The Youth Highland Wildcats finished with a perfect regular season on Saturday as they won all three of their games. This is the first time in Wildcats history that the team has gone completely unbeaten. The closest they’ve come to it in the past was 11 wins and 1 tie in 2011 when they went on to win Britbowl.
With four key players missing on the day and three injuries the Wildcats players that were active knew they would need to keep the tempo high going into the last three games of the regular season.
Arriving in Hamilton the Wildcats got to work and took down the Buccaneers with touchdowns from Seumas Ross, Kyle Holleyoake, Colin Hamilton, Alasdair Howie, Ally Gibson, Mark Pyper, Cameron Payne and Cameron Robertson. Nose Tackle Stephen McMeechan picked up a safety and a defensive touchdown. Fergus MacKenzie also picked up a safety with Wildcats rookie cornerback Corey Marshall getting two interceptions both returned for touchdowns. Other players making an impact from the Wildcats development squad were cornerbacks Jerome Hall and Alex MacPherson. Hall causing two fumbles and two batdowns and MacPherson making batdowns and tackles. The Wildcats dominated throughout the game and the finals score was 65-2.
The second match up of the day saw the Wildcats take on the Edinburgh Wolves in a shutout game. Passing touchdowns to Payne, Ross, Pyper and Holleyoake along with receptions from John Falconer and Cameron Robertson saw the Wildcats lead throughout the game. Once again the Wildcats rookie defensive players stepped up to the challenge with linebacker Nathan Ross making tackles and batdowns and Hall, Marshall, MacPherson and Scott Robertson shutting down the Wolves offense.
The tightest game of the regular season was saved until last. The East Kilbride Pirates put in a fantastic performance against the reigning Scottish Champions. The Wildcats opened the scoring with a touchdown from Seumas Ross but the Pirates were quick to respond with a score. The home side’s defense managed to stop the Highland attack and the Pirates found the endzone again on their next offensive drive bringing the score to 13 – 6.
Nose tackle Stephen McMeechan got the Wildcats back on track putting 2 points on the board as he tackled the Pirates in their own endzone for a safety. The Pirates quickly answered this with another touchdown but it would be McMeechan again with another defensive score that would take the scoreboard to 19 – 14, the Wildcats now only trailing by 5 points. East Kilbride extended their lead with another touchdown but a rushing score from Seumas Ross and two passing touchdowns from Cameron Payne thrown by quarterback Euan Crawford, edged the Wildcats into the lead. An interception from Mark Pyper in the dying seconds of the game sealed the Wildcats victory with a final score of 25 – 28.
“Edinburgh and Hamilton played their hearts out as always! East Kilbride gave us a big shock and had clearly worked really hard to prepare for the game, and their hard work definitely paid off! It was a fantastic game and was badly needed to help our team prepare for Britbowl.” said Head Coach Robbie Paulin. “We were so pleased to see some of our development players that were selected for their first ever tournament today – Corey, Jerome, Alex and Nathan – stepping up and making an impact on the field!”
The Wildcats now start preparations for Britbowl on 20 September in Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster where they will attempt to win the UK Championship, something the team hasn’t achieved since 2011.