London vs Scotland : A pair of bout reports. (11-12 June 2011)

For the first WFTDA sanctioned interleague bout in Scotland, the Auld Reekie Roller Girls invited the London Rollergirls' B Team, the Brawl Saints, up to play them. As the London Rollergirls are the only UK league to hold an international (DNN power) rank, this was bound to be a challenging bout for the ARRG Twisted Thistles. As it turned out, the final score was 47 ARRG : 195 LRG, a result which didn't truly reflect the determination and skill shown by the home team against their challengers.
Since they were up in Scotland, the Brawl Saints took the time to hop to the other coast, taking on Glasgow Roller Girls' Irn Bruisers on the Sunday (even though this meant skipping the afterparty drinks the night before!). Unfortunately for the Bruisers, playing two bouts in two days didn't seem to tire the Saints out much, and matters followed pretty much the pattern of the Saturday. The final score, 50:311 to the away team, once again failed to reflect the true skill of the home team (or the enthusiasm of the supporters in the crowd).
The GRG bout was also broadcast live by the Roller Derby UK TV broadcast team, and is available to members of both leagues for a nominal fee. [The last ten minutes of the bout is available to all on YouTube]

ARRG vs LRG : 11 July 2011 1400-1600 @ Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh

It was a rainy day in Edinburgh that greeted the visiting LRG Brawl Saints for their Saturday bout, most of them having travelled up during the morning.

Skateout link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgYcoTW9oxc

Things almost immediately got off to a rocky start for the home team, with the Brawl Saints accruing an impressive 19 points in the first jam of the bout, setting the tone for much of the first period. Extremely cohesive blocking by the Saints allowed their jammer, Lola Vulkano (19), to effortlessly take lead, whilst the Twisted Thistles' Juicy Lucy (666) managed to get herself sent to the sin-bin fairly early on. By the time she returned to the jam, the points were already scored, thanks to LRG splitting the pack to free their jammer from Crazylegs (11,pivot) and Violet Strike (9mm)'s wall on her first scoring pass.

Despite a small resurgence in the second jam delivering 4 points for home thanks to hard work by team captain Zillah (555), in third jam Blazin' Phoenix (28) fought out of the pack first for ARRG, yet without lead jammer due to a small amount of track cutting; the jam was called as soon as LRG's manoeuvred her way into the lead jammer position, with no score. Good blocking by LRG's Shaolynn Scarlet (888) and Knickerblocker Glory (44) held ARRG's Zillah back long enough for Lola Vulcano to make a scoring pass; once again, LRG were happy to call it as soon as the opposing jammer made her initial pass.

Eventually, someone had to make a significant mistake, and it fell to Zillah in the 6th jam, sent off for penalties accrued whilst trying to escape the blocking of LRG's Shaolynn Scarlet, just in time to replace pivot Crazylegs. The Saints' impressive athleticism and coordination was unforgiving, exploiting the power jam for a massive 24 pts by Helen Nash (11), despite last-minute defence by the ARRG's Bronx Betty (319) and Crazylegs.

For a brief while, it looked like the shock had helped galvanise the Thistles into action. The next jam saw a small (but exceptionally popular with the crowd!) fight back by Blazin' Phoenix, and a third LRG Power Jam at jam 9 was shut down effectively by much better blocking from ARRG's Velosidy and Minnie Riot. Unfortunately, ARRG proved less effective in capitalising on the Brawl Saints' mistakes, a power jam in the very next jam ending up returning them no score at all (ARRG Jammer Blazin' Phoenix being extensively shut down by Liv or Die (51), Slice Andice (08) and a very fast pack).
Zillah did somewhat better with the remainder of the power jam next, picking up 4 pts before a terrifyingly fast return by Lola Vulcano forced her to call the jam.

The superior skill of the Saints at pack management were still showing, however, and in general it was the away team which tended to pick up points in the subsequent jams.

