Article by Tom Green…
Three years ago the youth Wildcats defeated the Woodham Warriors 38-34 in the youth final of BritBowl XXV. Three years since the dramatic victory the Highland Wildcats look to repeat their success same down in Doncaster three weeks from now. In order to achieve this goal, set at the start of the season, the young team have had to increase the intensity and frequency of their training to put them in with a shot at the UK title.
I attended one of their most recent practices which occurred on Saturday to assist with the tasks of filling up water bottles to keep the players hydrated as well as taking notes for this report.
A lot of emphasis has been put on tackling techniques to ensure that all the players in the team are able to make the crucial stops on defense which could be the difference between victory and defeat.
The players have also been going through the playbook regularly and making adjustments for the teams South of the border who will provide a different sort of challenge to the teams in the Scottish division.
The first thing that will strike you when you attend these sessions is the amount of time all the coaches have put into the cause. The prior knowledge of all of them is outstanding and you can get the impression that everyone in the organisation wants the team to succeed. You can see this throughout the season and the enthusiasm from the opening training session in March is still evident from all involved in the organisation.
One good example of them is Linebacker Steven Shaw who has attended nearly every single practice whilst injured to learn the plays and provide support for his team mates. He recently returned to training after recovering from a spate of injuries and has shown the maturity of someone who is 20 years older.
Another fantastic example of players returning from injury is Linebacker Jordan Anderson who received a nasty injury during the HACL and has returned to the team to provide his services. It is great to see that he hasn’t given up on the sport after such a long injury which would have led to many people retiring from any contact sport.
The final example I am going to provide is that of Corin Robinson (who is also a Linebacker) who received a injury just before the last regular season game. He has made good recovery in recent months and is already back at training. He has been one of the most dedicated players in the team and a crucial component of the Wildcats success in the regular season with 28 individual tackles.
The volunteers of the club have also been doing a huge amount of work to ensure that the welfare of the players is kept in check. A great example of this is Daniel Woodley who might as well call the Blitz his second home with the amount of odd jobs he has been doing there. He can often be overlooked in the grand scheme of things but when there is something to do with the Wildcats you are bound to find Daniel doing something in the shadows to keep things running smoothly.
It is only three weeks now until BritBowl XXVIII and the opportunity to repeat the success of 2011 and go all the way.
Head Coach Robbie Paulin commented, “The work the staff has put in has been fantastic. Daniel Woodley, Nicola Muir and Anita Crant work hard to keep the practices running behind the scenes and the entire coaching staff has been going beyond what is normally expected of them with extra meetings and of course the added practices. Now that we have selected our squad of 24 things have really stepped up in the last few practices. There is a general feeling similar to the drive we felt in 2011.”
Article by Tom Green…