Bout Report: Glasgow Roller Derby v Granite City Roller Girls & Berlin Bombshells

For the last month or two, Glasgow Roller Girls had been hinting fairly heavily that they have something special up their sleeves for their first home bouts of the season.
On March 10th, the 5th anniversary of the founding of Glasgow Roller Girls, we finally saw the secret unveiled: a complete rebranding and relaunching as the more inclusive "Glasgow Roller Derby", with new boutfits (in striking black and yellow), logo and very professional looking website.
In order to celebrate this rebirth, Glasgow Roller Derby had organised a double header: the B-team Maiden Grrders playing Granite City Roller Girls' Northern Fights, followed by the A-team Irn Bruisers taking on fellow WFTDA members Bear City Roller Derby's Berlin Bombshells.
While the Grrders managed a clear (but hard fought) win over the Fights, 214:79, the Bruisers found themselves playing a game of two distinctly different periods, Berlin taking home a 121:152 win despite being behind by  40 points at half time.

Bout 1

Period 1

Despite a strong initial pair of jams, Ruby Riot (08) and Clinically Wasted (111) both picking up lead jammer and points (thanks to good work by Fight Cub (182) and Zomboobies (8008) in the pack), the Northern Fights couldn't maintain that for a third. Some beautiful packwork by the Maidens held Rock'n Riot (09) in the pack, Mona Rampage (22) recycling her to the pack at least once, while jammer Sarah McMillan (7) picked up multiple scoring passes.
After 3 jams, the score sat at:

15 GRD : 05 GCRG

The Maidens and Fights remained locked in a stalemate for the next 8 jams; only two scoring passes resulting (Ruby Riot for GCRG, Rogue Runner (210) for GRD), the rest all very tight no-scores.

This critical matching was finally broken in jam 12, starting on a power-jam from the very end of the previous jam. With Rock'n Riot (09) on the penalty bench, Glasgow's Fightin' Torque (531) was the only jammer on track at the start of the jam. Some effective pack splitting by her pack helped Torque to maximise her scoring, especially as it led to all but one of Granite City's blockers being in the sin-bin. By herself, Frost Damage (69) couldn't stop the GRD jammer from taking multiple scoring passes, and closing the jam 24 points up.
Suddenly Granite City had a big gulf to fill, the points now sitting at

42 GRD : 08 GCRG

Fight Cub makes life hard for Fightin' Torque
Quickly following this up with a single scoring pass by Rogue Runner; and an exceptional non-power jam for Sarah McMillan, with GCRG's Frost Damage shut out at the rear of the pack by pivot Mona Rampage and Devil's Advoskate (350), the Maidens were clearly in the business of capitalising on their lead as much as possible.

The Northern Fights were hardly about to give up yet, however, and some good conservative jamming from Fight Cub, Ruby Riot and Clinically Wasted, along with a late call from Glasgow lead jammer Rogue Runner (allowing Rock'n Riot to take a sneaky scoring pass) helped to slowly narrow the points differential.
Jam 21 could have been just the impetus Granite City needed to really retake the initiative in the bout. Despite a bruising last second block from (The Very Hungry) Splatter killer (0) leaving her clearly winded, Fight Cub soldiered on to see GRD's Sarah McMillan off to the sin-bin for a track-cut major. The normally blazingly fast Cub was clearly suffering from her fall, and only managed a single complete scoring pass before a back block sent her to the penalty bench in turn. A better conditioned McMillan took her own turn at the power-jam and, despite colliding at full speed with Ruby Riot on her second scoring pass, had little trouble picking up a couple of grand slams before the jam came to time.

71 GRD : 28 GCRG

With only 6 minutes left in the period, Glasgow regained the initiative, despite a confusing 23rd jam where everyone but the referees seemed to think that Splatterkiller had called the jam after her initial pass. Despite a 4-3 pack advantage to GCRG, Rogue Runner narrowly took lead jammer in the next jam; Clinically Wasted took the last GCRG lead jammer of the period in jam 25, thanks to an excellently cleared inside line, and the last 2 points for her team as well. Rogue Runner was happy to run the period clock down for a whole minute in jam 26, keeping GCRG's Rock'n Riot nicely blocked out behind her for several laps; leaving it to Sarah McMillan to take the final scoring pass of the period, breaking through Frost Damage and O'Carrol (87)'s blocking with a big push, to just take a complete scoring pass before calling it from the track floor!

At half-time, the score stood at:

84 Glasgow Roller Derby : 30 Granite City Roller Girls

GRD also gives to charity!

Period 2

Returning to the second period, the onus was on the Northern Fights to start attacking the 54 point score differential as soon as possible. A confident and cohesive Maiden Grrders line-up was firmly in control, however, holding their challengers to a mere 2 scoring passes until the final 6 minutes of the bout! Much of this was down to some superlative blocking by the home team, with some nigh-impenetrable walls and hard blocking and recycling from Mona Rampage, Love Hurts (117), Haberbashery (40) and Jackash (911) in particular.

