PIRATES TURN TIDE ON TITANS
June 5th, 2019
Report by Kerr Girvan
Photos courtesy Duncolm Photography
East Kilbride Pirates 24 – 7 Manchester Titans
A famous son of Manchester once wrote ‘don’t look back in anger’ – and hopefully the Titans were not doing so on the way down the M6 last Sunday afternoon. This top of the table clash between two unbeaten teams wasn’t exactly a classic, but it was played in a good spirit with both defenses taking on the starring roles.
EKP played the Titans twice last year. Once in regular season, when they were well beaten, and then in the Britbowl semi-final – a fantastic game that went to overtime with the Manchester side getting the decisive, sudden-death score. So it could be said that the Titans were the Pirates’ nemesis going into this game.
It certainly looked that way after only the 3rd play of the Titan’s opening drive, as the same standout duo, QB Ben Miles and receiver Max Gracie-Ainscough – who connected for 3 TDs in the semi-final – did the damage again. Miles to Gracie-Ainscough on a slant route, who then broke a tackle and went on to run 65 yards downfield to the EKP endzone. The receiver then turned kicker and slotted home the PAT. EKP 0 – 7 Titans.
On the next possession the Pirates went to their ground game and pounded out the yards all the way down to the Titan’s 2 yard line. Unfortunately the hard working backs just failed to punch in for the score as the 1st quarter ended.
The 2nd quarter was again all about the defensive clout of both teams, with each D-line standing strong. The Titan’s linemen have the moniker of the ‘big blue wrecking crew’ – but there was no way to demolish the strong foundation of East Kilbride’s ‘red brick wall’ installed by DC Nicky Smith.
After another stalled drive, a well-placed Pirates punt and some quick thinking by Christian Rubuga to stop the ball from rolling into the Titan’s endzone on the 1 yard line, put pressure on the Manchester side on their next possession. EKP’s defense forced a short punt and set up nice field position for their team’s next drive.
The Pirates then took to the air. Two good gains from QB Scott McKigen to receiver Michael Paton, set up an 8 yard TD pass to Rubuga. Rory Hutton ran in the 2PAT, taking the Pirates to an 8-7 lead.
Three plays later and EKP had the ball back, thanks to a fumble recovery by Ben Hewitt. From there they wasted no time and running back Hutton swept in for both the TD and 2PAT. EKP 16 – 7 Titans.
There was no more scoring in the half thanks to an interception for cornerback Angus McCorkindale and a sack for D-lineman Jonathon Letham, ensuring the Pirate’s half-time cherry-aid would taste all the sweeter.