Pirates look to correct weaknesses for season finale

The UEA Pirates’ main weaknesses this season were very prominent in their games against Brighton Tsunami and Sussex Saxons, causing them to fall to an ignominious record of two wins, four losses. The record meant that the Pirates are now officially ruled out of playoff contention, however, the Pirates are looking to ened the season on a high having won their second to last game against Cambridge University Pythons on 7th Feburary.
Hosting the Brighton Tsunami on 24th January, the Pirates got off to a terrible start, conceding 14 points in the first 16 minutes of the game. The defence, after a slow opening, played superb football, making some remarkable plays to shut-out the Tsunami offence for nearly three quarters of the match. One example of such brilliant defending was when Longkai Fer chased down Tsunami quarterback, Matt Coburn, to tackle him from behind, preventing a sure touchdown. Coburn looked certain to score, as he faked a handoff to running back Zach Smith-Bubbins and rolled out right. Yet Fer, showcasing excellent speed and awareness, managed to catch Coburn after the rest of the Pirates were out of play. In the secondary, cornerback James Rushmere played through a hip injury to force a fumble, stripping the running back in a tackle to negate a huge Tsunami play.
The offence started to move the chains in the second half, with the offensive line improving on their first half showing to dominate the run game. They showed fantastic effort, displaying tremendous physicality into the second level. Right tackle Jason Howe—a defensive line convert—was particularly dominant.
The Pirates’ lone score came from a Ross Aveyard catch in the corner of the end zone. Aveyard, lined up in the slot, ran a wheel route as outside wide receiver Charlie Guest ran inside to open up the defense. Quarterback Francis Hughes displayed great touch, lofting the ball perfectly for Aveyard to register a brilliant touchdown: his first this season. However, despite their attempted fightback, the Pirates’ initial sluggishness ultimately cost them the game.
Departing at 06:20 for their game against the Kent Falcons, the Pirates looked to right the wrongs of their previous defeat. Alas, on a terrible pitch not conducive to passing the football, the Pirates fell to an 18-0 defeat; their offense being shutout for the first time this season.
The conditions made it exceptionally difficult for both teams to hold onto the football. In addition, footwork became an even more important skill, as players struggled with sharp cuts and movements in the mud bath. Both quarterbacks had huge difficulties in setting their feet due to the slippery mud, leading to wobbly, inaccurate throws. With the ability to run the football effectively being extremely important, the Pirates struggled. Numerous turnovers were committed, halting any previously gained momentum and often occurring in positions deep in the Falcons’ half.
The defence, stopping the Falcons’ offence for the first quarter, gave up two big plays in the second to fall 12-0 behind. In spite of this, their performance was largely faultless. They conceded no more points in the contest, whilst continuing their impressive streak of forcing at least one turnover per game.
The first forced fumble came courtesy of linebacker Mike Pearl, as he skilfully shot through his gap to strip the running back. Diving on the loose ball was rookie defensive end Harvey Green.
The second turnover was caused by defensive captain Gabe Ruane, who powered past a tight end block to tackle the running back, jarring the ball loose. Four Pirates swarmed onto the ball.
However, the Pirates have managed to bounce back from their back to back losses after they convincingly defeated Cambridge University Pythons on Sunday 7th February. Touchdowns from Patrick Marchington, Lewis Reekie, Francis Hughes and team captain Henry Schoen saw the Pirates beat their opponents 24-0.


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January 2022
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