Weekend double boosts Swindon after Watt's decision to leave

DELIGHT at the Wildcats' double win over the weekend was tempered by the shock news that Nicky Watt would be leaving the team for personal reasons, writes George Royle.

Watt will leave a big hole to fill as he offers a lot of physicality as well as great point-scoring ability.

During his stint in Wiltshire, the Scottish-born centre has played 74 games and racked up a decent 72 points. Nicky remains available for this weekend's double-header against the Bracknell Bees.

The fact that Watt is set to depart seemed to galvanise the whole team who recorded their first four-point weekend of the campaign.

A gutsy performance on the road in Sheffield gave the Cats a big two points on Saturday before they posted a comfortable success at Telford on Sunday.

On Saturday, at Ice Sheffield, Swindon fell behind inside two minutes but responded immediately through a solo effort from Watt. Further goals from Matias Perkkio and Aaron Nell gave the Cats a 3-1 lead after the first period of hockey.

A physical second session went in the favour of Sheffield, as they bagged two goals to end the period with the score tied at 3-3.

Early in the third period the Cats grabbed a crucial goal to take the lead, Jonas Hoog firing home with assists coming from Nell and Perkkio. These three are starting to form a destructive first line for the Wildcats.

Desperate for an equaliser, Sheffield pulled their goalie off the ice but Czech Jan Melichar slotted home an empty-netter for Swindon to seal a massive two points.

Sunday brought a slightly easier task for the Cats, as they took on the Telford Tigers who sit bottom of the league.

The Tigers held their own in the first period, as the teams headed to the locker rooms with the score at 1-1, Perkkio bagging the visitors' goal.

The difference in class between the two sides was shown in the second period when Swindon bagged six goals and played some very impressive hockey. Hoog, Watt, Perkkio and Nell were all on the scoresheet.

In the third period, the Cats took their foot off the pedal, scoring just one goal when Hoog completed his hat-trick. The final buzzer sounded with the score 8-4 in favour of the Wiltshire side.

Swindon have now won seven of their last nine games and are sixth in the league – with the prospect of rising further.

With Watt departing and injuries to Jamie Hayes and Lee Richardson, the Cats are currently short in the forwards department, however, and player-coach Ryan Aldridge may have to dig into his pockets to secure some cover.

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