For the fourth consecutive year these teams met at Hamilton Rugby Club in the semi-final stage of the British Championship. The Pirates were, once again Premier North champions, the Blitz were runners up in the Premier South Division.
This was a closer game than last year. London opened the scoring with a touchdown from a spectacular punt return. Their other scores came from turnovers, one fumble recovered and run in and the last touchdown from short distance after another EK fumble. The Pirates sole touchdown came after a turnover too, this time an interception.
The final score was a 19-7 win for the Blitz who go on again to meet London Warriors in the Britbowl final.
photos – East Kilbride Pirates v London Blitz
The Scottish Australian Rules Football League played their championship game at Livingston Rugby Club on 22nd August. The teams were the ever present Edinburgh Bloods and a new team for 2015, Greater Glasgow Giants.
The game was competitive but the experience and accuracy around goal of the Bloods was the telling difference as they won by 113 to 62.
photos – Edinburgh Bloods v Greater Glasgow Giants
I’ve no great interest in the round ball football game and hadn’t previously photographed it, but I agreed to cover a game for SPN on 15 August. The game was a Scottish Cup first preliminary round game played at Kilsyth Rangers ground between Harestanes and Girvan. This was the first time the winners of the Scottish Amateur cup have been entered into Scottish Cup. Harestanes, from Kirkintilloch, were the amateur team while their opponents from South Ayrshire play in the West Junior League.
On the day, Girvan proved to be the stronger team and won 3-0.
photos – Harestanes v Girvan
The Pirates completed their regular season fixtures with a 37-14 win against Sheffield Predators on 9th July at Hamilton Rugby Club. Sheffield put up strong resistance and were holding the Pirates 14 all after the first quarter, but succumbed to the strength of the Pirates as the game went on. The top performance of the day was by Jamie McLaughlin who scored four touchdowns.
The defeat left Sheffield with a share of fifth place in the Premier North Division with a 3 & 7 record. The Pirates finished on 8 & 2 and edged out Tamworth Phoenix on the tie breaker to be crowned Division Champions yet again. Their reward is a home tie in the semi-finals. This will be played at Hamilton on August 23rd, the opposition, for the fourth year in a row, will be the Southern runners up London Blitz.
photos – East Kilbride Pirates v Sheffield Predators
Before the senior game the Pirates junior team played their last fixture of the year against Edinburgh Wolves. This was a close game, East Kilbride were just ahead by 20-14 at half time and played through a nervy, scoreless second half to take the win.
Photos – EK Pirates Juniors v Edinburgh Wolves
Earlier in the season East Kilbride Pirates lost their away game to Tamworth Phoenix by 32-27. The results since then have meant that this game was almost a Premier Division North title decider, with Tamworth having a 5 point advantage from the first game.
The Pirates opened the game strongly, quickly forcing their way downfield to score on their opening drive. They doubled their lead in the second quarter before the Phoenix pulled a score back just before half time for a 14-7 scoreline. Tamworth brought the scores level in the fourth quarter before East Kilbride ran in a final touchdown and claimed a very narrow victory by 21-14.
The result means that both teams have qualified for the Premier Division play-offs this season. The Pirates have one more game to play against Sheffield Predators next Sunday. A win in that game will mean they will win the Division again and have a home semi-final match.
In Division 2 this year West Coast Trojans had been cruising to a perfect season until last weekend when the lost a close game at home to Glasgow Tigers. I made it along to the return match at Locinch on 26th July.
This time things went to form. In constant rain the Trojans overpowered Glasgow and recorded a 60-0 win.
The Tigers have finished their season at a level 5 & 5. The Trojans have play-off football to look forward to.
photos – Glasgow Tigers v West Coast Trojans
In a vital game between two of the contenders for the Premier Division North, Lancashire Wolverines visited East Kilbride Pirates on 18th July. Lancashire won the first meeting between the two at the start of the season and the win here was important as one of the three top teams will miss out on the play-offs.
The Pirates started well, scoring a touchdown on their opening drive. After a Wolverines field goal a second EK touchdown took the scoreline to 13-3 before Lancashire forced a touchdown of their own. The second half was tense, the Pirates scored one field goal in the third quarter and neither side managed to add further to the score, leaving the result of a 16-10 home win.
For East Kilbride the next fixture is in two weeks against the Division leaders, Tamworth Phoenix. That will be another vital game.
photos – EK Pirates v Lancashire Wolverines
I was back at Hamilton the next day for a Youth Tournament featuring East Kilbride Pirates, Hamilton Bucaneers, Aberdeen roughnecks and Highland Wildcats.
photos – East Kilbride Pirates Youth Tournament
I took the opportunity to cover this game for SPN on 11th July. It was a Camanachd Cup quarter-final with the incentive of a televised game in the next round for the winners.
Inveraray have been struggling in the Premiership this season while Mid Argyll are doing well in the National Division and chasing promotion, so we expected a close game. However, Inveraray started the game with two early goals and set a challenge that Glasgow couldn’t match. The score was 2-1 at half time but two more scores by the visitors in the second half sealed the win and the semi-final place.
Mid Argyll will be hoping for better fortune next Saturday as they face Beauly in the Baillimore Cup Final.
photos – Glasgow Mid Argyll v Inveraray
The Trojans have been cruising through the Northern Second Division this season and defended their perfect record against Aberdeen Roughnecks at Garscube on 5th July. Aberdeen are only in their second season in the league but they’ve been been competing well and came into this game with a winning record.
The Trojans have been winning this year with a strong running attack and by punishing any mistakes their opponents make. The Roughnecks held out pretty well against the tide but their offence just couldn’t exert enough pressure to
The final score was 38-6 to West Coast who are heading for the Division title and a home game in the Division 2 play-offs.
photos – West Coast Trojans v Aberdeen Roughnecks
Scotland’s two teams in the Northern Division 1 Conference have been sitting in 2nd and 3rd places in the league, so this meeting at Meadowbank on 4th July was vital for their play-off aspirations. On the day the Wolves came out strongly and built up a 34-0 lead by half time. The second half was a closer competition but the score went to 40-0 before the end.
Edinburgh have now confirmed their place in the poet-season play-offs. Clyde Valley still have a good chance of making it too.
photos – Edinburgh Wolves v Clyde Valley Blackhawks