Bout Report: GRG Irn-Bruisers vs Rainy City Roller Girls 29 October 2011

As I mentioned in the previous report, last Saturday's Hallowe'en themed roller derby at Glasgow was a  double header. Having covered the international bout first on the agenda, this report covers the second: the traditional yearly matchup between Glasgow's 'A'-team, the Irn-Bruisers, and Manchester's Rainy City Roller Girls. The previous two years had been wins for the hosting team - Glasgow in 2009, and Rainy City in 2010 - so the onus was on the away team to break the pattern this time!

First, of course, the skateout!

Period 1

The first five jams of the bout were somewhat inconclusive, neither team managing to get a cohesive advantage over the other (see, for example, jam 4 (VIDEO) ). As with the previous bout, it was to be a power-jam that finally broke that deadlock.
Randi Razorlegs and Marshall Lawless contest for lead jammer.
Coming into jam 6, it looked like Randi Razorlegs (L11) had successfully slipped around the inside-line to take lead-jammer, but the eagle eyes of referee Karl Lager-Filled detected track-cutting, for which the Rainy City jammer was sent off to the sin-bin. Slowing the pack, pivot Viper (27) and the rest of the Bruisers blockers made it easy for jammer Marshall Lawless (42) to rack up the points: 22 of them before the power-jam ended!

As with so many bouts, a single jam was enough to shake the scoreboard up, the scores now:

30 GRG : 13 RCRG

With their lead established, the home team continued to press their advantage, jams 7 (VIDEO) and 8 seeing great defensive work in the pack to give jammers Marla Mayhem (13) and Megan Hyndman (4) strong leads over Rainy City's Missy Rascal (6) and Elle Loco (K-133), enough to score single passes each.
Clearly, the Rainy City skaters needed to think outside the box to break through the home team's impressive blocking. In the ninth jam, they finally got a chance to do so: with the pack formed up against the jam line (GRG taking a knee to exploit a numerical advantage), RCRG's Missy Rascal immediately performed a star pass, reaching over the entire pack to hand her jammer panty to pivot, Dee-Mise (18), at the front. While this didn't grant them lead-jammer status (Dee-Mise not actually having passed any of the opposing team in the pack), it did seem to confuse the Irn-Bruisers sufficiently to break their grip on events, Hardcore Prawn (88) battling her way past Missy Rascal (apparently attempting a Gotham-style face-to-face block) but without lead-jammer status. With neither jammer in a position to call the jam, it went to time, both teams picking up multiple passes, to bring the score to:

Dee-Mise and Missy Rascal's star pass gambit in process.

45 GRG : 24 RCRG

This is the kind of trick that only works once, however, and the away team might have played it too early, the next 4 jams proving as inconclusive as the first five had, despite yet another power jam in jam 10 for the away team. With a fast pack limiting Belle-istic's ability to score, she called the jam; the rest of the power-jam much better exploited by Rainy City captain Missy Rascal, accounting for most of their points here. With Rainy City taking a knee into the next jam (VIDEO), it was Marla Mayhem who took lead, setting the theme for the next few short jams.

Hardcore Prawn had to fight for every point here.
Just as in the previous case, the run was ended by another dramatic power-jam, in the 14th jam. With Rainy City taking a knee into the jam, to exploit a numerical advantage, both Hardcore Prawn and Elle Loco faced a strongly defensive pack, the Rainy City jammer faced with a strong forward wall from Lily Lethal (5), Chemikill Hazard (LD50) and Slain Austen (823.7), and Hardcore Prawn the blocking expertise of Dee-Mise, Sookie Sock'em and Mama Firefly (667). After a last-second block from Dee-Mise put paid to the Bruiser's break for freedom, it was Elle Loco who took lead jammer, only to be sent to the sin-bin during her first scoring pass. Adapting quickly to the change in circumstances, Hardcore Prawn fought her way repeatedly through a slow moving pack to take 10 points in the power-jam, and setting the score at:

59 GRG : 35 RCRG

With the dying seconds of the power-jam extending into the next jam (VIDEO), Marshall Lawless was a little too hasty getting through the pack, failing to do so cleanly enough to take lead jammer. Her haste did her no favours in her scoring pass, either, some track cutting on the outside line sending her to the sin-bin just as Elle Loco was coming back on track. The excitement wasn't over, however, the Rainy City jammer managing to get herself sent off again on her second scoring pass for a back block major, returning Marshall Lawless to the track just as two of GRG's blockers left it for the sin-bin themselves. With the pack balanced against her, the Bruisers' jammer fought hard to complete her scoring pass, barely managing to do so as the whistle blew.