(For example, the 15th jam: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgYcoTW9oxc )

Finally, in the penultimate jam of the period, things seemed to be looking up for Scotland, as the Thistles' Blazin' Phoenix stormed through the pack to take lead jammer, thanks in part to pivot Juicy Lucy holding back the LRG's Lottie… although, only picking up a single point to take the score to 99 LRG : 14 ARRG.

With only time left for a single jam,Thistles' Captain Zillah really needed to make a final resurgence to end the first period on a high point. Unfortunately, the worst happened, and she was majored off, handing Helen Nash a power jam. With LRG's Shaolynn Scarlet, Poddington Peaved (24, pivot) and Bad Faith (5X5) walling in ARRG's Violet Strike to effectively slow the pack, another 9 points joined the away teams' score by the time Zillah returned to the track, despite sterling and determined blocking by pivot Crazylegs playing in something more like the b-4 position, leaving the result at half-time at:

LRG 107 : ARRG 14

Returning as jammer for the first jam of the second period, Zillah more than justified her position, scoring 5 pts with some impressive jamming past the LRG blockers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-k5E39Yox8
After a no-score second jam, Zillah returned against Saints' jammer Lottie 2Hottie. Uncharacteristically, Lottie managed to get herself sent off, although it looked like Zillah's power jam was going to be wasted trying to pass a resilient LRG wall until team-mates Velosidy and Minnie Riot managed to assist. Lottie recouped a few points once she got back on track, despite Crazylegs' best efforts, but for once ARRG looked like they were on the up, with the score now:
112 LRG : 23 ARRG

The Thistles' Ciderella (-3°C) couldn't maintain the resurgence, the LRG pack making it hard for her and allowing Lola Vulcano to pick up more points while Cider broke through their defence.
So, it was up to Zillah, once again, to advance the score for the home team in the next jam, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZ1sdpdgCbU , bringing the score to

27:116 with 22 minutes left in the game.

Unfortunately for ARRG, the pendulum immediately began to swing back the Saints' way, with ARRG's Velosidy (16) unable to pass Liv or Die and Sinister Mary Clarence, while LRG's Lottie2Hottie had no problems passing Alma Geddon (42) and Bronx Betty. With LRG's superior pack work keeping things nice and slow, Lottie was able to pick up a massive 18 pts over the full 2 minutes, especially aided by Velosidy being sin-binned near the end.

With Lola Vulcano starting in a power jam situation, things could barely look worse; however, the Thistles' Danger Mouth (55) managed a parting block that knocked the LRG jammer down for long enough to limit the damage done. Still, another 9 points wasn't a shabby performance, leaving the score now at:

27 ARRG : 143 LRG

The rediscovered defensive abilities of the Twisted Thistles continued to be showcased in the 8th jam of the period, with Helen Nash being very effectively controlled, limiting the Saints' gains to a comparably tiny 4 pts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrYtjqwqENs

Obviously in need of some tactical adjustments, the London Rollergirls called a Time Out.

When we returned to play, it seemed initially as if things were to continue going ARRG's way; whilst LRG's Metallikat easily escaped a depleted pack to achieve lead jammer, she managed to also get herself sent off, allowing the home team's Blazin' Phoenix (who had already caught up to her opposing jammer) alone to score. LRG were easily in control of the pack, and it took an intentional splitting of the pack by the Thistles (after some considerable roaring of precisely that advice from the GRG end of the stalls…) to finally set Blaze free and able to score.

Keeping up the momentum, barely, Zillah managed to attain lead jammer the very next jam, although closely followed by Helen Nash, she was unable to attain more than a single point on her scoring pass before calling.
The eleventh jam was also fairly low scoring [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sr_q61pZzI ], although only the away team picked up points this time.

