Based: Hamilton Palace Sports Grounds, Motehill Road, Hamilton (also played at East Kilbride Sports Centre and at Brancumm Home & Brancumhall Complex, Calderwood)
Career Record: full record unknown
Colours: Red pants, black shirts, black helmets
Website: http://www.ekpirates.com/
Honours: BSL Division One runners-up 2003, 2001. BSL Conference champions 2004, 2003, 2001. SGA champions 1998, 1997

2003BSLLondonEastKilbrideSutherland.jpg (26286 bytes)
Pirates RB Jon Sutherland breaks clear to open the scoring against the London O's in Britbowl 2003
Photo courtesy of BritballNow

East Kilbride in action against the Birmingham Bulls in 2000
Photo courtesy of Richy Black

2004 BSL Division One Northern Conference 9-1-0*
2003 BSL Division One Northern Conference 7-0-1*

2002 BSL Division One Northern Conference 10-0-0*
2001 BSL Division One Northern Conference 6-1-0*
2000 BSL Division One Northern Conference 6-2-0*
1999 BSL Division One National Conference 4-4-0
1998 SGA 5-0-0*
1997 SGA 7-0-0*
1996 SGA 2-7-0
1995 SGA 6-3-1*
1994 BAFA Division Two Scotland Conference 6-4-0
1993 BNGL Premier League Northern Conference 7-3-0*
1992 BNGL National League Scottish Conference 5-5-0
1991 BNGL National League Scottish Conference 3-5-1
1990 BNGL National League Scottish Conference 0-10-0
1989 CGL Duke Premier Division Scottish Conference 3-7-0
1988 Budweiser League Premier Division (competed as Lanarkshire Pirates)
1987 Budweiser League First Division Scotland Conference 4-4-0
1986 BAFL Anglo Conference 1-6-0

A Pirates WR makes a spectacular catch against Team Canada in 2000
Photo courtesy of Richy Black

