Pirates made to work for 7-Up
June 24th, 2019
Yorkshire Academy Rams 23 – East Kilbride Pirates 34
Sunday saw the Pirates make their longest away journey of the season when they travelled to Leeds to take on a Rams side that had strengthened since the previous meeting back on May 12th. Despite this, EK put in a solid performance to take the win and move on to a 7-0 record, ensuring their place in the play-offs in the process.
The visitors got off to a quick start, and a sharp 4-play opening drive concluded with a 27-yard scoring pass between QB Neil Baptie and WR Andrew Meechan. Greg Atkinson added the PAT for a 7-0 lead, however that advantage was to be short lived. Yorkshire almost returned the resulting kick-off all the way to the Pirates endzone. As it was, they started at the EK 15-yard line and pounded the ball to the 2-yard line from where Chris Winrow plunged over the line. The Rams went for a 2-point conversion, with Luke Campbell running the ball home to take an 8-7 lead. After that whirlwind start neither side came close to scoring for the remainder of the period.
Indeed it was to be midway through the second quarter before either endzone was threatened. A near perfect Rams’ punt pinned EK back at their own 4-yard line. The Pirates set about moving the ball upfield, and an 11-play drive was capped by a 17-yard Neil Baptie run to regain the lead, Atkinson’s kick making it 14-8. Yorkshire’s response came to a halt around midfield when a 4th Down run was held up short. A penalty against the hosts gave EK a short field to work with and they made the most of it, scoring again on a 17-yard pass by Baptie to Fraser McDonald. Atkinson’s kick made it 21-8 then a Chris Dick interception ended the half with the Pirates in control.
The Rams opening drive of the second half was stopped by a 4th Down fumble, but EK couldn’t move the ball and when the resulting punt was blocked, the home side found themselves at the Pirates’ 1-yard line. From there Josh Green rumbled into the endzone and the successful PAT reduced the deficit to 21-15. A good kick return by James Lightbody immediately set the Pirates up in Yorkshire territory, and the brief, penalty assisted drive ended with a 5-yard TD run by Dougie Meechan. Atkinson’s kick was low and smacked the Back Judge squarely in the face. Fortunately he was not seriously injured and was able to continue.
Early in the final period the Pirates scored once more, Dougie Meechan again crossing the line with a 23-yard carry. Atkinson successfully converted to make it 34-15 to EKP. The Rams then put together their best drive of the day, moving the ball 90 yards on 15 plays, with Winrow carrying home on the last 12 yards. The same player also ran in the 2PAT to conclude the scoring for the day.
So a win for the Pirates that was perhaps closer that it might have been. However, looking further ahead, EK took the opportunity to give some playing time to as many players as possible. Included in those was WR Coach, Andrew Maciver. With several linemen either missing or carrying knocks, Maciver kitted up as emergency cover. It turned out that he had a busy day, ending up with significant playing time on both sides of the ball. For his efforts he was awarded the OnPoint Financial MVP award.
This Sunday the Pirates face a resurgent Aberdeen Roughnecks side coming off a 56-0 over Gateshead. A tough game is in prospect and it kicks off at GHA Rugby Club at a later than usual 16:00.
Report by Bill Campbell
Photos courtesy Alex Daniel Photography
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