Bout Report: Glasgow Roller Girls: Intraleague Season 2. Bad Omens vs Death Stars 30 July 2011

As well as playing other leagues around the country and the world, Glasgow Roller Girls also have their own intraleague tournaments each year (they'd not really be much of a "league" if they didn't, really ;) ), their three league teams - Hells' Belles, Bad Omens and Death Stars - playing each other in a round-robin tournament.

The 30th of July saw the first bout in the 2011 season, previous season winners, the Bad Omens (red and gold, ominous (natch) crow and moon logo) facing off against the Death Stars (blue and black, powers drawn from a mysterious force that binds the universe together*). With both teams having had a little reshuffle after the previous season, would the Omens still triumph over a reinvigorated Death Stars?
There was only one way to find out:

With a win by acclamation on the skateout, the Omens looked good for a win in the bout itself...

Period 1:

Chemikill Hazard (LD50) keeps Marshall Lawless (42)
in the pack.
...and starting the period confidently, Omens Jammer Meg 4 Mercy (4) certainly didn't diminish that impression, teammate and pivot Chemikill Hazard (LD50) blocking Death Stars jammer Marshall Lawless (42) at the last moment, and allowing Meg to fight her way to lead jammer and 5 points.

While Marla Mayhem (13) managed to garner a pair of points for the Death Stars (racing to the lead with lovely blocking from her team), before Hardcore Prawn caught up with her, it was the Omens who scored a full 4 point pass in the third jam, Jess E Ska (31) eventually fighting her way through a very strongly defensive pack (for both teams) ahead of the Death Stars' Fightin' Torque.
Marla gets by with a little help from her friends.

The pendulum swung imperfectly back again for jam 4, Marshall Lawless making use of a lovely open outside line provided by her blockers to grab lead jammer, but not far enough ahead of Meg 4 Mercy to score more than a pair of points (especially after a crushing block from Omens pivot Lucky Hateball (8) ).
Continuing the trend, Marla Mayhem once again grabbed lead jammer in the 5th jam, but was almost immediately blocked, forcing her back into the pack behind Omens captain Haberbashery (40) and Chemikill Hazard. With Hardcore Prawn (88mph) already free of the pack, there was nothing to do but call it.

Jammer party in the Sin-bin.!
By now the frustration was probably getting to the Death Stars, but it was the Omens who made the first big mistake in the 6th jam, Jess E Ska getting herself sent to the sin-bin for track-cutting passing Venus Velocity (666). With the potential for an early power-jam, and two Omens blockers also in the sin-bin, it seemed that the jam couldn't be better for Fightin' Torque... until she almost immediately got herself sent off as well. With no jammer having legally passed the pack, there was no lead jammer, so the jam ran to the full 2 minutes for the first time in the bout, with the final score, 6 jams in, at:

13 Bad Omens : 08 Death Stars

The scores pretty low for this point in a period, anything could still happen, and jam 7 showed that the Death Stars really could punch at the same weight as their opponents. Whilst the Omens tried to waste time with the pack moving at a crawling pace, Death Stars jammer Marshall Lawless effortlessly weaved through the opposition to nab lead jammer, with Viper (29) , Sykes (360°) and Whisky Galore (11) keeping Omens' Meg 4 Mercy firmly behind their wall, and then Lola Bruises (96, 69 in programme) blocking out of bounds to take her down on Marshall Lawless' second pass. Six points was just enough to bring the score to:

13 Bad Omens : 14 Death Stars

placing the Death Stars in the lead for the first time in the bout.
Oates realises that Marla might need a bit of help here...

The Bad Omens didn't seem to phased though, taking the knee in the 8th jam to help Hardcore Prawn get them back into the lead as fast as possible. Despite opposition from Venus Velocity, the Prawn took Lead Jammer quickly, whilst the Omens' Hateball and Bashin' Berserker (83) kept the Death Stars' Marla back in the pack, despite assistance from Wild Oates (3).
Three points later, and the Death Stars' slim lead had reversed again; pressing their momentum, the  Omens took knees in the next two jams as well, Jess E Ska and Meg 4 Mercy each doing their bit to pull up the Omens' lead once again.
So, by the start of the 11th jam of the bout, with half of the first period gone, the score stood at:

24 Bad Omens : 15 Death Stars

Fightin' Torque forced off track (and soon to be into
the sin-bin.)
A time-out for the Death Stars later, the 11th jam saw them launch a second counter-attack, Lola Bruises knocking Hardcore Prawn off the track, while Marla Mayhem made her way into the lead jammer position. Four points later, and it was looking like another jam like that could put the Death Stars in the lead once again.
Sadly, it was not to be, the 12th jam seeing Fightin' Torque sent to the sin-bin for track-cutting while trying to pass a strong Omens' wall. With a power-jam handed to them, Jess E Ska was quite capable of capitalising, lapping the pack several times despite some strong blocking from the Death Stars (and a final, parting, somewhat illegal block from Wild Oates, which was still great to watch...).

