Bout Report: Glasgow Roller Girls Intraleague Season 2: Hell's Belles vs Bad Omens

After a brief break (while GRG played Auld Reekie, and then jaunted off down to Leeds to play the Leeds Roller Dolls), the second season of the Glasgow Roller Girls Intraleague bouts continued, with last season's victors, the Bad Omens playing the Hell's Belles.
After their win against the Death Stars in the first bout of the season, the Omens only needed to win this game to win their second season in a row. However, with jammer Hardcore Prawn not able to play, due to lingering issues after the previous game, and team captain Chemikil Hazard out with a broken toe from the day before the bout, the Omens came to this bout a little under-strength.

As is usually the case, both teams were fielding additional players from the third GRG team, the Death Stars.

Before the bout, there's the Skateout. If nothing else, the Bad Omens probably won this one, on the rarely contested creepiness metric...
Period 1

Wild Oates jamming for the Belles (one of the Death Stars
loans, and of course, one of the Team Scotland team).
If bouts were won in the first few jams, then the Hell's Belles would have been supremely confident here: jammers Marla Mayhem (13) and Wild Oates (3) taking lead jammer in all 3 jams they skated in, and picking up a good haul of points. The Bad Omens' Meg 4 Mercy (4) was the only fly in the ointment, responsible for all 9 points her team scored, in a single jam!

Less than 7 minutes into the first period, the score stood at:

09 Bad Omens : 17 Hell's Belles

Meg 4 Mercy and Fightin' Torque, too close to call.
Things are rarely that simple, however, and in the fifth and sixth (video) jams, neither team managed a score, Meg 4 Mercy close enough behind lead jammer Fightin' Torque (531) to prevent the Belles' scoring, and then Belles' Venus Velocity (666) eventually fighting her way through an exceptionally defensive pack, but proving unable to score. In fact, her efforts at the end of the jam resulted in her making her way to the sin-bin as the jam was called...

...handing the Omens a power jam, which they, of course, took a knee into. Meg 4 Mercy is good at the power jam thing, and, sliding past a last-minute block by pivot Wild Oates, she easily took lead jammer and a couple of scoring passes, Oates and Mazzy Chaos (r10t) providing the only resistance at the front of the pack each time. With 13 points in one jam, the score, and the lead had shifted:

22 Bad Omens : 17 Hell's Belles

With the Belles taking a knee into the following jam to give Marla Mayhem more time to pick up points, the score reverted to an even 22 all, but both teams had trouble creating a permanent lead after that. Whilst the Omens opened up a lead in jams 9 (video) and 10, the Belles reacted in 11 and 12 (video), bringing the scores almost level again, and then starting to pull ahead once more in jams 13 and 14, Marla Mayhem and Wild Oates once more bringing in the points.
So, with a tentative

28 Bad Omens : 33 Hell's Belles

lead, it was all about ready to go horribly wrong.

Meg 4 Mercy in her second power jam of the bout...
Coming into jam 15, Belles' jammer Fightin' Torque was blocked out at the front of the pack by Lily Lethal, knocking her down, and leaving her limping off the track. With Torque out of play, this was effectively the second power jam of the bout for the Omens and Meg 4 Mercy, and they took full advantage of it. With the Belles' Sykes trapped as a goat, the excellent walling by the rest of the Belles (Venus Velocity, Mazzy Chaos and Betty Go Go (999)) was put out of play, and the Omens' jammer managed a couple of laps before the jam went to time.
One injury can make quite a difference, and this one had put the Omens back in the lead once more:

38 Bad Omens : 33 Hell's Belles
Jackash shows how to block out a jammer...

Of course, the Belles weren't about to sit back and take it; just as before, the next few jams saw the fight back from Wild Oates, Lola Bruises (96) (taking as many points as Omens' lead jammer Rogue Runner in her jam, thanks to an excellent hip check by Belles' blocker Jackash (911)), and Marla Mayhem (video), bringing the lead back to the Belles:

40 Bad Omens : 41 Hell's Belles 

and then, despite a no-score tie between Wild Oates and Rogue Runner (video), extend it over the last three jams (videos 20, 21, 22), with Marla, Oates (thanks to some last-minute blocking of Rogue Runner by Sykes (360°) ), and then, most significantly, Marla once more, completing an effortless scoring pass in the final jam of the period, to bring the score at half-time to:

40 Bad Omens : 50 Hell's Belles

As is usual, in the half-time period, bake stall, refreshments and t-shirts were available for purchase.
They were joined today, as with the ARRG bouts, by the Team Scotland stall, selling t-shirts (in white and black), badges, patches, and other paraphernalia.

Half-time: time to get in a few winks for the referees.

Period 2

With the general trend of the first period, it was no surprise to see that both teams started off the second period fielding their strongest jammers, Meg 4 Mercy facing off against Marla Mayhem (video) in a short jam that saw both pick up a couple of points.
The surprise turned up in the second jam; Wild Oates proving unable to pass the blocking team of Lucky Hateball (8) and Whisky Galore (11), while the Omens' Zombilina (15) faired rather better, picking up a couple of grand-slam passes over the full 2 minutes, to narrow the Belles' lead to just 3 points.

