Brindabelters V Red Bellied Black Hearts bout one 2013

Canberra Roller Derby League’s 2013 home season is set to be the best yet if Saturday night’s opener is any indication. Crowds were promised that this game between the Brindabelters and the Red Bellied Black Hearts would be hotly contested, as the two teams placed third and second respectively in last year’s grand final and neither was going to let the first bout of the season go without a fight! The last time these two teams competed was a blowout victory for the Black Hearts, winning at 160-80. In the remaining season, however, both teams played very tight games against their opposition, true to the reputation of CRDL home bouts being exciting and uncertain to the end. This bout was no exception.

The first line up saw Shaggle Frock and Roulette Rouge on the jam line. The game got underway with one whistle, as new updates to the rules this year means jammers no longer have to wait for the pack to move forward, and both jammers were quick to engage the blockers at the line. A brutal defensive combination from Black Hearts Bambi von Smash’er and Roxie dieHart kept Shaggle contained for ¾ of a lap. However, Roulette was sent to the sin bin for cutting the track, and Shaggle responded with a 23-point jam, calling it before Roulette’s bin time was done.

Jam number 3 saw both jammers and blockers taking trips to the sin bin. The new rule set has also eliminated minor penalties and skaters were learning the impacts of this change the hard way. By the end of the fourth jam the Belters had extended their lead 61 – 20. The Black Hearts were working hard to contain the Belter jammers and narrow this point difference. Despite some excellent bridging by the Black Heart pack, with another Belter power jam the score was 103 – 39 by the end of jam 11. These mountain girls meant some business.

The next two jams however belonged to the Black Hearts with fierce pack work and fearless jamming from both FaunaCat and Bambi helping to lessen the score difference. With just 5 minutes left in this first half the penalties were stacking up and players from both teams appeared to be making conga lines to the bin.  The half time score was Belters 150 to the Black Hearts 85.

The second half saw the Black Hearts return in full force. Fast, aggressive jamming from LegoLass, Roulette and Bambi, combined with some nice blocking work from Iggy Bloc, Punky and captain Bohemeth Rhapsody saw the Hearts just 14 points behind after 10 jams in. The packs were fast moving and the Belters were still looking in control with Ova Bearing, Miss D Meaner, Kimodo Dragon and Stone Jett looking consistently strong. Another Black Heart power jam allowed Roulette to display some amazing footwork and flip the score for the first time to the Black Hearts. They were 188 to the Belters 178.

The Belter jammers had been on fire all evening and despite all the skaters beginning to look fatigued thanks to the intense, fast paced action, Freudian Slit stepped up and took the lead back. The scores remained close as the minutes ticked away but with just 2 minutes left on the clock the Belters were up by 31 and looked confident to take the game. It all came down to the final seconds and the Black Hearts, down by 26 points, had a power jam.

Bambi didn’t waste the opportunity in the unbelievably tense final jam and the crowd was standing, the fans screaming support with every scoring pass. This was roller derby at its exciting best. The Belters threw everything they had left to try and slow the Black Hearts but with a massive, heart stopping effort it looked on the scoreboard as if the Hearts had just taken it. However, once all the final points were added, the officials agreed Freud had managed to slip through and earn 3 points after being released from the sin bin. The scoreboard changed again, this time in the Brindabelters’ favour with the final score being 236 to 234. The standard this bout has set in terms of skill, intensity, and spectacle means this season is sure to be incredible to watch!