They're not really quite this different in size in real life!
While Marshall Lawless and Hardcore Prawn had already managed high-scoring power-jams, Marla Mayhem was about to demonstrate it was quite possible to do the same thing with your opposing skater on the track. With only Viper and Chemikill Hazard on the track for the Irn-Bruisers, it took some help from their jammer to hold back Elle-Loco (starting from off track) as the jam began; as soon as her services were no longer needed, with Lucky Hateball (8) emerging from the penalty area, Marla Mayhem surged ahead to take lead-jammer. With the Rainy City jammer held securely behind a forward wall, the home team picked up a safe pair of scoring passes before calling it as she emerged.
Despite high scoring on both sides, the points differential had barely moved, the scores now standing at:

73 GRG : 43 RCRG

While Rainy City had a chance to recoup their losses in jam 17 (VIDEO), a messy start seeing the Bruisers' Megan Hyndman sent to the sin-bin on her initial pass, while Belle-istic took lead jammer. Not many points in this power-jam, however, the Rainy City jammer calling it immediately after being blocked off the track by pivot Wild Oates. This did mean that the majority of the power-jam extended into the next jam (VIDEO); however, with Randi Razorlegs struggling to pass a strongly defensive GRG forward wall, Megan Hyndman was back on track before Rainy City had picked up any points. To add insult to injury, the Rainy City jammer was sent off almost immediately for blocking to the back, handing the power-jam across. With the home team lined up stationary at the outside of the track, it seemed that Megan Hyndman would have no trouble picking up points; ironically, a back-block major on her second scoring pass put paid to that, sending her back to the sin-bin as the jam whistle blew!
Jam 19 (VIDEO), then, started with both jammers in the penalty box, even if Rainy City's Randi Razorlegs was standing ready to reenter the jam. Once again, an exceedingly strong defence from the home team, Wild Oates and Lucky Hateball in particular, minimised the losses, until the jam was called early due to injury.
When play resumed, there was only time for a single jam before half-time, (VIDEO), Rainy City's Belle-istic taking lead jammer over Marshall Lawless thanks to some exceptional blocking from the away team. The Rainy City jammer found her scoring pass curtailed by another one of those impassible GRG walls, however, and left it slightly too late to call the jam, both teams picking up points and leaving the score at half time:

82 GRG : 55 RCRG

After half-time, play resumed in period 2, which started a little late as the scores had apparently been accidentally reset for both teams!

Period 2

The second period started as closely contested as the first had, both teams slowly edging their scores higher, with perhaps a slight advantage to the away team (for example, see the first jam (VIDEO) ). The first big score of the period had to wait until jam 5. With GRG's Viper in the sin-bin, Rainy City took a knee into the jam, but it was the Irn-Bruisers' Marshall Lawless who fought her way through their forward wall first, to take lead jammer, Rainy City's Randi Razorlegs ending up in the sin-bin instead. She didn't spend long there, however, an incident during the GRG jammer's scoring pass sending her straight to the sin-bin herself, and releasing her opposite number in turn.
Continuing their power-jam into the sixth jam, captain Missy Rascal effortlessly took lead jammer (with a little help from pivot Dee-Mise), picking up another 9 points before calling it to prevent a returning Marshall Lawless from scoring.
With that good fortune, the Rainy City Roller Girls looked like they might be able to pull things back in the second period, the score now a considerably closer:

99 GRG : 89 RCRG

With that confusion over, the next two were almost sedate, Marla Mayhem picking up a single pass' worth of points in jam 7 (VIDEO), and then Missy Rascal managing a partial redress, with 2 points in the next.

This became something of a habit during the bout...
The ninth jam started a little messily, both jammers having to fight through strong walls after a Rainy City knee released them into the pack. While Marla Mayhem fought her way through the wall at the front, Randi Razorlegs was less fortunate at the rear, ending up sent to the sin-bin instead. This time, however, the away team proved themselves in defence, the GRG jammer failing to pass their wall on her third scoring pass (knocking Sookie Sock'em over in the process), instead herself heading off to the sin-bin! With Randi Razorlegs back on the track, the Rainy City blockers slowed the pack down; two more Irn-Bruisers getting themselves sent off in the process! With Marla Mayhem being sent off so late in the jam, the situation continued into the next jam, (VIDEO) team captain Missy Rascal taking full advantage of the reduced GRG presence on track to pick up 8 points before the Bruiser's jammer returned to the track.

