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An Interview with Team Scotland Captain, Purdindas

Updated: Feb 6

The starting gun for the marathon that is the Road to Athens Eurobowl XV was fired when the Team Scotland Captain, Purdindas, announced his line-up for Scotland in early December. The team has already started planning for tournaments to play at, long meta-conversations as to what races and rosters to take are on-going.


Team Scotland Captain Purdindas


In the recent Scottish Coaches Annual Survey over half the coaches who responded said they had a keen interest in pushing for selection to represent Scotland at Eurobowl (Ed: Well who wouldn’t - it's quite an honour to represent Scotland!). With all this going on it felt like now was a great time to sit down with Ant to get his take on some key questions around what it takes to get selected to represent Scotland, the ambitions for Athens and more.


Jock; The Team Scotland Charter has recently been updated. For those of us who are not constitutional geeks, (Ed: I read constitutions by candlelight for some light entertainment) what are the headline changes that Scottish coaches should be aware of if they’re aiming to get selected to play for Scotland going forward?


Ant; I’ve been keen to gain greater awareness amongst our coaches for the new process and how selection for the squad works. That’s why this sort of interview is great to spread the word. Essentially, in a nutshell, the changes are as follows;


  • First and foremost, we now have a documented template for Team Scotland with processes defined, which can be seen on the Scottish Bloodbowl website.

  • A big change to how the team Scotland Captain is nominated and voted for. Previously there was an election directly after the Eurobowl. Aside from being an unpopular method, as only those in attendance at the event could vote, It also had the potential to detract from what should be the focus, playing well and winning hosting rights for Scotland.


Now the Captaincy is decided at the end of the tournament season by those who automatically qualified and members of the Team Scotland alumni. Nominations are made and if there is more than one candidate, a short round of campaigning/voting is carried out. This method should give better opportunity for potential candidates to make their case and is not as restrictive 


A change to how coaches can qualify for Team Scotland. This is something I campaigned hard for. Team Scotland qualification rules are now managed exclusively by Team Scotland. 


I’ve set up a new main method for qualifying for Team Scotland. This encompasses all Blood Bowl events as long as they meet certain minimum criteria.

i) The event is NAF sanctioned

ii) Has at least 20 participants


It’s called the ‘extended leaderboard’. The previous method heavily favoured Scottish based coaches only and really left Scottish coaches based outside Scotland with little opportunity aside from a straight Captains pick. I felt this was potentially limiting to the team’s potential.


Jock; The big change to the selection process to my mind was the Team Scotland Championship seeing only the winner gaining automatic selection instead of the top three, why the change?


Ant; The Scottish Championship was changed recently to only cover tournaments in Scotland, a Scottish tournament series if you will. Tournaments in Scotland are primarily 1 dayers which means that coaches who have 3 easy games have the potential to do well at them and gain qualification points for Team Scotland. It also excludes otherwise very good Scottish coaches who are not resident in Scotland (such as yourself Jock).


I decided to make the primary method for Team Scotland qualification a system whereby an increased number of events, and in many cases very illustrious events can also be included. My preference is for a system which gives coaches who perform consistently well or place highly at larger non-Scottish events the best possible chance to qualify.


I don't want to cut out the Scottish Championship entirely however, so decided to still give the winner of this series the chance to qualify automatically.


Jock; In the recent Scottish Coaches annual survey nearly fifty coaches, just over half of the respondents, said they’d love to get selected to represent Scotland. Not only as Scotland Captain, but come Athens you’ll be Scotland’s most capped player. What advice would you give to coaches setting out on a journey with the ambition to get selected to play for their country at Eurobowl? What, as Scotland captain, are you really looking for in a coach?


Ant;

It is very exciting to me that so many respondents showed interest in representing Scotland at the highest level.

It will be a great honour to become Scotland’s most capped player. I give it everything I’ve got and I’m deeply passionate about the Scottish Blood Bowl Team.


