Whilst we have shared a field with the East Kilbride Pirates before, most of our current playing and coaching staffs would fail to remember that day back in 2014. Still donning our green uniforms back then, we hosted the Pirates for a combined scrimmage during our inaugural campaign. Needless to say the then Premiership outfit came out the better of the two sides quite comfortably but this time we were determined to show just how far we had come since that day, and that our promotion was by no means a fluke.
Receiving the opening kick-off of the season we would get to work on offence following a strong kick-off return just short of Pirate’s territory. Both sides would struggle to move the ball early on with the defences holding strong and forcing punts early. Following a blocked punt the field position battle would swing in the Pirates’ favour which their offence would capitalise on towards the end of the first quarter as the QB would find the endzone on a 14 yard run. The PAT would be tacked on and the lead was 7. Following that disappointment however the defence would stand tall again in the second quarter with neither team troubling the scoreboard again before the end of the half with a particularly brave goal-line stand from the Roughnecks to leave the score 7 - 0 in the Pirates’ favour.
Last season’s Rookie of the year, #22 DB Gamuchirai Mukuredzi would get the Roughnecks’ second half off to a brilliant start though, scooping up the ball following a blocked punt and finding the endzone to get the team on the board. Roughnecks 6 - 7 Pirates with the PAT failing to make it through the posts. The Roughnecks offence were steadily improving through the game, however the Pirates would extend their lead in the third quarter with another touchdown on a long QB run, PAT and a safety to make it 16 - 6 to finish the 3rd quarter.
The Pirates’ QB would find the endzone another time before the end of the game to make it 23 - 6 but the Roughnecks offence would strike back. Quarterback #16 Chris Breen would find #85 TE Rob Hayes in the back of the endzone with a 17 yard pass to reduce the defecit to 11 points with the 2PAT coming up short. A failed onside kick attempt would gift the Pirates great field position and allow them to salt away much of the remaining time in the game - something we could ill afford as the game drew to a close 23 - 12 to the Pirates.
FT: Aberdeen ROughnecks 12 - 23 East Kilbride Pirates
All in all a disappointing day for the Roughnecks as a few opportunities were allowed to slip through our fingers, but congratulations to the Pirates who’s defence stood resolute throughout. We now look to our next game, this Saturday against the Yorkshire Rams.
Head Coach Bryce Stevenson added: “Sunday's game was a frustrating one to say the least. I feel we didn't capatalise on opportunities we provided for ourselves and EKP took advantage of theirs. It's dissapointing but I know this team will move on from this result and we will ensure we do everything right to put the players in the best position to succeed. We have a short week against the Yorkshire Rams this week playing away on Saturday evening but I know the players are keen to ensure we move to .500.”
Ruari Collinson, our Offensive Co-ordinator, echoed those sentiments as a whole but added that he is keen to draw on the positives from Sunday’s game and focus on improving consistency going into our clash with the Rams.
MVPs and Scorers
Offensive MVP: #85 TE Rob Hayes
Rob played well all day on Sunday, staying in to block in the run game and coming away with the Touchdown reception on a beautiful over the shoulder catch in the back of the endzone.
Defensive MVP: #4 CB Stuart Don
Stuart was great in pass coverage all day, allowing no receptions on balls thrown his way, and funnelled the run back inside well.
Match MVP: #95 DL Winston Ojei
Winston’s showed great discipline in rushing, and was a nightmare in the opposition back field against his former team, a few sacks and a goal-line fumble added the stats to back up a fantastic debut effort.
#22 Gamuchirai Mukuredzi - Punt Return TD
#85 Rob Hayes - 17 Yard Reception TD
Photographs from the Incredible Gail Davis