Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Winter Wonderslam Round-Up

Photo by Mike King

Mention London RollerGirls to anyone in the UK Roller Derby community and you can be sure they’ll have an opinion. Then mention that you have an LRG Season Ticket (crafty marketing there ladies!) and watch them turn green…

Having never witnessed any of the LRG Teams in action before, news of their second intra-league season (in addition to their tournament bouts alongside Birmingham Blitz Dames at Tattoo Freeze, Jan 17th, 2010) had me salivating. Even the prospect of ten butt-numbing hours of National Express drudgery (per bout) couldn’t dim my enthusiasm.

Tottenham Green Leisure Centre, LRG’s home turf, is a tight squeeze for players and fans alike, making for an intimate experience. Whilst the programme states that having a rollergirl in your lap is a privilege, it neglects to mention that it’s also a virtual certainty!

Following Referee and NSO introductions, the teams performed their skate outs. The Ultraviolent Femmes immediately endeared themselves to me by skating out, en masse, to a song by Slayer (which seemed strangely appropriate, despite their Clockwork Orange-inspired team persona) whilst, in contrast, the Steam Rollers skated out individually, one clockwise, one counter-clockwise. Could this be indicative of anything – a solid team against a group of individuals? … Or was I just over-analysing?

Everything that happened afterwards is a bit of a blur…
No, I’m being serious! That’s how fast the bout was played!

And trust me when I say the score line doesn’t do this bout any justice either.

Within two or three jams the Steam Rollers had already stamped their authority on the bout, racking up a dozen plus points and denying the Ultraviolent Femmes any in the process. Consistently superior pack-work coupled with dynamic Jammer strategies saw the Rollers pile on the points at will, whilst the Femmes struggled to break through the pack with any regularity.  There were Jamwiches galore throughout the first period, the majority of which had a Femme filling.

The tension within the Femmes camp spilled onto the track on a number of occasions as the suicide seats played host to a number of players (Quad Ophelia lays claim to five squatters during the course of the bout, and I played host to a couple). Outside Pack Ref’ Henry The Sk8th was taken out at one point, as was one of the many photographers (his tripod may never be the same again!). The sin bin also became over-subscribed towards the end of the period, as both teams cleared their Minors and played short. However, even with three Rollers in the penalty box, the Femmes weren’t able to close them out and bring the scores anywhere near level, further compounding their problems come the end of the first period.

I can’t supply half-time scores for stat’s fiends I’m afraid – but, as Dominic Toretto once said: “It don't matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning's winning.”

(If memory serves, the score was 3/1 in favour of the Rollers (roughly 120 – 40). And, for the record, the half-time intermission included fans racing around the track on space hoppers!)

The second period started in much the same vein as the first, with the Rollers locking out the Femmes at every opportunity, whilst continuing to press home every scoring advantage. Fox Sake and Sky Rockit put another twenty points on the board for the Rollers without any real response from the Femmes within the first few jams. (Apologies to any of the other Steam Rollers Jammers who scored during this period and who I haven’t mentioned by name – Fox and Sky really stood out to me.)

To the Femmes credit, they took this in their stride, and made every effort to hamper the Rollers’ scoring efforts thereafter without jeopardising their own. It was slow but steady work on their part, bordering on death by inches, which might have paid dividends had the half-time score been more favourable. Kamikaze Kitten, Ninjette, and Vagablonde chipped away, jam by jam, to more than double their first period score – indeed, the last few jams saw the Femmes finally get their groove on in a big way (again, sadly not reflected in the final score).

And so, the first of this season’s LRG’s intra-league bouts ended with a decisive victory for the Steam Rollers (147) and a humbling defeat for the Ultraviolent Femmes (55).

Tattoo Freeze will show whether the Femmes can move beyond this, and allow them the chance to try out any new ideas and build upon what they did towards the end of Winter Wonderslam ahead of the next intra-league bout on Feb 6th, against the Suffra Jets (whom the Steam Rollers will face in a closed bout on Feb 27th).

El Toupee


  1. Good write up cheers. x Liv or Die

  2. Nice write-up.