To make matters worse for the Northern Fights, the only power-jams awarded were to the home team; Jess E Ska (2tone) and Sarah McMillan capitalising on the first in the 13th and 14th jams, and then (The Very Hungry) Splatter Killer (0) immediately copping a second one in jam 15! The combined 56 points from just 3 jams were a devastating blow to Aberdeen's chances of taking a win home, putting the score at:

182 GRD : 32 GCRG

It was only in the final 4 jams that Granite City really managed to make their mark on the bout again, starting with a beautiful apex jump taking Ruby Riot into lead jammer position, although with Rogue Runner so close behind that she had to call it. The real scoring came in the next jam, a track-cut by Sarah McMillan on her scoring pass sending her to the sin-bin. With their first power-jam in the period, Rock'n Riot capitalised, despite some predictably tough blocking from the Maidens in a pack which continued rolling along with a goated Jess E Ska only serving to slow its progress.

The final two jams were similarly good to the away team, Glasgow's Devil's Advoskate coming out to jam for the first time, only to to almost immediately enter the penalty box for a track-cut. An innovative attempt to leap through Rogue Runner, knocking her to the floor, sent Ruby Riot off to the sin-bin herself, however, leaving both jammers without lead jammer status after their brief visits to the penalty bench. Matters didn't end there, however, the Maidens jammer getting herself sent off yet again, just before her fellow skater reentered the track, for an elbows major. Ruby Riot had a more successful power-jam this time, picking up a couple of grand slams, despite a 3-2 pack advantage to GRD, before time was reached. With Advoskate still in the penalty box, and only 2 Maidens on track (Jackash (911) and Summer Shudder (AF1) ) Fight Cub took full advantage to whip past a stationary pack 3 times before the GRD jammer returned to the track. Devil's Advoskate wasn't to have a good time of it, however, with Clinically Wasted and Frost Damage recycling her for yet another grand slam pass by Cub. Capping things off with one final scoring pass for GCRG, for 24 total points in one jam, Fight Cub called it.

Thanks to that eleventh-hour jam, the final score was boosted to:

214 Glasgow Roller Derby : 79 Granite City Roller Girls

Bout 2

With the Maidens having gotten their win (and, after a quick group photo outside, settled down to cheer on their fellow skaters from the suicide line), it was time for Glasgow's A-team, the Irn Bruisers, to step up and face Bear City Roller Derby's Berlin Bombshells.

Period 1

The bout started poorly for the Bombshells, Candy Darling (19) almost immediately taking a trip  to the penalty box, handing the Bruisers' Hyndman (4) a power-jam. Despite some good walling from Heavy Rotation (505) and Bam Bule (66), the home team took an excellent start to the bout with 15 points!
A hard fought jam 2 only allowed GRD's Marshall Lawless a single point ahead of Bombshells captain Master Blaster (2), and jam 3 saw the first score for Berlin, a last-second block by Bam Bule against GRD's Hardcore Prawn (88mph) stealing lead jammer for her in favour of Resident Shevil (28).
Holding Prawn at bay.

Some exceptional blocking by Chemikill Hazard (LD50) was already causing Candy Darling issues in the pack in jam 5, before a last-second track-cut sent her to the sin bin, handing GRD's Marshall Lawless (42) the second power-jam of the bout. Racking up a good 21 pt score, with Berlin blockers heading off to the penalty bench with every pass, the Bruisers' jammer only spoiled matters a tiny bit with a last-second backblock sending her to the sinbin. A very tough GRD pack limited Master Blaster's exploitation of the situation next jam, however, limiting her to just a single grand slam pass before calling early.

41 GRD : 12 BCRD

If wasn't bad enough, a third power-jam in jam 11; with Hyndman showing off some lovely jinking around blockers before Berlin's Citysin Pain (911) headed off to the sin-bin; was followed by a fourth the very next jam - Jen Sykes (360) and Ethyl Trash (26) both failing to take lead jammer on their initial pass, but the Berlin jammer making one too many mistakes on her scoring passes and taking a late trip to the penalty box. Master Blaster and Heavy Rotation kept Sykes to a single power-jam scoring pass before the jam ended, but with their jammer still in the sin-bin.
Aggressive blocking was called for, and with only two GRD blockers on track, it was easy for the Bombshells to gang up on Marshall Lawless, forcing her to pick up penalties trying to pass their wall. With Lawless heading off to the sin-bin as Ethyl Trash was leaving, it seemed like this would be the time Berlin would get to fight back; but Viper (29) and Mistress Malicious (99) did an exceptional job of recycling her repeatedly during her only scoring pass, limiting Bear City to a mere 5 points.

Slowly, the Bruisers' points differential was growing, the score now:

72 GRD : 35 BCRD

With only 9 minutes left in the jam, it was clear that the Bombshells needed to start seriously picking up net points soon to enter half time on any kind of high.
It took them a little longer to pick up momentum, however, with yet another power-jam the home team following in jam 14, Master Blaster fighting through the pack against 4-2 pack disadvantage first, but picking up a back-block penalty on the way. Undertake Her (46) and Resident Shevil tried their best to stop GRD's Marshall Lawless from picking up points, but with no other Berlin blockers on track, she was unstoppable, calling the jam when the pack advantage dropped to 4-3. Hyndman picked up the tail end of the power-jam next, with Bam Bule, Undertake Her and Agent B. Fatal (43) forcing her to fight for every pass, and eventually calling the jam from the ground after a big hit from Bam Bule.

