Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Pirates shatter Sheffield’s nineteen game winning streak

East Kilbride Pirates 36– 06 Sheffield Predators

Sheffield’s 19-game winning streak came to a sudden halt last weekend when they travelled north to face East Kilbride. In the first ever meeting between these two sides, the Pirates’ strength and experience of playing at the top level was too much for the Predators to overcome. East Kilbride received the opening kick-off and, on a wet and blustery day, promptly fumbled the greasy ball. Fortunately they recovered it and continued with their opening drive. Progress was aided by a couple of Ryan Hunter passes to veteran receiver Jason Byworth and the opening points arrived when Iain Dick carried home from the 12-yard line.

Iain Dick racked up several TD's vs. the Pirates. Image courtesy of Alastair Wilson, AJW Photography. 
Sheffield’s response was a deliberate one, and they made steady progress with their reliable running game. The drive came to an earlier conclusion though on the back of consecutive incomplete passes. A very quick first quarter ended with the Pirates having moved their second possession to the visitors’ 22-yard line. Unfortunately that progress came to an abrupt end when the ball was fumbled on the opening play of the second period. Sheffield couldn’t capitalise, and a wayward snap on a 4th-and-inches play saw East Kilbride get the ball back on the same 22-yard line.

Dougie Meechan leads the tackle. Image courtesy of Alastair Wilson, AJW Photography.

Just two plays were needed to turn the opportunity into points as Hunter connected with Ryan McCluskey for the touchdown. Hunter also passed to Jamie McLaughlin for the 2-point conversion and a 14-point lead. Sheffield soon had to punt the ball away and EK took over at their own 4-yard line following a penalty on the punt return. A long pass to McLaughlin followed by a Pass Interference call on the Predators quickly made up ground and the Pirates were again knocking on the door of the endzone. Dick duly added his second score of the day from 6 yards out to make it 20-0 in the Pirates favour. There was no more scoring in what remained of the first half.

The second half started well for the visitors when they returned the kick off all the way to East Kilbride’s 16-yard line. David Saul was the kick returner, and it was him, also playing at QB, who ran in the Predators TD two plays later. “Do-it-all” Saul was rarely off the field during the entire match, playing on both Offense and Defense as well as being on kick return duties.

Ryan Strachan stops Sheffield QB David Saul in his tracks. Image courtesy of Alastair Wilson, AJW Photography.

Any hopes of a Sheffield comeback were extinguished on the home side’s next drive, which was topped off with a 34-yard scoring run by Hunter. Jamie Welsh also ran in the 2-point conversion to stretch the lead to 28-6 at that point. The next score didn’t come until early in the fourth quarter. With Sheffield backed up deep in their own territory. QB Saul was tackled in the endzone for a safety. The 30-6 score quickly became 36-6 as it took just one play after the restart for Hunter to run the ball in from 40 yards. The teams traded possession for the remainder of the game, and with the home defense well in control of the situation, the opportunity was taken to give some playing time to this year’s “rookie” players.

Thomas McMillan chases down the Predators QB. Image courtesy of Alastair Wilson, AJW Photography.

Next stop for the Pirates is a trip to play Nottingham Caesars on 14 July.

Report by Bill Campbell

1 comment:

  1. Well done to the Predators, not an easy step up, but good spirit, and keep it going! Also Pirates, of course, respect!


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