The Swindon Wildcats’ season came to a close with a 6-2 NIHL Final Four semi-final defeat against Leeds Knights at the Coventry Skydome.

The Wildcats headed to Coventry this weekend hoping to carry the momentum of a highly emotional season into the finals weekend to try and win the crown up against Leeds, Peterborough Phantoms, and Telford Tigers.

They faced off against Leeds on Saturday evening, but the Yorkshire side got off to a rapid start, leading 4-2 after the end of the first period.

The lead proved too much to claw back and Swindon ended up falling to a 7-3 defeat, a difficult result to take after what had been a true rollercoaster of a campaign.

Reflecting on that defeat, head coach Aaron Nell said: “It was very disappointing. One of the biggest things when you play Leeds is trying to control the first ten minutes and we didn’t.

“Quite often when you go up against them, if you end that first period just down by a goal then that is kind of a result.

“Two goals down in that situation is very difficult and their two best players were unplayable on the night [Mac] Howlett and [Kieran] Brown.

“We just couldn’t stop them, their two top players were too good.

“Of course, we came back into the game but it is just disappointing to get that far and then have a bad first ten minutes.

“We go down 4-0 and then get back to 4-2 and for the first ten minutes of the second period, I thought we were the better team.

“Their goalie made a massive save at 4-2 that probably changed the game and then Kieran Brown scored one of the best goals I have seen at this level and the game was over from that point.”

Nell added that he did not see reaching the Final Four as the main accomplishment of the season, but rather how the club had handled all the adversity thrown at them.

He said: “Getting to the Final Four is not the achievement for me, just being here and surviving as a club through the first three is the achievement.

“The expectation is getting to the Final Four as a minimum, so that is not where we are happy.

“We are not just satisfied about making Coventry, where my satisfaction comes from is how the players have been over the last nine months and how we have stuck together.”