With only 11 minutes left in the bout, another LRG power jam was the last thing the Thistles needed, but unfortunately, that's what happened from halfway through the next. Despite good work by Ciderella and Alma Geddon at the back of the pack, Metallikat managed to break through to grasp lead jammer, but Zillah was being extensively contained by the LRG blockers, three of whom had managed to control the front of the pack, preventing the Thistles from aiding their jammer. Despite colliding with a referee, it was a later piece of track cutting that lead to Zillah being sent off. As soon as they realised their situation, the away team slowed the pack to a crawl, walling in ARRG's Ciderella to gain majority control of the pack. With an easy target to lap, Metallikat did her best to capitalise, bringing home a full 20 pts by the end of the jam.

A rare miscalculation by LRG's Hula Gun (77,pivot), blocking out of play against a storming Juicy Lucy in the next bout sent her off, and gave Juicy lead jammer (to ear-bursting excitement from the crowd). A pacy pack and good blocking prevented the ARRG jammer from completing her first scoring pass, however, and the final result of the jam was points for both sides.

With their current lead, the Saints decided to be a bit experimental, putting out ace blocker Shaolynn Scarlet to jam for the first time. Considering her ability at hitting jammers while in the pack, she also showed the ability to take it, scoring a couple more points for her team.
With the end of the bout nearing (less than 6 minutes left), the Brawl Saints were happy to waste time, spending the opening parts of each jam dawdling near the jammer line for as long as they could.

At the end of Jam 16: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WX0BT3Jtc98, the score was:

41 LRG : 194 ARRG

In what looked like a last minute fight back, the penultimate jam saw excellent blocking by Velosidy and Bronx Betty doing to the Saints' Helen Nash what the Saints had done to the Thistles so many times; Blazin' Phoenix also fighting her way through an almost-out-of-play LRG wall to take lead jammer. 5 points for a full scoring pass looked like magic for the home team at this point in the bout, even if it was too late to really affect the result.

And, indeed, it wasn't, with the final jam not altering the score much at all:

The final score stood at:

47 ARRG Twisted Thistles : 195 LRG Brawl Saints.

After the bout, at least there were the awards (and the sweepskate).
The sweepskate was actually won by Marshall Lawless of the GRG, a nice moment ahead of the bout to follow the next day.

As for the official awards:
Sin-Bin Queen:
ARRG: Minnie Riot (7)
LRG: Knickerblocker Glory (44)

Best Take-out:
ARRG: Juicy Lucy (666)
LRG: Shaolynn Scarlet (888) (much deserved!)

Most Feared:
ARRG: Crazylegs (11)
LRG: Lola Volcano (also much deserved)

Best Jammer:
ARRG: Zillah (555)
LRG: Sinister Mary Clarence

Most Valued Player:
ARRG: Blazin' Phoenix (28) [for sterling work jamming hard for a lot of the ARRG points]
LRG: Metallikat (75) [Again, showing tremendous skill and speed as a jammer, and also in the pack]


Scrimbledon: GRG vs LRG 12 June 2011 1300-1500 @ ARC, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow

After a relatively restrained afterparty, the Brawl Saints took the train across the central belt to play the Glasgow Roller Girls' Irn Bruisers.

Skateout: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bz-ts3xiQX4&p=1109C5D8440370C1

Things started poorly for the Irn Bruisers, with a first jam echoing that of the previous day's - GRG Jammer and vice-Captain Mistress Malicious (99) getting majored off, handing the Brawl Saints' Lola Vulcano a power jam, and 24 pts (despite the best efforts of GRG's Marla Mayhem (13), Venus Velocity (666) and Lucky Hateball (8) ). Things didn't improve over the next four jams, either, with the London team accelerating the scoring by repeatedly taking the knee*, and easily controlling the pack speed by capturing a GRG blocker. In return, only a single point was accrued for GRG by Megan Hyndman (4) (after returning to end a second LRG Power Jam, where LRG's Helen Nash had been expertly controlled by GRG's Betty Gogo (999, pivot), Wild Oates (3) and Mistress Malicious (99) ), just to be taken back in a subsequent Official Timeout. A third LRG Power Jam in the fourth jam sealed matters, with the score at the start of the sixth jam of the bout standing at: 0 GRG: 79 LRG!

