AARON Nell became the Bespoke Guardians Swindon Wildcats’ all-time leading points scorer during a mixed derby double-header with Bristol Pitbulls either side of the new year.

The Wildcats’ head coach – who began his Swindon career in 2008 – scored his 1,046th point midway through a 3-2 defeat to local rivals Bristol on New Year’s Day.

The previous night, just hours before 2022 ended, Swindon claimed a first competitive victory over the Pitbulls thanks to a thrilling 7-6 scoreline in front of over 1,400 at the Link Centre.

Saturday night’s glutton of goals began with a Bayley Harewood effort for Bristol after exactly a minute of play.

Morgan Clarke-Pizzo made it 2-0 58 seconds later in a short-handed scenario for the visitors. But in the same powerplay, Swindon’s Tomasz Malasinski halved the deficit.

Caly Robertson and Jay Warren extend the Pitbulls’ lead to 4-1 by the end of the 12th minute, and it appeared as though the Wildcats’ hoodoo against their local rivals would continue until Chris Jones started the comeback at 16:58.

Loris Taylor chimed in with a goal early in the middle period, and Nell tied the game at four goals apiece in the 32nd minute.

Swindon took the lead for the first time on the night at 42:08 when Colby Tower put away a fast break, only for Ed Bradley to equalise on a powerplay five minutes later.

A little more than a minute later, the Wildcats were back in front through Russ Cowley.

The experienced forward added his second of the game at 56:39 to give Swindon some breathing room for the first time, but Bristol reduced the deficit to a single goal with 41 seconds to play through Warren.

Despite a late penalty for Stevie Whitfield, Swindon managed to hold on for a memorable win.

The first day of 2023 began brightly for the Wildcats as, after a cluster of penalties for either side, visiting Swindon took advantage of a powerplay to score the return game’s opening goal via Balint Pakozdi.

After Harewood equalised early in the second 20-minute period, Nell slotted home his record-breaking goal after being set up to score by Malasinski.

READ: Nell reacts to becoming only second play to record 1,000 points for Wildcats.

Swindon’s lead lasted only five minutes, though, as Clarke-Pizzo equalised on a Pitbulls powerplay.

On a personal note, Nell’s night was a positive one, but as a head coach he was disappointed to watch his team go down to a 59th-minute goal after Owen Sobchak was on hand to net the winner for Bristol.