Burnbrae hosts American football challenge

Running back Scott Widdowson in action for East Kilbride Pirates (pic by Duncan Gray)
Running back Scott Widdowson in action for East Kilbride Pirates (pic by Duncan Gray)

American football is back in Milngavie this weekend when East Kilbride Pirates hold their annual challenge against a US college side.

This year’s opposition are NCAA Division III team CMS Stags from California who will face the Pirates at West of Scotland’s Burnbrae ground on Saturday.

It’s the third year in a row that the Pirates have hosted a US college team, having faced Hanover Panthers from Indiana in 2015 and North Central College from Illinois last June.

The Stags are travelling to Scotland from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College in California as an extension of a wider educational and cultural tour of Ireland.

“This game is one of the highlights of our season,” said Pirates head coach Ross Templeton. “The chance to test ourselves against a team from the US is a great challenge, and allows us to gain a lot of experience and take a step forward in our play.

“I expect this to be a big challenge as it forces us to try and raise our game – which can really help us for the rest of our season.”

Pirates chairman Amanda McDonald added: “We’re delighted to be playing at Burnbrae. The ground offers excellent facilities which guarantee a great day out, including a 500-seat covered stand, a licenced bar and hot half-time food.

“Commentary will also be provided throughout the game, so those new to American Football will be able to keep up with all the action.”

Amanada added: “This game is also a chance to raise the profile of American Football and our team within Scotland and hopefully get some new fans along.”

The Pirates are Scotland’s top American Football Club, and play in the British American Football Association’s Premier Division.

“The East Kilbride Pirates are a formidable opponent,” said Stags head coach Kyle Sweeney.

“We are impressed with the talent they bring to the field and are looking forward to competing with them.

“They possess good size, play sound football and are a well-run organization.

“Their hospitability in putting this event together has been crucial to our trip planning.

“Facing quality international competition like the Pirates will be a unique experience for us and one that will be a memorable opportunity.”

The CMS Stags are travelling to Ireland and Scotland with Global Football, who provide opportunities for amateur football players to travel and compete nternationally with similar organisations and experience different cultures.

Kick-off on Saturday is 2pm and admission is £5, which will include a a free gameday programme. Under 16s go free.