Western Wildcats Women's Section
At its inception Western Hockey Club was one which welcomed both male and female members. Regrettably, financial pressures and the lack of a fixed ground forced the club to split in the 1920s [see Martin Kemp's 75th Jubilee History for a full accountof this] and since then, brief associations with a mishmash Women's clubs apart, Western had remained a Men's club only.
Western's erstwhile women's section - Western Ladies - were trailblazers for Scottish hockey, regularly competing, and medalling, in European competition and dominating the domestic game utterly during the 1980s and 1990s. For some years their 2nd Team were strong enough to compete in the top division of the Women's National League and their 1st Team had a monopoly on silverware. By this time, though, they operated as an entirely seperate club and remain based at Titwood in the South Side of Glasgow.
In 2002 it was decided that there existed the interest to field a Women's side at Auchenhowie and Murray Laing, club stalwart and former captain of the Men's 1st Team, took on the role of coach. This posed one obvious problem: with Western Ladies already in existence - and still a pre-eminent force in the Women's game - a new name had to be found. It was decided that this was an opportunity for the whole club to be 'rebranded' and the committee, with apparent haste and scant consultation, settled on 'Western Wildcats'. The women have embraced this name more than any other part of the club, setting them apart, as it does, from 'the other Western'.
The team, largely populated by girls from the local schools with one or two older heads providing some experience, were immediately successful and, after two seasons in the West District leagues, took the step of entering National League Division 3. Consecutive promotions followed until in season 2007/2008, with a more mature squad and having attracted experienced players from further afield, Western Wildcats debuted in Division 1. Their time in the top division was to be short-lived as relegation followed immediately. After a year's consolidation in Division 2 and with a new generation of players brought up in the Western tradition, Western Wildcats Women's 1st Team assured themselves a full season of top flight hockey in 2010/11, winning a play-off against Granite City to end a long hard road back to the 1st Division. The following season they consolidated, finishing eighth and avoiding relegation without the need for a play-off.
Out of the success of the Women's section grew expansion. The 2nd Team, formed in 2005, competed (wo)manfully in the highly competitive National Reserve League under the captaincy of the excellent Eildh Todd. Since 2008 they have swum in the less torrid waters of the West District League and in 2009/10 gained promotion as chamions from Division 4. Accompanying them in Runners-up spot toddled the 2 year-old 3rd Team, guided by George Pate and Lesley Hickey. Both 2s and 3s consolidated the follwoing year and are now a fixture in West District hockey. The 2s won West District Division 3 at a canter in 2010/11, followed by Divison 2 in 2011/12.
With 3 teams and a healthy number of juniors in under ten years the Women's section has been a success story of epic proportions. Not only have Wildcats Women grown and succeeded on the pitch, now they are taking an ever more active role in the administration of the club and provide healthy numbers of coaches and umpires for Junior and senior sides alike. Truly the story of Women's hockey at Western has many chapters still to be written.