The momentum back with the Bad Omens, the 13th jam continued the swing their way, with a depleted Death Stars pack unable to prevent Meg 4 Mercy taking lead jammer immediately, although with a whip-assisted Marshall Lawless not far behind.
Lead Jammmeerrrr!

Pressing the time again, taking the knee, the Omens failed to stop Marla Mayhem from fighting her way through the pack at the start of jam 14, whilst Hardcore Prawn was kept behind for a time. 3 points for the Death Stars followed, could this be their fight back?

The Bad Omens clearly didn't think so, taking the knee yet again to press their attack in two successive jams; first, Jess E Ska picking up a couple of points before being knocked to the track by Marshall Lawless herself on her scoring pass.
In the second, Meg 4 Mercy was handed a power jam, with Death Stars' Marla Mayhem sent to the sin-bin at the very start of the jam. A skilfully slowed pack, and Hateball and Haberbashery making room on the outside line, helped the Omens jammer to an impressive 15 points before Marla returned to the track.

With that disruptive jam, the score stood at:

55 Bad Omens : 22 Death Stars

the worst points differential for the Death Stars since the bout began.

Hateball and Haberbashery make room, make room!
And, as might be expected in this situation, the Omens were keen to press the attack, taking a knee and putting Hardcore Prawn out to jam, in Jam 17 . The Death Stars were having none of it, however, Prawn failing to pass Wild Oates and Fightin' Torque's wall at the head of the pack until Marla had fought her own way past Hateball at the tail. Exiting the pack together, it was Marla who administered the final block, knocking the Omens jammer down to the track (and behind the pack again). With her lead, Marla managed a complete pass before the jam was called (apparently by Prawn, who by rights should have been lead jammer - although it took several seconds for the referees to agree if that was the case).

Hopeful that this could be the start of something, and keen to gain more points before the end of the period, the Death Stars took a knee into jam 18 (whilst the Omens' Jess E Ska cougared** off). Despite this, the Omens' Meg 4 Mercy just pipped Marshall Lawless through the pack; but not with a clean pass, giving Lawless Lead Jammer status.
Unable to pass Meg with much of a lead, Lawless called the jam, no-score.

With only a few minutes left in the period, jam 19
saw the Death Stars taking the knee once again, only for Hardcore Prawn to show why she gets to be jammer, effortlessly racing through the pack. Once she got lead jammer status, however, she was content to loaf a little, wasting time while the Death Stars' Sykes caught up with her. With their lead, the Omens didn't want the Death Stars having any time for last second resurgences...

...and indeed, thanks to the time wasting, the next jam had to be the final jam of the period. Perhaps just the knowledge that this was their last chance was what spurred the Death Stars onto a great final jam, Marla Mayhem streaking through the pack to take lead jammer, whilst the Omens' Jess E Ska seemed unable to pass first Whisky Galore, and then, trapped at the back of the pack, Jackash (911). Picking up multiple grand slam passes, it looked like this was going to be a massive score for Marla, until a block from either Jackash or Fightin' Torque sent Jess E Ska to the track... where she didn't get up.
As soon as the referees noticed, the jam was halted whilst the medics in attendance did their stuff (all the players taking a knee). Luckily, it seemed that there was no significant damage and, with the jam called as Jess E Ska hobbled off track (not permanently injured, as she returned in the second period), the score stood at:

56 Bad Omens : 42 Death Stars

a tremendous come-back right as half-time arrived!

GRG Announcer Helliverence betrays his true sympathies at half-time...