49 Bad Omens : 52 Hell's Belles

Marla Mayhem, mid-scoring pass. 

The Belles weren't about to stand for this, and they took the knee into jam 3. Marla Mayhem did her usual magic, slipping around Meg 4 Mercy (pivot), while the Omens' Rogue Runner proved unable to pass Sykes and pivot Sister Grimm (57), eventually getting herself sent off. Subsequently, Marla showed that she was just as good at exploiting power jams as her opposite number had been in the first period, picking up 17 points before time was called (with the help of a goated Scara-leigh (616) letting the Belles slow the pack).

Meg 4 Mercy, again with the scoring.
Unfortunately for the Belles, history was repeating itself. Jam 5 saw Meg 4 Mercy comfortably back with her jammers' star, held back only on her initial pass by Betty Go Go. Meanwhile, Wild Oates was having trouble with Omens again; this time Lily Lethal (5), Whisky Galore and Lucky Hateball, keeping the Belles' jammer locked up in her initial pass for most of the jam. The Omens had almost undone all of Marla's good work, bringing the points differential back down to 5 points.

Unlike the Omens, the Belles couldn't quite manage to respond in kind once more, Marla only managing enough of a lead over Zombilina in jam 5 to pick up a pair of points.
Following the alternating pattern that the Belles had adopted in the second period (with Fightin' Torque unable to skate after her injury), Wild Oates was back on next, up against the Omens' Rogue Runner. (video). With the Omens jammer out of the pack first, Oates was obviously keen to escape past her continuing nemeses, but instead picked up an elbow-block penalty and a trip to the sin-bin. Another power jam thrown the Omens' way was just the thing to finish off that lead, and Rogue Runner took full advanage, despite the best efforts of pivot Venus Velocity, and Mazzy Chaos. 23 points added to the Omens' score, made things look more like this:

87 Bad Omens : 71 Hell's Belles

The Belles responded as they had before, taking the knee to exploit the last few seconds of numbers-advantage (with one Omens' blocker in the sin-bin), and sending Marla Mayhem shooting off...and straight to the sin-bin. With her third power jam of the bout, Meg 4 Mercy was in the zone for more points; although not so much that she managed to get lead jammer, so the jam would run to the full time. Despite the best efforts of Lola Bruises blocking at the front of the pack (and eventually getting sent off for out-of-play penalties), the Omens' jammer picked up another 15 points for her team.
(This was aided somewhat by Marla getting sent off the track again almost as soon as she returned, for some reason.)
Now things really were looking dangerous for the Belles, two power jams in a row having brought the score to:
102 Bad Omens : 71 Hell's Belles

Luckily for the Belles, the Omens failed to do any more damage in the eighth jam, Rogue Runner failing to exploit the last moments of power jam before Marla Mayhem returned to the track, and the jam was called.
Neither, however, could the Belles counterattack get solidly started, Wild Oates once again battling with her second-period nemesis, Lucky Hateball (video), while Meg 4 Mercy picked up a single pass' worth of points, extending their lead a little more. In the tenth jam, Marla Mayhem also found unexpected resistance from Rogue Runner, both jammers picking up points; although Venus Velocity stalled the Omens' second scoring pass, such that Marla got the better haul.
With the points differential slowly whittling down again, now at:

111 Bad Omens : 78 Hell's Belles

The star on the other head: Marla Mayhem blocking out
Omens' jammer Rogue Runner.
the Belles just needed to keep on pushing. And push they did, Wild Oates seeming to return to form for the next jam, taking lead jammer ahead of Meg 4 Mercy; although with only enough of a lead to pick up a single point. Unfortunately, this effort also led to Oates entering the sin-bin...
...so the Omens took the knee into the resultant power jam in jam 12, Rogue Runner doing the jamming. Marla Mayhem proved an effective blocker, as well as jammer, however, and managed to prevent the Omens' jammer getting lead; as a result, the jam ran to time, Wild Oates even managing to pick up a couple of points after returning to the track. In a strange piece of reciprocity, Rogue Runner managed to get herself sent off at the end of the jam...

...giving the Belles a power jam in jam 13 (video), with only 6 minutes left in the bout. Could the lead be about to switch places again, at the last possible moment? With Whisky Galore, Lucky Hateball and vice-captain Haberbashery forming an impenetrable force at the front of the pack, it looked unlikely, Belles jammer Wild Oates failing to pass them before Rogue Runner returned to the track. In the end, the jam resulted in a single point for the Belles, bringing the score to:

118 Bad Omens : 82 Hell's Belles

Still, there was still time for the Belles to pick up points, with Marla Mayhem facing off against Meg 4 Mercy in the 14th (video) (and antepenultimate) jam... if she didn't get sent to the sin-bin almost as soon as the jam began. With yet another power jam handed to her, Meg did her usual best (Jackash was the goat selected by the Omens for this jam's pack slowing), until an accidental elbow block against Belles pivot Betty Go Go saw her sent to the sin-bin herself. Marla really showed how it was done as she returned to the pack at speed, effortlessly completing her initial pass and a scoring pass in the seconds remaining before the end of the jam!