The home team desperately needed a break to keep them in the game, and the 6th jam was where it happened, with most of the Saints' team in the sin-bin, including their jammer, Metallikat, for track cutting right at the end of the previous jam. GRG's Hardcore Prawn (88mph) took full advantage of the situation, easily avoiding the remaining LRG blockers, and bringing 25 pts home!

Unfortunately, this was to be the only scoring jam of the entire first period for the Irn Bruisers. Once the Saints' blockers were all out of the sin-bin, the game returned to the form of the first few jams, LRG Jammers Helen Nash, Flamin' Aggro (999, not in programme), Metallikat, Lottie2Hottie and Lola Vulcano taking it in turns to make a scoring pass or two, with the pack sometimes being held almost stationary on the track by superior LRG coordination.
Most impressively, in the 12th jam, Lola Vulcano threaded the pack and picked up 15 points in multiple passes, despite one of her blockers starting in the sin-bin at the start of the jam. Similarly, despite Metallikat getting majored off in the next jam, handing GRG's Marshall Lawless (42) a power jam, the LRG blockers Sinister Mary Clarence, The Dalai Harmer (108), and Bad Faith (5x5) controlled the GRG jammer effectively, bottling her up for the entire jam!

Things must have been getting pretty frustrating for the home team by the final jam of the period; with Hardcore Prawn back on jamming for the GRG, the pressure was on to repeat her performance of the 6th jam, and end the period on a high. Instead, this happened: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v05rf3tmFtw&p=1109C5D8440370C1 , in a mirror of the end of the ARRG bout, Prawn instead managed to get herself sent off, handing the away team points.

So, as we entered half-time, the GRG Irn Bruisers faced a second period beginning with one of their best jammers, and two blockers ( Mistress Malicious and Moxie Blitz (20Hz) ) in the sin-bin… and the score a forbidding

151 LRG : 25 GRG

The second period started just as the Bruisers must have feared, with LRG's Metallikat effortlessly taking lead jammer. Despite starting from the box, Prawn stormed back onto the track, powering through the pack despite strong defence by the Saints, only for a last-second block by the Saints' Shaolynn Scarlet to knock her down for long enough for the pack to catch her up and prevent her from escaping again. By this point, the Saints were relaxed enough to play conservatively, and began ending jams as soon as GRG jammers completed their initial passes.

Needing to score quickly, the Bruisers started the second jam on the knee, but this seemed only to help the Saints' Flamin' Aggro to pass them, while GRG's Marla was slowed by the LRG blockers hanging back at the start.

Now desperate for points, as GRG's Mistress Malicious finally attained lead jammer in the third jam (narrowly avoiding being taken out by LRG Pack Ref Duncan Disorderly on the way, she refused to call the jam despite LRG's Lola Vulcano remaining pretty close behind her (and, finally, passing her thanks to effective LRG walling by Vigour Mortis (3) and The Dalai Harmer on one of the scoring passes). Whilst the Bruisers inflated their score to a slightly healthier 32, the Brawl Saints were now up to 173.

Still, the Irn Bruisers continued playing more aggressively in the second period, although not always to their final advantage; whilst Marshall Lawless picked up 3 points in the 4th jam of the period, despite LRG's Shaolynn Scarlet pulling her 'last second takedown' thing again just as she attained Lead Jammer, in the subsequent jam Hardcore Prawn failed to get lead jammer at all despite exiting the pack ahead, due to some track cutting during the pass. Of course, Metallikat was happy to curtail the jam as soon as she picked up lead jammer herself.

