In result surprising for its one-sidedness, GRD's Hell's Belles (featuring some replacements from last year's lineup due to injury and availability) dominated the Bombers in the first bout, taking an 38:214 win.
The Final itself was much more closely fought, with neither side giving or taking quarter. The Leithal Weapons eventually took the win, with 159 to The Skatefast Club's 126.
"Third Place Interleague"
Cherry Bombers v GRD Hell's Belles
While the Cherry Bombers placed third in the season, they are still a formidable team, having only barely lost to The Skatefast Club in their placement match-up. The expectations of their bout against GRD's Hell's Belles were for a fast and close bout, with great skating on both sides.
While the latter was clearly the case, the former was somewhat inaccurate.
Starting the first period decisively, Megan Hyndman (4) burst through the pack, scoring a grand slam pass for Hell's Belles (although without lead jammer), thanks to some excellent blocking from pivot Slain Austen (823.7), Sarah Oates (3) and Mona Rampage (22) against the Bombers' Circuit Breaker (100).
|Demon Speeding, about to find out what it's like to be hit|
by Mona Rampage
The 10th minute, and jam, of the period saw the first glimmer of light for ARRG's Cherry Bombers; with Sarah McMillan (7) through the pack first, but also off to the sin-bin for an Illegal Procedure major, Circuit Breaker finally had a chance to score in the resultant power-jam. The Belles weren't going easy on her, of course, and after recycling by Fightin' Torque (531) , the Bombers' jammer had only the time to score a single scoring pass before a track cut sent her to the sin-bin in turn. With relatively little time left on the clock, McMillan had only enough time for a single scoring pass herself, but the continuing power-jam into jam 11 gave Megan Hyndman more than enough space to score multiple grand slams; despite having to fight her way through tough resistance from the Bombers' Shootin' Annie (.45), Sunny Sheeba (33) and VeloSidy (16) ever pass. A returning Circuit Breaker saw the result of GRD's pack drills, Mona Rampage skating back almost a quarter turn behind the pack to delay her reentry; this, and the now expected Belles blocking expertise, held her back for another scoring pass by Hyndman before the jam was called.
After that excitement, and half-way through the first period, the score stood at:
4 Cherry Bombers : 53 GRD Hell's Belles
With the Belles proven fallible, the home team quickly scored again, jam 12 seeing some good teamwork by Bronx Betty (319) and VeloSidy hold back GRD's Rogue Runner (210) for Demon Speeding's second lead jammer of the bout; despite some opposition from Mistress Malicious (99) at the rear of the pack, another 4 points were Auld Reekie's before the jam was called.
The Glasgow team soon reasserted themselves in the next few jams, Fightin' Torque picking up a scoring pass, followed by a tremendous start by Megan Hyndman, practically teleporting between the jam line and the front of the pack; only some tenacious blocking at the front by the Cherry Bombers' Sunny Sheba limiting her to a single scoring pass.
|Sarah McMillan takes lead jammer (again)|
It was down to Demon Speeding, quickly becoming the go-to jammer for the Cherry Bombers this bout, to once again actually score for her team, picking up lead jammer with a nippy pass down the inside line in jam 17. With the Belles' Rogue Runner still in the pack, thanks to some big hits from Bronx Betty and VeloSidy, it looked like Auld Reekie might even manage a grand slam pass or two - but (20Hz) proved a bigger hitter, keeping the home team to a single scoring pass.
13 Cherry Bombers : 70 Hell's Belles
Once again, this was just a brief respite, with GRD immediately moving to regain control; bolstered particularly by the events of jam 20. With Rogue Runner already lead jammer within the first 10 seconds of the jam, thanks to an agile leap around Sunny Sheeba at the front, Maulibu Barbie was increasingly frustrated by an unbreakable Belles wall at the front. The GRD jammer had already picked up a couple of grand slam passes in impressive style when her counterpart finally acquired enough minor penalties from her efforts for a trip to the penalty box; with the pack suddenly near-stationary, Rogue had little problem completing a 30 point scoring run by the end of the jam.
The home team still had plenty of fight left in them, however, stopping Megan Hyndman from taking any advantage from the dying seconds of the power-jam as the next jam started; Shootin' Annie and Fanny Thunders keeping the Belles' jammer locked up just long enough for Maulibu Barbie to reenter the track and take lead jammer, although with insufficient lead to actually score.
Bouyed by this, and the 4-3 pack advantage, Circuit Breaker managed to break through the pack, and survive hounding by Sarah Oates on the other side, to take lead jammer, scoring the final points for her team in the period.
17 Cherry Bombers : 124 GRD Hell's Belles
|Half time in the sin-bin.|
The Cherry Bombers returned to the second period with a one hundred point deficit and change, aware that they'd have to do an awful lot of work to pull out a win. A power-jam start to the first jam gave them a perfect opportunity, with GRD's Rogue Runner on the bench from the end of the first period; and, indeed, despite a very slow start as Hell's Belles tried to wear down the penalty clock, Circuit Breaker broke through, picking up a single scoring pass near simultaneously with Rogue's own initial pass, and calling it.
|This happened rather a lot when Rogue Runner was jamming...|
By jam 15, the score differential had soared to an intimidating:
33 Cherry Bombers : 186 Hell's Belles
With only 11 minutes left in the bout, and a comfortable lead, the Belles began relaxing their jammer rotation, letting some of their less regular jammers into the mix. First up was Mona Rampage, who proved a little less terrifying with a star on her helmet; the Bombers' Demon Speeding effortlessly taking lead jammer and a scoring pass against her. More successfully, Venus Velocity fought past Maulibu Barbie at the front of the pack to take lead jammer over Circuit Breaker. Megan Hyndman, pivoting, kept Circuit from escaping the pack for several passes by Venus, inflating the score by a full 12 points.
|Oates demonstrates why you shouldn't try to pass her|
when she has a star on her helmet.
Sensing the need for encouragement from the track side, the Cherry Bombers' Miss Collie Check, not skating, got up and exhorted the home team for the final few jams. Apparently this was the missing ingredient, as up against Megan Hyndman in jam 22, Demon Speeding managed just enough of a lead to score a single point before calling it, bringing the Cherry Bombers' score to its final resting place of 38.
With Mistress Malicious sealing the final jam with a partial scoring pass ahead of a fast-gaining Circuit Breaker, the final score sat at:
38 Cherry Bombers : 214 Hell's Belles
For the report on the final itself, including the skater awards for both bouts, see part 2, here.
Video from the bout is available in a playlist here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6EE40DDB52FD9FA3&feature=view_all