The main categories that will help a coach get into Team Scotland are

  • Playing consistently well (Finishing in the top 5 or 6 at tournaments)

  • Adaptable Profile (The ability to play well with multiple races)

  • Dedication (Go to as many events as you can)

  • Passion (A real passion for the game and the community)


Jock; Looking at those coaches who say they’re the most keen to get selected for Scotland only eleven of the forty-eight coaches, a fifth, said they had a strong or very strong preference for two-day tournaments over one-day tournaments, whilst twenty-seven coaches (56%), had a strong or very strong preference for one-day tournaments. 


Now obviously that preference for one-dayers could naturally be down to family commitments and life in general, but do you think coaches that just play one-day tournaments are ever going to gain the experiences needed and develop their skill ceiling to be in serious contention for selection for Scotland to compete at the highest levels of the game or will it remain a pipe dream they’ll never realise?


Ant; As I’ve already alluded to, one day tournaments are fine. I see them as a good vehicle for trying out something new and catching up with your mates. However, I do believe that two day tournaments are much better, sorting the really good players from the mediocre. This is purely down to how the Swiss system for generating match-ups works. Winners play winners and you need to keep winning in order to place highly in a two day event.


There is also the stamina element. If a coach only plays in one day events and has little experience playing six games over two days then they will most likely perform below their usual standard on the second day as they become fatigued. This is real!


I’d encourage anyone interested in playing for Team Scotland to attend as many two day events as possible. There are three in Scotland this year; Mulligans Open (Ed: our first Scottish National!), Kelpie Cup and Dominion Bowl


Jock; I have the benefit of being a Scottish coach that lives down south with closer access to some of the great tournaments in England and Wales; Waterbowl, NAF Champs, UKTC and the Welsh National to name but a few. 


In your mind how important is it for a coach wanting to play for Scotland to travel to strong competitions like these? Is it a reasonable expectation that a coach looking to play at Eurobowl in the blue shirt should be putting in the mileage to get exposure to strong fields in big two day tournaments?


Ant; First I will say that you are very fortunate to have so many illustrious events relatively close to you.


The level of competition at these events is simply incredible and even having the opportunity to play some of the coaches these events attract is a great opportunity that I’d encourage anyone to grasp with both hands. You might think that you’ve seen it all and one of these players will pull off something incredible that you have never even considered before.


Cross fertilisation of ideas through exposure to different player bases is a great way to expand your horizons. It is a great way to learn and improve your ability as a Blood Bowl player and a win at any of these events is worth more than other events.


Becoming familiar with playing at a high level will stand a coach in good stead for representing Team Scotland at a Eurobowl.


Travelling to these events and doing well at them demonstrates a level of dedication and performance which will help a coach get into Team Scotland. Plus it's a load of fun to meet and make new friends wherever you go!


So I guess what I’m trying to say is, yes. I think it is a reasonable expectation to expand your coaching horizons.


Jock; Yeah I don’t think I’d have developed as quickly in the two years I’ve played if it wasn’t for the exposure to top class coaches sitting across from me at some of the biggest tournaments. I have to say, thrilled and honoured, you selected me, and really looking forward to Athens and being part of the team.


Jock; Eurobowl is an eight coach team tournament. What do you think are the main differences that a coach playing on a squad chasing a team result has to consider over playing for themselves at say the NAF Championships? How important is it that a coach gets some team-tournament play under their belt before winning their first cap?


Ant;

The main difference is that you are playing as part of a team. Your own personal results and NAF ranking are secondary. If the Captain asks you to go for the win instead of settling for a draw because the Squad needs a result then you must go for it even at the risk of losing the match. Team Scotland needs team players.

I’d recommend playing in a Team Tournament because this adds a whole new dynamic. A shrewd captain should be looking for opportunities to enhance the team's result in any given round by asking his team mates to push for wins or play it safe where required as they consider the squads results as a whole.


Jock; Let’s change tact and look at the upcoming Eurobowl in Athens this September. There’s been talk of trying to win ‘hosting rights’ for Eurobowl 2026, which would see the teams of Europe come to bonny Scotland. What does Team Scotland have to do in Athens to win those rights?


Ant; This is something Team Scotland have been trying to do for a long time. All you have to do is finish above all other nations who have yet to host the event. We have come close once or twice. In Portugal we were one point below Poland who won hosting rights this time. 


It was a bit of a punch to the gut that one as the results were pretty much secret up until the final presentation and I thought we might have done it only to see Poland above us.