Things were heating up now, with only enough time for a couple of jams left in the bout, and the score at:

131 Bad Omens : 87 Hell's Belles 

Perhaps it was too late for the Belles to win, but it wasn't too late for them to make things closer. With that in mind, Marla Mayhem remained on track for the power-jam that was jam 15 (video). With the Belles' blockers intentionally splitting the pack, Marla raced through her initial pass with no opposition, and was battling through her first scoring pass when Omens' blocker Lily Lethal took a tumble onto her face, and stopped moving. The jam was immediately called so first-aid could be administered, and after some attention from the first-aiders, and a bit of water, Lily was able to hobble off the track.

The bout wasn't done yet, however, just enough time remaining for one final jam (video), Marla and Meg 4 Mercy facing off at each other yet again. This time, Marla was a bit too aggressive in her jamming, getting through the pack at the cost of being sent off for track-cutting. The Omens jammer wasn't having too good a time of it herself, however, with Wild Oates and Betty Go Go holding her at the front of the pack for almost half the jam. With Oates, Betty and Sister Grimm proving equally difficult in her scoring pass, Meg 4 Mercy finally had a less-than-perfect power jam, picking up only a single pass.
With no more time left in the bout, imperfect was more than good enough, though, with the final score:

135 Bad Omens : 91 Hell's Belles

Post-bout and Awards

Just from the first period, no-one would have guessed that the final score would be such a strong win for the Bad Omens. It's a testament to the Omens' skill, but also almost certainly, a testament to the difficulties of running a team with only two jammers; having Fightin' Torque injured off in the first period meant that Wild Oates and Marla Mayhem were lifting the entire jamming load for the second period between them (while the Omens could field three jammers, with a more relaxed schedule).

Still, especially with the second half of the second period being so strong, no-one could say the Omens didn't earn their win, and their effective interleague championship (the final bout yet to come; but it can now only decide second place).

Of course, after the bout, there's the love:

and the awards:


Wild Oates gets her MVP
award from Helliverence's
Hateball goes for the hug.
Best Blocker
Mazzy Chaos (r10t)
Hell's Belles
Whisky Galore (11)
Bad Omens
Best Jammer
Marla Mayhem (13)
  Hell's Belles
Meg 4 Mercy (4)
Bad Omens
Wild Oates (3)
Hell's Belles
Lucky Hateball (8)
Bad Omens

Acknowledgments and Notes

Thanks to the Glasgow Roller Girls for an excellent game.
Thanks also to the creator of the bout programme, and to announcers Helliverence and the other guy (who's never mentioned in the bout programme).

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=PL1BED994EBE335E06
Picasa Web Album: https://picasaweb.google.com/102032801144714237554/GRGIntraleagueSeasonTwoHellSBellesVsBadOmens?authuser=0&feat=directlink
(Also shared on Google+, and a copy on Facebook)

Professional photography for GRG is handled by the excellent Dave McAleavy, who has a website for his bout photos.

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.


Anonymous said...

Great write up, but....

from the POV of a Bad Omen (Hateball here) it seems a bit one sided (Belles).

I thought it was a very hard fought game from BOTH sides.

Its also worth noting that Rogue Runner (On loan from the Death Stars) has been until now only played as a blocker - so this was her first bout jamming, which she graciously did after stepping in with less than 24hrs notice! What a girl!


Lucky Hateball 8

Anonymous said...

Ooh! Also....

The Bad Omens haven't yet won the trophy for this season - merely secured their place in the final!

They will be joined by the winning team from the next bout!


Unknown said...

Hi Hateball!

So, to respond a little:

I actually think the report is a little less one-sided than you imply, although I do agree on re-reading it that there is some Belles bias evident, for which I apologise. Both teams were playing hard in the bout, and I did try to get that across.

I will say that this is the fastest bout report I've written; I wanted to get it finished before Monday, because I had a panel to be present at at a conference in London on Tuesday, which I just got back from. While this isn't an excuse for lowered standards, it is at least an explanation. :)

(Also, if I'd know it was Rogue Runner's first bout as jammer, I'd have been sure to write about it, which would have helped with the bias. Sorry! For her first time, she did exceptionally well!)

Anonymous said...

Ha ha!
No problems - its a great report and brilliant for being up so soon! :D

Rogue did do so well - and to be honest I didnt know it was her first time as a jammer until she mentioned it halfway through the bout! lol!

Last season we only played the three games in the HT league because of date restrictions and a last minute change... but this season there are the three bouts plus a grand final... so its still anyones game ;)