Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Pirates jet off to a great start

by Bill Campbell. Photos courtesy of Alastair Wilson, AJW Photography.

Coventry Jets 0 - East Kilbride Pirates 38

The Pirates got their 2013 campaign underway with a trip to face the Coventry Jets, a team they had never previously beaten.

East Kilbride started well with Aaron Paterson returning the opening kick-off back into Coventry’s half. Pirates’ quarterback Ryan Hunter then orchestrated a short drive which culminated in Iain Dick running in for a touchdown from 4 yards out. Steven Wilson’s attempted conversion was blocked, leaving the visitors 6-0 ahead early in the game. Despite having veteran quarterback Stuart Franklin guiding their offence, the Jets couldn’t make much initial headway and were soon forced to punt. As if to show how it should be done, Ryan Hunter broke off a 77-yard run on the next play to extend the lead to 12-0 with another unconverted TD.

Ryan Hunter carries the ball for the Pirates


The Home side at last started to gain some momentum, with a Franklin pass to Noah Ben Haim moving them into East Kilbride territory. Their progress was quickly halted though when Thomas MacMillan intercepted a wayward pass to regain possession for the Scots, and EK kept the ball as the game moved into the second quarter.

Perhaps surprisingly there was no further scoring in this period, with both Defenses gaining the upper hand. The Pirates turned the ball over twice, once on a fumble and the other when Hunter was intercepted by Elliott Strong. Fortunately, the Jets were also stuttering as they tried to advance the ball, and the half concluded with a Steven Wilson sack of Franklin just as Coventry were mounting their first serious threat on the EK endzone.

The Pirates Defence pressured the Jets QBs all game.

Wilson was again prominent at the start of the third quarter, and he recovered a Coventry fumble before returning it 37 yards for the touchdown. The conversion attempt failed once more, but the lead had now been padded to 18-0. Both teams traded punts until East Kilbride took control towards the
end of the period. A muffed Coventry punt left the Pirates facing a short field and Hunter duly ran in his second touchdown of the day, this time from the shorter distance of 17 yards. Neil Baptie passed to Aaron Paterson to add the 2-point conversion and give EK a 26-0 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

A second picked pass by MacMillan allowed the Pirates to keep their foot on the pedal, and following a 31-yard Hunter connection to Kenny Muir and a 12-yard run from Peter Odoom, Hunter was again the scorer two plays later. Coventry then gave some playing time to young back-up QB Fraser Oliver, and while the Pirates adjusted to the change, he managed to take Coventry to the East Kilbride 12-yard line, their best field position of the day. Unfortunately for the home side, two sacks pushed them back and they were unable to make the breakthrough.

Steven Wilson (#7) grabbed the first defensive score for the Pirates. Picture courtesy of Amanda McDonald.

The Pirates’ final drive was extended by a number of Defensive penalties before Neil Baptie passed to Joe McGee for a 36-yard gain. McGee was making his Pirates’ debut, as was fellow wide receiver Alan Bigham who caught a short Baptie pass two plays later to conclude the scoring as time expired.

This weekend (Sunday 12 May) sees the Pirates make a slightly shorter journey when they face the West Coast Trojans in Troon. The game at Portland Park kicks off at 17:00 and East Kilbride will be hoping to extend their record of never having lost to another Scottish team since August 1996.

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