Pirates secure comfortable win over Birmingham Bulls

Birmingham Bulls 0 – East Kilbride Pirates 51

Despite travelling with a squad that was missing a number of key players, the Pirates secured a comfortable win against old adversaries Birmingham, and in the process guaranteed their place in this year’s play-offs.

The game got off to a slow start as the two sides strived to get into their rhythm. It was late in the period before the first scoring opportunity came along, but Rory McGee’s 50-yard field goal attempt fell short of the target. However, two plays later a Dougie Meechan interception got the ball back for East Kilbride and they were able to set McGee up for a second attempt. This time his kick sailed over from 33 yards leaving the Pirates 3-0 ahead at the end of the first quarter.

Meechan's interception helped EKP get an early score.
Meechan’s interception helped EKP get an early score.

Birmingham’s first drive of the second period came to a swift halt when a Kenny McCulloch sack forced the Bulls to punt. Good runs by Adam Kyle and Neil Baptie took the Pirates within scoring range and Baptie then passed to Jamie McLaughlin for a 19-yard TD which McGee converted. Despite being intercepted by Birmingham’s Gareth Thomas on his next drive, it wasn’t long before Baptie increased the lead. He ran in from the 39-yard line and McGee again converted to give the visitors a 17-0 advantage at the break.

The half-time interval was extended to almost an hour to allow the overhead thunder, lightning and heavy rain to pass. By the time the third quarter got under way, the sun had appeared and stayed for the rest of the game. Midway through the period, the Pirates put the result beyond any doubt with two quick scores, Firstly Baptie threw his second TD pass of he day, once more finding McLaughlin for the score, and after the restart Birmingham immediately fumbled the ball and Kenny McCulloch was only too happy to return it 18 yards to the endzone. Neither TD was converted, but EK now held a 29-0 lead.

As the game moved towards its conclusion, Birmingham started to fade and the Pirates added three more touchdowns. Baptie scored his second rushing TD, McGee adding a 2-point conversion, before a third Baptie-McLaughlin match up added another 6 points and McGee kicked the point after. It was to be the Pirates’ Special Teams who put the final points on the board. Birmingham failed to down their own short punt and Kris Henderson was alert enough to pick it up and set off towards the endzone. He didn’t have the pace to get there but managed to hand the ball to team mate David McInally for him to complete the last few yards.

Baptie once again led the Pirates to an impressive victory.
Baptie once again led the Pirates to an impressive victory.

Game report by Bill Campbell