The Widnes Wild Academy Under 18s Team played their first ever game away to the Manchester Storm Under 18s on Saturday, 14th September 2019, coming home on the wrong end of a 13 – 2 defeat.
This is the first season for the new Wild Under 18s team and, as such, the players have all come together from a variety of different backgrounds. Several players moved up from last season’s Wild Under 15 team, others have switched to Widnes from other clubs and several players were playing their first ever competitive game. It is bound to take time for the players to gel into a single unit and this debut season will be looked upon as one of player development and team building.
Manchester took the lead in the fifth minute and were 4 – 0 up by the time Wild Captain and former Storm Junior Sam Anderson scored for Widnes on 16 minutes. A fight-back at that stage looked highly possible but then a disastrous spell in the last minute of the first period saw Manchester hit three unanswered goals within 40 seconds of each other, to leave the Wild trailing 1 – 7 at the first break.
Storm edged further ahead on 26 minutes and a second strike for Anderson reduced the deficit slightly 20 seconds later but the result was never in much doubt from there on and Manchester scored five more unanswered goals to take the win.
The Wild Under 18s play their first ever home game this Saturday 21st September against Solihull Under 18s at Planet Ice Widnes. Face Off is 7.45 p.m. and admission is free.
The Wild Academy Under 13 Team got their new season in Junior League North Division 3 off to a great start with a 2 – 13 win away to local rivals Deeside Dragons. The Wild opened the scoring in the eighth minute, with a goal from Nick Highcock and two quick goals from Jared Knowles had already put the game out of reach of the hosts by the twelfth minute.
A brace from Thomas Warburton either side of the first period break edged the Wild further ahead and, by the time Deeside managed to find the back of the net early in the third period, Widnes were already 0 – 11 in front.
The 2 – 13 score line clearly shows how much progress the Under 13s team has made in a short space of time. In the same fixture last season, which was the Wild youngsters’ first ever competitive game, they lost 23 – 2 to a Dragons team that only had eight players icing. That result was eventually handed to Widnes due to a rule that punishes short benches, even if the weakened team wins.
The Wild Under 13 Team are next in action on Saturday 5th October when they entertain the Blackburn Under 13 team at Planet Ice Widnes, 6.15 p.m. face off.
The Wild Academy Under 9s team took part in a “Cross-Ice” tournament at Altrincham on Saturday 14th September.
Under 9s tournaments comprise a series of short-format games which are played across the width of the ice rather than using the full length. This is so as to cut down the amount of skating required to reach the goals and to enable the young players to concentrate on developing skills such as stick work, puck handling, passing and shooting.
The games are played for fun with no actual scores being recorded and they are overseen by coaches from both sides, rather than official match referees. Tournaments usually consist of four or five teams playing on the same day and are spread around the different teams’ home rinks.
The Wild Under 9s team have tournaments away at Deeside, Telford and Manchester again, before hosting their first home tournament of the season on Saturday 7th December at Planet Ice Widnes.
The brand new Wild Academy Under 11 team played their first ever game on Sunday 15th September with the long trip away to the north east to face the Whitley Bay Under 11 Team. The Wild Under 11s came out on the wrong end of a 9 – 1 scoreline, having been outshot by 43 – 12 over the course of the game. However, considering the fact that this was their first competitive game as a team, and, in the case of several players, their first competitive game ever, there are a lot of positives to be taken. The Wild goal was scored by team captain Cai Vernett-Showers.
The Wild Under 11s Team are away to Billingham on 19th October and play their first ever home game at home to Bradford on Saturday 26th October at Planet Ice Widnes.