After a lot of changes the 2014 National League schedule has now been officially released. Both the Youth and Junior Highland Wildcats squads now know their fixtures for the coming season.
The Junior squad will be playing all of their home games at the Bught Park this year with the Youth Wildcats playing their home tournament at Highland RC. Medical cover on game day will be provided by Ambulance and Medical Services.
This season will see the formation of a Scottish Conference at the Junior age group and the Wildcats and Lanarkshire Longhorns – previously playing in the Northern Conference in 2013 – will be joined by the Edinburgh Wolves, Clackmannanshire Ravens and the East Kilbride Pirates.
Head Coach, Robbie Paulin commented, “With more Scottish teams involved this year it will seriously cut down on our travelling. Last year three of our regular season games were in England and meant over night stays for each of them. Now all of our games are in the central belt of Scotland which, although it’s still quite a distance, is something that as an organisation we are used to.”
It was with the introduction of 8 on 8 American football (instead of 11 on 11) that has seen a rise in the number of Junior teams throughout the country in 2014. The Scottish conference will play 8 on 8 in the regular season, however if the Wildcats were to reach their team goal of making the playoffs they will find themselves having to step up to 11 on 11 in the UK wide playoff match ups which potentially then lead onto Britbowl.
The Youth squad will be looking to defending their Scottish title for the firth year in a row this season and are aiming to reach the heights of the 2011 Wildcats squad and pick up the UK Championship.
Paulin added, “We’ve seen a huge increase in numbers off the back of our Community League project and currently have a shortlist of 40 Youth players trying out for the team. We’re looking at selecting around 20 players for each tournament from this group. The experience gained from the Community League will be invaluable for these players and the competition has also helped us recruit more athletes and retain them through, what was normally, a long pre-season training period.”
“I’d like to thank Amanda MacDonald for her work on the original schedule and Steve Whitter, the National League Coordinator, who has been working tirelessly to get the fixtures in place for the whole of the UK and to make sure all the teams’ needs are met!”
Make sure you check out the Youth Highland Wildcats Trailer #allthewaywildcats