After that excitement, the home team needed to show they handn't lost heart. Megan Hyndman was the one to do it, taking lead jammer she took no issue in knocking down Elle Loco to make herself more space on her second scoring pass, taking the score to:

124 GRG : 103 RCRG

that 20 point lead looking pretty constant.

This wasn't much of a respite. History repeated in jams 12 and 13: once again handed a power jam, Marla Mayhem proceeded to lap a stationary pack repeatedly, fighting her way through the Rainy City wall each time.  Inevitably, the penalties accrued eventually sent the GRG jammer to the sin-bin, allowing a last minute scoring push by Missy Rascal. As before, this Rainy City power-jam extended into the next jam, where (VIDEO) Belle-istic (13) fought her way past a two-wall of Slain Austen (823.7) and Lucky Hateball (8) to continue the scoring run. Once again, however, the home teams excellent blocking limited the damage done, the scoreline sitting at:

139 GRG : 111 RCRG

With Missy Rascal stuck behind the Bruisers' wall once more in the next jam, Megan Hyndman had no problems picking up 8 points to increase the home team's lead again, although her call was too late to stop Rainy City picking up some points of their own. The 15th jam was a little more clear cut (VIDEO), Marshall Lawless managing a clean 4 point pass before calling; the very next jam (VIDEO), Missy Rascal repeating the same for the away team. With Megan Hyndman returning to repeat the process for the Irn-Bruisers in the 17th jam, the score, with only about 3 minutes left on the clock, was:

155 GRG : 119 RCRG

The penultimate jam of the bout started slowly (VIDEO), Hateball and Wild Oates (3) keeping the rest of the pack pressed up against the jam line while they waited for their fellow blockers to serve their time in the sin-bin. When the action finally started, with RCRG taking a knee to destroy the pack, it was only for their jammer Missy Rascal to immediately get herself sent off for a back-block to Wild Oates. A sedately skating Irn-Bruisers pack kept things slow for Marshall Lawless to capitalise on the power jam, which she did, despite some heavy blocking from Oona Bomber (75) and Sookie Sock'em. Fifteen points later, and all hope for a last-jam resurgence by the away team had evaporated, the score sitting at:

170 GRG : 119 RCRG

And, indeed, the final jam (VIDEO) only cemented that; with Missy Rascal sent off again, Marla Mayhem didn't have to do much in her new power-jam, which was lucky, as the Rainy City blockers weren't about to let her pass. Considering the scores, Marla was content to just wait behind the stationary pack until Slain Austen and Sykes (360°) made her a path, calling the jam well before a returning Missy Rascal got to pick up any points.

With that, then the final score of the bout sat at:

175 GRG : 119 RCRG

Conclusions and Awards.

This was a spectacular bout, if for some of the wrong reasons. While Rainy City's star pass was a great piece of tactics, and the Irn Bruisers' blocking was impressively solid and coordinated, this was perhaps overshadowed by the huge number of power-jams (and multiple power-jams in one jam) that occurred.
It also continues the trend of each team tending to win on their home ground; we'll have to wait until 2012 to see if the Irn Bruisers can be the first to break it when they play in Manchester.

Best Blocker
Glasgow Roller Girls
Lily Lethal
Rainy City Roller Girls
Best Jammer

Glasgow Roller Girls
Betty Gogo*
Rainy City Roller Girls
Missy Rascal
Glasgow Roller Girls
Marshall Lawless
Rainy City Roller Girls

*(who didn't jam - perhaps the Rainy City girls were thinking of Mistress Malicious, who skates as 99 to Betty's 999?)

Acknowledgements and notes.

Thanks to the Glasgow Roller Girls and Rainy City Roller Girls for an excellent game. 
Thanks also to the creator of the bout programme, and to announcers Helliverance and Handsome Joe Hanson. 

The video and photographs used in this report are all taken by me on a Sony A580 with a second-hand 24-105mm Minolta AF lens, and no flash. 

A playlist of video and album of photos from which they are drawn are at: 
YouTube Playlist 
 (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.

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