Britbowl Preview

IMG_8544smallThe Highland Wildcats youth squad leave for Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster today to compete in the National Finals for American Football (21 September).

The Wildcats, who in June, were crowned Scottish Champions for the fourth year running take – on average – a relatively young squad to the Youth UK Championships to face off against the best teams in Britain.  The squad, made up of mainly 15 year olds, have already dominated the Scottish conference and now face the forth UK seeded team, the Farnham Knights, in the first round.  Coaches and players have been preparing for this match up with video footage and practicing three times a week.

Head Coach, Robbie Paulin said, “from what we’ve seen of Farnham, we know they are a much larger squad that our selves however we’ve managed to beat older and bigger teams this season already.”

If the Wildcats find success in round 1 they will either find themselves up against the Edinburgh Wolves or the Birmingham Bulls.  Either will pose a challenge to the Wildcats with the Wolves being the only team to defeat the Wildcats this year in their victory in the capital in mid June.  The Birmingham Bulls are currently seeded number 1 in the UK.

“The Wolves, Knights and Bulls have been our main focus in our preparations for Britbowl.  The tricky part about preparing a squad for the National Finals is the set up requires you to prep for potentially 7 different opponents.  We’ve tried to focus on the most likely teams we’re going to come up against.  Definitely Farnham in the first round and then focus on the two scenarios for round 2.  The Final would be out of 4 teams however I feel the most likely will be Woodham Warriors or Kent Exiles, but this is very difficult to predict.”  Paulin continued.

The Woodham Warriors have met the Wildcats on several occasions at crucial games and finals including the Channel 5 Bowl in 2005, NFL Flag Championships in 2007, the Flag UK Championships in 2008 and 2009, the UK Championship semi finals in 2010 – knocking the Wildcats out of contention – and the UK Final in 2011 which saw the Wildcats take revenge and take the Britbowl crown in the last seconds of the game.  With their head coach of 10 years, Jon Tait, retiring after this year’s final they will be out to take that final step to the UK Championship which they have just missed out on in the last seconds of the game three years in a row.

“It’s always tough playing up against Jon Tait and the Woodham Warriors.  They are always competitive, well drilled and have a desire to win,” Said Paulin.  “It’s sad to see Coach Tait leave and he really does deserve a UK Championship win.  That doesn’t mean we’re not going to try our best to stop them!  But he truly has done a fantastic job for the sport in his area and indeed the entire UK!  His work has been inspirational!”

“I’m really proud of what the squad has achieved so far this year at such an early stage in most of the players development.  We’ve done a lot of preparation and feel that we’re in a position to really show what we can do and hopefully it’s enough to surpass what we achieved last year and even make the finals and take back the title we had in 2011.”

Britbowl this year is sponsored by Football America UK and Gridiron TV will be streaming the final match ups live online.  Head over to the Wildcats facebook page www.facebook.com/highlandwildcats to receive updates of scores and links to the live stream when it’s announced.

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