Jock; Greece Eurobowl will be your fourth time captaining Scotland. Looking at how we performed in Malta we came 22nd out of 24 teams that’s probably not where you’d want to be. If you look at England, one of the very strongest Bloodbowl nations, they finished 11th, some way off where they’d normally expect to finish. Was there something in the water in Malta or do you have a sense of why we finished so far back? 


Ant; In the water, no. Beer maybe!


I can’t speak for England but what I can say is that the level of competition has really ramped up over the years and I think Nations should not become complacent to the new talented coaches out there. Many nations had a lot of new faces featured.


As for our performance, I think the pandemic didn't help as there were not as many opportunities for our Team to practise. There were also a lot of emotions in Malta. I stepped in as Captain to replace my good friend Dave Millar with only a few months to go. I think the loss of our Captain cast a shadow over our mood and by extension the performance as a whole.


I really think we should have done better and we were all very disappointed with how it panned out.


Jock; I’m relatively new to tabletop. I unfortunately never got the chance to meet Dave, I can only imagine Malta was charged with emotion and of course coming out of the pandemic was always going to be tricky. I’m sure though even in failure the team going forward can learn lessons from that experience no doubt.


Jock; There’s talk of as many as twenty-eight or thirty nations being represented at Eurobowl in Athens this year, including the US, Canada and Australia! Aside from winning hosting rights for Eurobowl 2026 what’s the ambition, what looks like a good result for Scotland in what looks like is going to be the biggest Eurobowl ever?


Ant;

The main goal is to have fun. After that comes winning as many matches and rounds as possible. 
Winning hosting rights is the target we have set for every year I have been Captain and this will not change for this campaign. That said, we don’t need to settle for this. I recognise there are some very tough nations out there but I’d urge all of my teammates not to be intimidated. Have confidence in your own abilities and just focus on the game. If we all play as well as we are capable then there is no reason why we cannot finish in the top half.

Jock; I think it's great to have that kind of ambition. I’ll certainly be hoping to put my shoulder to the wheel to help see us finish in the top half!


Jock; Last question from me. Not everyone can get to play for Team Scotland at Eurobowl, but there is the sister tournament Europen where teams of four coaches with no restrictions can enter. What would you say to Scottish coaches who are thinking about playing in the Europen, but are maybe unsure about going all the way to Greece?


Ant; The Eurobowl and Europen run side-by-side. It is the second largest Blood Bowl tournament in the world. There are hundreds of like minded people, traders, beer stalls, food stalls etc. This is a massive event. It is an experience that will stay with you.


Team Scotland is not just the eight coaches playing in the Eurobowl. Europen coaches are also included. We normally hangout together for evening meals and drinks. You’ll be made welcome and well looked after!


Well there you have it straight from the captain’s lips, changes to the way selection works to cast the net wider to include Scottish coaches both living in Scotland and elsewhere. There’s no avoiding the idea that if you want to play for Scotland that prestigious 2-day tournaments with strong fields are a key aspect of helping you improve as a coach and getting noticed for selection.

Fingers crossed, Ant, myself and the rest of the team can make Scotland proud as we go to Athens to try and lasso hosting rights to bring them home to Scotland in 2026.

Team Scotland in an official sense is fielding teams at;


There are still a couple of team tickets available for The Home Nations Open and there is plenty of room for teams at the Tacklezone tournament, which is being led by KFoged, Team England Captain, and DeeferDan, TO for the NAF Champs.


In addition the Scotland caps will be seen at other tournaments to keep their eye in for Athens, such as Waterbowl this coming weekend, NAF Champs (May) and UKTC - the big team tournament in York in late August (25-26), which still has a few spaces and already has a strong Scottish contingent heading south for.


Any Scottish coach reading this and thinking I’d like to play for Team Scotland, but you’re not sure how to go about it, as a new cap I can recommend speaking to Ant. He’s friendly, approachable and he’ll give you guidance. Plus it will alert him to the fact you’re walking on that journey seeking selection to play Bloodbowl for your country at the highest level!


I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing Ant as Captain and Team Scotland the very best of luck in Athens this September!

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