Team Notes: The East Kilbride Pirates were formed in 1985, following a notice appearing in the local newspaper asking any interested parties to attend training. The Club, which is now the oldest surviving club in Scotland, was named in a competition through the local newspaper, the East Kilbride News. The winning name was a strange choice, given that East Kilbride is miles from either the West or East coast and therefore unlikely to have any historical connection with pirates. 1985 was a formative year, and the Club played three unkitted games, winning 2 and losing 1. For the 1986 Season, the Pirates merged with the nearby Rutherglen Ironhogs, producing a suitably sized squad to take part in the British American Football League (Anglo Conference). Things started brightly under Head Coach, Steve Gulley, a player with the Club, as a 13-0 win was recorded over the Clydesdale Colts in the first kitted game. Unfortunately, this was to be the last win of the year, as the team ended up with a 1-6 record. 1987 saw a new Head Coach with the appointment of Bill Walsh (no, not that one!), an American working in East Kilbride. Bill's influence was apparent as East Kilbride went 4-4 to finish second in Division One of the new, Budweiser American Football League. With Coach Walsh's return to the States, a new Head Coach was appointed in 1988. Another American, Nick Fantini was in town on a 12-month exchange visit, and he agreed to take over the reins during his stay. Unfortunately for both Nick and the Club, the previous year's success had resulted in promotion to the Premier Division of the Budweiser League. The higher standard of football quickly became obvious, as the Pirates tumbled to a 0-10 Season. Included in those 10 losses was a 110-0 defeat at the Granite City Oilers. To date this is still the second heaviest defeat suffered in domestic American Football games in the United Kingdom (only Mersey Centurions 148-6 defeat of Halton Demons in a 1989 BNGL game was more emphatic). Glasgow Redhawks. Nick returned home after this Season, but he was to return later. The Head Coach's cap was passed to Alastair Rodger, a Scottish coach who had previously worked with the Clydesdale Colts. Another change in the league set-up saw the Club compete in the Combined Gridiron League (Premier Division) in 1989. 1990 saw the arrival of the British National Gridiron League. The Pirates had a 0-9 season, but this year was to be remembered for all the wrong reasons. During a game at the Dundee Whalers, Pirates' linebacker Kenny Hodge received injuries from which he later died. This was the first ever fatality in American Football in Britain, and if any good can come from such a set of circumstances, then the tightening up of player insurance and ambulance cover which followed was one such benefit. After much soul searching within the Club, the Pirates decided to carry on. The Player of the Year Award was renamed in Kenny's memory. 1991 saw the return of Nick Fantini as Head Coach, with Nick having returned to Scotland on a permanent basis (more to do with his future wife Kirstine than the Pirates). A 3-5-1 season ensued, but the Club was again rocked by the loss of another player. Cornerback Barry Nunn died from a congenital heart disease, and although his death was not football related, the loss was just as great. A new Most Improved Player Award was created to commemorate Barry. In 1992, with the team still in the BNGL National Division, things started to improve on the field. A then Club record 44-0 win over the now defunct Glasgow Cyclones, and a 34-12 victory at Granite City Oilers being two of the main highlights in a 5-5 year. On to 1993, and the BNGL Premier Division. Last year's progress continued, and a first ever winning season of 7-3 was recorded. Highlights included a nailbiting win at the Edinburgh Eagles to clinch a playoff spot. Involvement in the playoffs was short, with a heavy defeat in England at the hands of a very strong Lancashire Wolverines side. The BAFA Senior League arrived in 1994, with East Kilbride in Division 2. In an attempt to improve their standing, the Club arranged to import an American quarterback, Craig Van Ness. Unfortunately, Craig damaged his knee in a skiing accident just before coming to Scotland and was not able to do himself justice. After a month here, he returned to the States. Dunoon based QB, Graeme Henry took over and steered the team to a record of 4-4 in a season shortened by other Clubs failing to fulfil their fixtures. The 1995 Season was the first of the independent Scottish Gridiron Association, and the Pirates finished as Conference Champions with a 6-3-1 record. (The results below may be a bit misleading - the loss at Dundee * was overturned by League officials and the game awarded to East Kilbride after the Whalers were found guilty of fielding ineligible players.. The 6 wins also include an awarded victory over Denny Broncos. An unfulfilled fixture at Granite City was declared a "tie"). Despite falling at the first hurdle in the playoffs, this was a highly successful year considering the small squad used. An unprecedented number of injuries compounded the problem, but with many players playing both ways, a difficult year was completed with some success. Following this relative success, a number of veteran players announced their retirement. Their places were filled by no fewer than 6 of the Junior squad who moved up to join the Seniors, in addition to the new players recruited from Rookie Trials. This left a very inexperienced squad, and despite the late addition of a number of players from the Clydesdale Colts, who were "taking a year out" (but never returned) during 1996, a disappointing Season followed. The Pirates finished with a 2-7 record. For 1997, East Kilbride lost the services of the former Colts, but these players were more than replaced by the arrival of a significant number of Glasgow Lions players following the demise of what was Scotland's leading Club. The inclusion of both their playing ability and coaching knowledge was a huge benefit to the Pirates who proceeded to go throughout the 1997 Season unbeaten to capture their first Scottish Title. (SGA Bowl III at Caird Park, Dundee) The Pirates retained their SGA Title in 1998, defeating Dundee Whalers in the Bowl game, just as they had done 12 months earlier. (SGA Bowl IV at Loch Inch, Glasgow) 1999 saw the Pirates return to the British Senior League, where only they and the Strathclyde Sheriffs represented Scotland. While the Sheriffs competed in Division 2, East Kilbride were thrown in at the deep end, as part of Division 1's National Conference. A mixed season followed, with the Pirates winning three of the seven games actually played. This, along with an awarded game saw the Club finish with a 4-4 record, and miss a place in the Bowl game by the narrowest of margins. Unofficially, the Pirates finished the Season ranked number 3 in the UK. 2000 saw the BSL realign Division 1, with the Pirates being moved into the Northern Conference. After a slow start, the Pirates went on a long unbeaten run, which only ended in the Play-off Semi Finals. Despite finishing the regular season with a 6-2 record, the lack of home field advantage proved too big an obstacle to overcome. Won the Div. 1 Northern Conference in 2001, and went on to reach the final where they put in a gutsy performance against the O's losing 37-20. Reached the semi-finals in 2002, but lost to the PA Knights. Returned to the Britbowl in 2003, with another undefeated season. Defeated Ipswich Cardinals 12-7 in a gutsy semi-final win, but succumbed to the London O's 35-7 in the championship game.
In 2004, a more youthful lineup was announced, and they repaid the coaching staff with an impressive 9-1-0 record, before again failling at the hands of the London O's, this time in the semi-finals.


1994 - Craig van Ness

Game notes

14th August 2005 - CB Ivor Clark recorded 3 solo tackles, defended 2 passes
and made 3 interceptions for 3 touchdowns. His interception returns were
for 39, 61 and 80 yards. He also made 2 receptions for 115 yards and a
touchdown from 73 yards vs Nottingham Caesars
3rd June 2001 - Jon Sutherland ran for 232 yards and 6 TDs vs Nottingham Caesars
21st June 2000 - Gary McNey passed for 5 TDs and ran for 3 against Yorkshire Rams
6th June 1993 - Ali McDougall carries 53 times for 190 yards vs Falkirk Cougars
25th May 1991 - Al McDougall ran for 272 yards vs Strathclyde