Period 2:
With such a massive resurgence at the end of the first period, the Death Stars were anxious to continue their fight-back as soon as possible. As a result, it was they who took the knee for the first four jams in a row, launching jammers Fightin Torque [first and fourth jams], Marshall Lawless and Marla Mayhem through the pack as soon as each jam began. In the event, it was the Omens who profited most from the fast start, with Chemikill Hazard fighting through the pack in the second jam to pick up 4 points.
This was the best that it got for either team, however, with good blocking from both teams, and evenly matched jammers leading to a lot of no-score jams called early.
Chemikill Hazard (LD50) waits for Hateball (8) to plough the Death Stars out of her way. 
And this trend continued on for a further 3 jams, a very slow start on the 5th jam called by the Omens' Hardcore Prawn exiting the pack after Marshall Lawless but with lead-jammer, another early call by the Death Stars' Marla Mayhem unable to outpace Meg 4 Mercy in the 6th, and an early lead by Hardcore Prawn again in the 7th (thanks to a fall by Chemikill Hazard) garnering only 2 points thanks to a shove from Viper and Wild Oates as she passed them.

With the scores after 7 jams hardly any different, at:

64 Bad Omens : 47 Death Stars

it was only now that the trailing team got to continue their fight-back.

Meg 4 Mercy gets up just to sit down again (in the sin-bin).
With the Omen's Meg 4 Mercy sent off for her involvement in a pileup, the Death Stars took advantage of the power jam to lower their points deficit by 10 points, good pack control from Jackash, pivot Venus Velocity, Scara-Leigh (616) and captain Whiskey Galore enabling them to take Chemikill Hazard as a goat and really pull the pack's speed down for Marshall Lawless to lap.

...allowing Marshall Lawless to take Lead Jammer and
exploit the power jam!
The fight-back continued into the 9th jam, with the Death Stars' Marla managing to get in a single scoring pass ahead of Hardcore Prawn, and, despite resistance in the 10th (with Fightin' Torque blocked out from significant scoring by pivot Haberbashery), a knee helped Marshall Lawless retain the momentum into the 11th, with another pass' worth of points, just enough to bring the score to:

67 Bad Omens : 68 Death Stars

the Death Stars tasting the lead for a second time, with only 15 minutes left in the bout!

Venus and Lola make it hard for Prawn once...

...three times.
Alas, as with the last time, the taste of victory was cruelly snatched away in the very next jam, Marla Mayhem managing to get herself sent off passing through the pack, handing the Omens' Hardcore Prawn lead jammer, and a power jam to boot. Determined not to let victory slip too far from their grasp, the Death Stars made life hard for Prawn, pivot Venus Velocity and Lola Bruises particularly persistent in taming the Omens' jammer. As a result, it was a particularly low scoring power jam, with only a single scoring pass before Marla returned to the track and Prawn called it.

Except that Marla started the next jam from the sin-bin, with the Omens taking a knee to give their jammer, Meg 4 Mercy the best possible time advantage. Just as Marla was entering the track, however, Death Stars blockers Sykes and Viper were entering it, leaving Wild Oates as the only blocker on the track for the team! Despite the advantage, Meg played it safe, calling the jam as soon as Marla completed her first pass, picking up 4 points for the Omens.
Wild Oates (3) and Marla vs the entire Omens
(Death Stars watching from the Sin-bin :D )
Marshall Lawless just about to get Lead Jammer, despite
the Death Stars being outnumbered 2:1!
With the Death Stars pack still depleted at the start of the 14th jam, the Omens took yet another knee, hoping to exploit the situation further. However, it was the Death Stars' Marshall Lawless who burst through the pack first to grab lead jammer, with Omens' Prawn in hot pursuit. Despite the initial lead, Prawn's speed made the difference, catching up enough to grab a single point before the Death Stars jammer called it.

While events looked like they were starting to swing back the Bad Omens' way, there was still little more than a single pass between the scores, so there was all to play for going into the 15th jam of the period. With the Omens taking the knee once more, Meg 4 Mercy exploded through the pack to take lead jammer within the first few seconds. Unfortunately, it didn't take a lot longer than that for the Death Stars' Fightin' Torque to leave the track entirely, headed for the sin-bin. The Omens' Tarcenic and Bashin' Berserker (83) were quick to take Wild Oates as a goat, slowing the pack for Meg to pick up a nice 20 point haul.
Now, with less than 10 minutes left in the bout, the Omens looked like they'd reconsolidated their lead, with the score back to:

97 Bad Omens : 71 Death Stars

Oates explains to Jess E Ska that it's polite to ask first before
Marla Mayhem tried to lead a fight back in the 16th , gaining lead jammer, only for Hardcore Prawn to do to her what she'd done to Lawless only a few jams previously, catching her up and scoring points before Marla could call the jam. Similarly, in the following jam, with Jess E Ska's attempt at passing the pack thwarted by Wild Oates, the Death Stars' Fightin' Torque looked like she'd be able to score a nice set of points, but was stuck with only one, thanks to an exceptional rear defence from the Omens.
Only in the 18th jam did the Death Stars finally make their fight-back stick, with Marla managing sufficient lead over Meg 4 Mercy to pick up a single complete pass.

