Pirates’ Dick Picks Repel Viking Attackers
June 10th, 2019
Northumberland Vikings 05 – East Kilbride Pirates 08
The Pirates held on in this low-scoring contest to record their fifth straight win. That success was due in no small part to their Defense, who contributed no fewer than four second half interceptions to help ensure the victory. DB Chris Dick led the way with two of those to maintain the narrow advantage.
The game started well for EK, with Mark Stewart recovering a fumble on the second play of the game. However, despite quickly moving to 1st-and-goal, a penalty stymied their progress and a Sam Montgomerie pass fell incomplete on 4th Down. The first period continued in a similar vein, with neither Offense able to gather any momentum. On the last drive of the Quarter, the Pirates did finally put some plays together. The 10-play drive was noticable for two things.
Firstly Montgomerie was felled by a late hit, and despite subsequently clearing the concussion protocol, took no further part in the match for precautionary reasons. Then, with Andrew Meechan in at QB, the drive continued and as the quarter ended, EK were knocking on the door of the endzone, with 1st-and-goal from the 6 yard line.
First play of Q2 saw Meechan pass to Struan Bailey for the go-ahead TD. Greg Atkinson’s PAT kick was charged down, but the Pirates at last had their noses in front. That advantage was further increased on the next drive when a high Vikings’ punt snap flew out the back of the endzone for a Safety. The pattern of defensive dominance continued for the remainder of the half, with both sides restricted to a single Field Goal attempt each. The home side saw a well struck 42-yarder drift just left of the upright, while Atkinson had a 25-yard kick blocked to end the half.
The war of attrition continued after the break. Another long FG attempt by the home side was unsuccessful before the teams traded turnovers. EK lost possession on an Atkinson fumble, but Chris Dick regained it with his first pick of the game. Dougie Meechan was then also adjudged to have fumbled, giving the ball back to the Vikings. They did finally capitalise on this occasion with a successful 38-yard FG.
As this slow-burner moved into the final period, EK still held a precarious 8-3 lead. Northumberland were winning the field position battle, regularly pinning EK deep in their own half, but while the Pirates offence, now onto their third QB of the day, could not sustain any forward progress, their defence resolutely refused to concede any more points. A second interception by Dick followed by another for Ker Stuart kept the Vikings at bay.
Finally, with the game moving inside the 2-Minute Warning, EK decided to run the clock down, forcing the home side to use their time outs, before deliberately running out of the back of the endzone to concede a Safety. The plan was then to kick the ball back to the Vikings and hold them in their own half, but a good return and a penalty on EK immediately put Northumberland back into scoring range. It fell to Ryan Miller to haul in the fourth and final interception and effectively end the game.
Coach Jamie McLaughlin was relieved to hold on for the win that moves his team to the top of their Division and pleased that they had “found a way to win” in a difficult situation.
The OnPoint Financial MVP award was shared between Defensive Lineman Mark Stewart and Angus Mackintosh who played Defensive Line, Tight End and also Quarterback during the game.
The Pirates are at home this weekend when they face near neighbours the Glasgow Tigers in the return match, having won 47-17 at the Tigers last month. East Kilbride will be hoping that the several players who picked up injuries at Newcastle will recover in time for the game at GHA Rugby Club on Sunday 16 June (KO 14:30).
Report by Bill Campbell
Photos courtesy Duncolm Photography
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