SWINDON Wildcats skater Stevie Whitfield says it is ‘an honour’ to have played so many games for the team ahead of the defenceman’s 500th appearance on Thursday.

The 2019-20 campaign is Whitfield’s ninth full season in Wiltshire after beginning his time at the Link in 2011.

And the 29-year-old is set to reach the 500 appearance mark at the Link Centre in midweek as Aaron Nell’s team take on league leaders Telford Tigers in the National Cup semi-final first leg.

Whitfield was a vital part of the Wildcats’ National Cup-winning side in 2018, and says many players opt to return to Swindon – not because of the significant chance of winning silverware – but because of the family feel the Nell family creates for its players.

Whitfield said: “A lot of players at Swindon have played a lot of games – not just me – and that’s a credit to Steve (Nell), Aaron (Nell) and everyone else at the club.

“They look after players so well that quite often it is somewhere that players will sign and then they will want to sign back again.

“It was always my target to play for Swindon senior team after I’d play here as a junior. Then it became a case of trying to solidify my place in the team.

“It’s an honour to have played for the team for this long, and I love playing the game at Swindon.”

Whitfield saw appearance number 498 and 499 accompanied with wins after the Wildcats edged past Bracknell Bees 4-3 on Saturday before displaying their superiority with an 8-3 success away at London Raiders on Sunday.

The Swindon-born skater reflected on a rare four-point weekend with pride and is hoping his team can use that momentum and begin to reel in Telford Tigers once league action gets back underway.

He said: “We had a four-point weekend a couple of weeks ago, but before that it had been a while.

“We didn’t expect many teams to be able to string a lot of wins together this season, like we did last year.

“A lot of teams have underachieved in their starts, but you’d expect the top half to win the majority of their home games.

“It’s never easy to go anywhere else and get a win, but we played well against London Raiders on Sunday.

“It was quite a dominant performance from us, so that bodes well.”