The Omens weren't about to see their lead eroded again, however, entering the 19th jam (with only 6 minutes on the clock) on their knee, with Hardcore Prawn launching herself from the jam line at full speed... and straight into a determined Venus Velocity and Lola Bruises. Despite being knocked down, Prawn still fought her way through to lead jammer ahead of the Death Stars Fightin' Torque, and managed to score a couple of points before a second whack from the Death Stars' Whiskey Galore hurled her off the track and into a wall, where she failed to get up. With the jam called by the referees for medical attention, everyone was relieved to see Hardcore Prawn eventually get up and hobble her way to the bench.

Once play resumed, the Death Stars had opportunity to restart their counter-attack when handed a power jam in jam 20 (literally - Omens' jammer Meg 4 Mercy being sent off for blocking with hands), but the Omens' Lucky Hateball and Chemikill Hazard proved a tough challenge for Marshall Lawless in her initial pass, taking up enough time that she only had the time for a single scoring pass before Meg returned to the track.
After a time-out for Death Stars strategy, play resumed with the score at:

102 Bad Omens : 84 Death Stars

a lead, but not an unsurmountable one, given a little luck.
Unfortunately, the Force was not on the Death Stars side, as taking the knee into jam 21 only helped the Omens' Meg 4 Mercy get Lead Jammer a little faster, with Marla Mayhem having to settle for chasing her down and forcing a no-score. Jam 22 was almost a repeat, the only wrinkle being that Meg failed to get lead jammer on her exit, making it even easier for Marla to end the jam when she made her escape.
And so, in the end, it came down to this, the final jam. With Marshall Lawless jamming for the Death Stars this time, Marla Mayhem got to revenge herself against Meg 4 Mercy in the blocking role, helping to give Lawless a significant lead for scoring. Unfortunately, there was only time enough for a single pass, Hateball and Chemikill Hazard keeping the pack pretty fast at the head... leaving the score at the final whistle:

102 Bad Omens : 88 Death Stars

and an exceptionally hard-fought bout by both teams!

After the bout, there's the love:
Derby love, post-bout. Don't try this during...
The Winners (they're all winners, even announcer Helliverence!)

and the awards for Most Valued Player (awarded to a member of each team by the other team).
For the Death Stars, Marla Mayhem won MVP for blocking and jamming excellently,
while, for the Bad Omens, Chemikill Hazard was the player the Death Stars most feared.

This time, however, there was also a surprise in store, the members of the previous seasons' Bad Omens line-up being assembled to win the newly-instated GRG Intraleague Trophy:
Team Scotland (and GRG) photographer Dave McAleavy captures the Bad Omens (season 1) and their new shiny thing.

*Duct tape, obviously.
**"Cougaring" refers to the process of deliberately gaining a 4th minor penalty in order to get sent to the sin-bin and clear your status. Usually done at the start of a jam by deliberately lining up behind the pivot line as a blocker (and almost always done because the player wants to be able to jam next, and therefore needs to have a clean slate to jam more effectively).

Thanks to the Glasgow Roller Girls for an excellent game.
Thanks also to the creator of the bout programme (I'm guess it was Hateball, but it doesn't say), and to announcers Helliverence and the other guy whose name I didn't catch.

The video and photographs used in this report are all taken by me on a Sony A580 with the kit lens, and no flash. A playlist of video and album of photos from which they are drawn are at:
YouTube Playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF63D920227A39C8A
Picasa/Google Photos album: https://picasaweb.google.com/102032801144714237554/GlasgowRollerGirlsIntraleagueSeason2BadOmensVsDeathStars30711?authuser=0&feat=directlink   (Also shared on Google+, and a copy on Facebook)

This bout report, and all media therein are licensed CC-BY (Creative Commons : Attribution), which means that they are completely free to reuse and remix as long as I am given a credit as the author. You don't have to ask permission first as long as you do that.

As always, this report, and any inaccuracies within it, are purely my own. All corrections and comments are gratefully received.

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