 14-6 to the Buccaneers.
The realisation that they were in a battle and the start of the 2nd quarter acted as catalyst for the young Pirates and they soon discovered their previous form.
QB Scott McKigen seemingly has a signature move – wait for a 4th down and unleash a TD pass to one of his receiver corps. That is 3 in 3 games he’s bravely converted for the 6 points – this time it was to Ssarien Liddell from 17 yards. Rory Hutton with the 2PAT and parity again at 14-14.
The Pirates soon had the ball back and after a steady, succession of good rushing gains, Matt Black broke free from 34 yards for his second touchdown to give his team a 14-20 lead.
Just on the two-minute warning the Pirates defense showed its teeth with some hard tackling led by linebacker and GB captain Ben Gallacher and a sack from GB lineman, Jonathon Letham which gave the ball back to East Kilbride.
With the clocking ticking down, the hurry-up offense of the Pirates and effective use of time-outs got the ball to the Buccaneers’ 3 yard line with one second left in the half. Who was left to add some gloss to the score? You guessed it – that man Matt Black again – breaking the plane and also adding the 2PAT. Pirates go into the half at 14-28.
At the start of the second half Chorley were soon forced to punt, but a fumble on the return gave them good positon at EKP’s 32 yard line. Up stepped QB Chesters to again find favoured receiver Haworth for their 3rd TD of the game. Pirates lead cut to 20-28.
Two plays later and again some uncharacteristic, sloppy handling, fumbled the ball back to the hands of Chesters, who decided to run the ball in himself from 4 yards. The converted 2PAT meaning left a 28-28 tied game heading into the 4th.
The Pirates defensive front line has been a fearsome foe for teams this season and they stepped up again. Ben Hewitt forcing a fumble for his namesake Gallacher to fall on. The Pirates had the ball in their possession – deep into enemy territory and deep into the 4th quarter.
McKigen scoured the horizon for some safe hands and there was Christian Rubuga to pull in the pass and hit pay dirt. Matt Black then bundled in the 2PAT and Pirates were 28-36 up with time beginning to run out for the Buccaneers.
With EKP forced to punt, there seemed to be a glimmer of hope for Chorley and QB Chesters threw a long searching pass to his downfield receiver. However this was a receiver and a pass that corner Angus McCorkindale was also tracking, and the rookie made the vital pick to the cheers of the traveling support and side lines.
The Pirates wisely kept the ball on the deck and ran down the clock, grinding out first down after first down, with running back Rory Hutton ultimately showing some great football shrewdness by sliding to keep himself in bounds and allowing McKigen to kneel out the game.
Credit due to a battling Buccaneers team who will certainly go on to cause problems to others this season.
It’s now 3-0 for the Pirates halfway through the season, but with some tough tests to come. Next up is a home game against last year’s bogey team, Manchester Titans. EKP will be looking for revenge at GHA on Sunday 2 June (KO 12.00) as part of a double header, with the Senior team taking on Gateshead Senators at 15.00.
Report by Kerr Girvan
Photo courtesy John Dermott
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