Bout Report: ARRG Home Season 2012: Double Header Final!

Roller Derby is never a sport that does things by halves, and Auld Reekie Roller Girls are fully signed up to the spirit. For their first ever Home Seasons final, then, they served up an evening double header; the third place Cherry Bombers facing off against Glasgow Roller Derby's third place Hell's Belles for a sort of "interleague intraleague" playoff, before the Leithal Weapons came to the track to face The Skatefast Club in ARRG's own final.

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.

Period 1

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
This was just a measure of what was to come; the Belles dominated the first 9 jams of the period completely, forcing no-scores when they didn't get lead jammer (the home team's Demon Speeding (333) run down by Megan Hyndman in jam 4), and otherwise picking up scores in the rest, thanks as much to some superlative blocking as to the jammers themselves.
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)
The home team weren't entirely out of the game; Circuit Breaker sneaking in a point to Sarah McMillan's 3 thanks to a slightly late call, and Maulibu Barbie taking lead, thanks to some lovely work from Fanny Thunders (47) and Sunny Sheeba, but just unable to score with a Fighting Torque hot on her heels and all of the Auld Reekie blockers at the rear of the pack.

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.

Unfortunately for the Cherry Bombers, the final jam saw Rogue Runner up to jam for Hell's Belles once more, facing off against their own Demon Speeding. An unusual lack of scrum start (thanks to the Bombers wanting to get Maulibu Barbie out of the bin, and the Belles not being particularly bothered about spending time at this point), contributed perhaps to the back block major that the Bombers jammer picked up almost immediately on contact with the pack, knocking Summer Shudder to her knees. The nightmare of a Belles power jam, with Rogue jamming, as the period ender had just begunjust as the jam ended, picking up a back block major. Rogue Runner proceeded to spend the next couple of laps penetrating the Cherry Bombers walls, until finally, and ironically, picking up a back block major herself after colliding rather more forcefully than she intended with VeloSidy's back. The jam clock ticked down before Demon Speeding could do anything on her return to the track, leaving the score at the end of period 1 at:

17 Cherry Bombers : 124 GRD Hell's Belles

Half time in the sin-bin.

Period 2

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...
The Belles continued to not get things their own way, Bronx Betty holding Fightin' Torque to a no-score in the next jam, and Demon Speeding managing lead jammer but with insufficient space to score in jam 3. This was all just encouragement for Hell's Belles to kick it up a notch, however, and over the course of the next 12 jams they reestablished their dominance from the first period, only giving away points in 2 jams; jam 7, where a pair of majors for both Rogue Runner and Maulibu Barbie led to the jam going to time, and jam 9, Slain Austen coming up to jam and finding Maulibu Barbie (again!) a little too spirited, despite some very tough blocking from teammate Mona Rampage.

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.
Indeed, the home team didn't get another chance for a scoring pass until the second last jam of the bout, once again Demon Speeding bringing home the points for the Bombers; the third time being the charm, after a pair of close runs against Sarah Oates in jam 18 (where some jammer-on-jammer blocking resulted in a Demon on the track and reabsorbed by the pack) and Fightin' Torque in jam 20, a no-score.
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

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