The rest of the period continued in the same pattern, despite Megan Hyndman failing to escape the LRG wall in the 6th jam, Marshall Lawless picked up a few more points in the 7th jam, and Hardcore Prawn managed to catch up to LRG's Lottie 2 Hottie during the 8th, thanks to good pack work and blocking by Moxie Blitz. Unfortunately, mistakes by Megan Hyndman got her majored off, handing the 9th jam to Lola Vulcano; despite some enthusiastic blocking out of play by GRG's Venus Velocity (lending her some time in the sin-bin with Megan), the Saints picked up yet another 17 points, putting the score roughly halfway through the second period at

41 GRG : 208 LRG

From that poor point, things went downhill for the home team again, despite some GRG stalling at the start, with excellent pack work by LRG's The Dalai Harmer, Sinister Mary Clarence and Slice Andice first helping Metallikat out of the pack first, and then keeping GRG's Marshall Lawless safely locked up for the full 2 minutes.

The result, 20 points for LRG, without even a power jam.

The tension was getting to the Irn Bruisers by now, and in the next two jams, Hardcore Prawn succumbed once again to tension-related mistakes, getting herself majored off in both jams (although LRG's Helen Nash managed to get herself a minor by forgetting she wasn't lead jammer and trying to call off the first jam). While GRG blockers tried to limit the damage, in the second of the jams, excellent pack control by the LRG essentially halted the pack in the track for most of the jam ( Moxie Blitz being repeatedly knocked down, with only fellow GRG blocker Sykes on the track)

Result, almost 30 points in 2 jams, and a total score of

42 GRG : LRG 260

GRG failed to make any further resurgence until the last 2 jams of the period,
the 14th jam being typical: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdsvmKO2d-M&p=1109C5D8440370C1

Finally, in the penultimate jam,
GRG immediately called a time-out, partly to ensure that they got a final jam (with only 31 seconds on the clock), and it was a fairly exciting one when it happened, both teams picking up last minute points.
jam 17 [FINAL JAM]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ArRYOHITK8&p=1109C5D8440370C1

Leaving the final score at: 50 GRG Twisted Thistles : 311 LRG Brawl Saints

Glasgow doesn't believe in large arrays of post-bout awards, so the only things to report are the MVPs:

GRG: Lucky Hateball (8) [For sterling blocking work, even against the intimidating Lola Vulcano]
LRG: Liv or Die (51)


Whilst the London Rollergirls deserved both their victories this weekend, the scores did not reflect the sheer determination (and, indeed, skill) of the home teams. There is also no doubt that the Scottish supporters deserved an additional award for enthusiasm, the volume of cheering (and advice from members of other leagues!) being exceptional. Both home teams, of course, held no hard feelings and noted that they were glad of the experience (hopefully it will stand those members who tried out for Team Scotland for the World Cup in good stead).


Glasgow Roller Girls, Auld Reekie Roller Girls, London Rollergirls
The Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh & The ARC, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow

Maul Flanders for the incredibly useful @AuldReekieRG live bout tweets
The tweeter behind the @TheGRG live bout tweets.

ARRG for the ARRG vs LRG bout programme
Lucky Hateball for the Scrimbledon bout programme

The announcers were: Dr Feral for the London Rollergirls (sporting a terrifyingly sparkly pink number for the GRG bout), 'Tom' for the ARRG, and the mighty Helliverance for GRG.

Photos and video were taken on a Sony A580 with the kit lens, and are licensed under the Creative Commons: Attribution license (free for reuse as long as the original author is attributed), as is this bout report.

All opinions and representations in this bout report are mine and mine alone, as are any inaccuracies or misunderstandings. PLEASE let me know if there are factual inaccuracies I should correct, and feedback in general is always welcome.

(On that note: thanks to ARRG's Lilo and Stitches for some typos and factual corrections for the first bout, and for furnishing me with a complete list of bout awards).

*"Taking the knee" is the procedure of (an entire quartet of blockers) deliberately starting a jam in a kneeling position to force a no-pack situation (the pack having to consist of enough people 'in play' ), thus allowing the jammers to leave the jammer line immediately, rather than waiting for the entire pack to pass the pivot line.

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