With that matter resolved, and back to full pack strength, Bear City dug in and started fighting back hard, picking up 15 points over the final 5 jams to pull the points differential back to the middle of the bout. Some fantastic anchored walls helped to keep GRD's jammers locked up in the pack long enough to give Resident Shevil and Master Blaster lead jammer and the time to pick up scoring passes.

The period ended:
96 Glasgow Roller Derby : 51 Bear City Roller Derby

Period 2

A revitalised Berlin returned to the second period continuing their aggressive attitude from the end of the first.
Resident Shevil cut first through a very defensive pack in the first jam, although without lead jammer, thanks to a track-cut getting around Oates. Candy Darling did a little better, picking up lead jammer and a complete scoring pass against Jen Sykes in the second. Glasgow could only hold the Bombshells to no-scores for the next two jams, with their only score in jam 5 due to Master Blaster going for a second scoring pass, letting Jen Sykes pick up her own points before the jam was called.
A power-jam for Berlin's Resident Shevil didn't hurt at all in jam 6, Hyndman off for accumulated penalties trying to pass the aggressive BCRD blocking, adding another 18 points to the away teams score, making the standing now:

100 GRD : 78 BCRD

A power-jam for Hyndman, returning from the penalty box into jam 7 to pass Ethyl Trash (still trying to  escape the pack, and then off for a track-cut) gave just 6 points to the Bruisers before the jammer headed back to the sin-bin again in the middle of her second scoring pass, a resilient anchored wall from Heavy Rotation, Master Blaster and Lizzy Slaughter (742) eventually leading to an elbows penalty. The freed Ethyl Trash had no time to score before the end of the jam, and an official time-out sent her back to the penalty box before the next jam to serve her final seconds once more.

Jam 8 was the last time that the Bruisers would score for the next third of the bout, taking advantage of the Bear City jammer starting from the sin-bin to roll the pack back behind the jam line before she could re-enter. Sykes and Armed Bandit (01) kept Ethyl Trash in the pack just long enough for Hyndman to slip right around the outside line before the Bombshells noticed her, taking lead jammer and a single scoring pass.

Candy Darling, Resident Shevil and Master Blaster dominated the track for the next 10 minutes, aided by some extremely effective recycling and a sequence of seemingly impenetrable Berlin walls. With the points differential whittling slowly down, the crowning event was a 24 point power-jam for Master Blaster in jam 13, followed immediately by a second power jam for Resident Shevil, reversing the lead and then cementing it at:

110 GRD : 137 BCRD

With the shoe on the other foot, the Irn Bruisers started a revised tactic, with only 10 minutes left in the bout to change the score. Megan Hyndman proved the most able Glasgow jammer, managing 2 scoring passes in the following 6 jams; able blocking, and some hard hits, from Berlin's Heavy Rotation, Agent B. Fatal (43) and Citysin Pain (among others) kept the remaining four for their skaters, with Resident Shevil, Master Blaster and Candy Darling all picking up the Bombshell's score.
Marshall Lawless made a valiant effort in the antepenultimate jam of the bout, picking up a complete scoring pass ahead of Candy Darling, but those were the last points that Glasgow would see, the final two jams going once again to Bear City.

The final score:
121 Glasgow Roller Derby : 152 Bear City Roller Derby

Awards and Conclusions

GRD Maiden Grrders v GCRG Northern Fights

Best Jammer
Maiden Grrders
Sarah McMillan
Northern Fights
Rock'n Riot
Best Blocker
Maiden Grrders
Northern Fights
Frost Damage
Most Valuable Player
Maiden Grrders
(The Very Hungry)
Northern Fights

Fight Cub
GRD Irn Bruisers v BCRD Berlin Bombshells

Best Jammer
Irn Bruisers
Berlin Bombshells
Resident Shevil
Best Blocker
Irn Bruisers
Berlin Bombshells
Bam Bule
Most Valuable Player
Irn Bruisers
Marshall Lawless
Berlin Bombshells
Master Blaster

Disclaimers and Acknowledgements

Thanks to Glasgow Roller Derby (and Granite City Roller Girls, Bear City Roller Derby) for two fantastic bouts.
Thanks also to the producer of the bout programme, and the GRD and BCRD live bout tweeters, and to Oates, Rock'n Riot and Sarah McMillan for info on the skater awards.

GRD v GCRG https://picasaweb.google.com/102032801144714237554/GRDMaidenGrrdersVGCRGNorthernFights10March2012?authuser=0&feat=directlink




This report, and all photographs and video linked therein, are licensed Creative Commons: Attribution (3.0) (CC:BY 3.0). Free for reuse and redistribution with attribution.

Photographs and video taken with a Sony A580 with a Minolta 34-105mm lens.

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