August 27th crowd was the biggest yet at a Canberra Roller Derby League home season match up. A sea of green and red was visible from the track inspiring skaters from the Surly Griffins and Red Bellied Black Hearts to go above and beyond for their fans. Derby virgins were given an impressive first time experience with a well fought physical bout highlighting the breadth of talent now evident across CRDL teams.
The bout was fast and aggressive from the start with the opening jam lasting only 45 seconds. The Griffs came out strong and hard with Rainbow Spite taking lead jammer status immediately forcing the Black Hearts to work hard to release their contained jammer, Fauna Cat. The Griffs set the pace from the get go, showing their determination to be victorious, however the Black Hearts quickly got into the groove. Both teams, demonstrating lessons learned from past losses, executed formidable walls and well practiced pair work. Jammers were forced to work hard for every point.
Scores in the first half were close with jammers from both teams demonstrating agility, finesse and team work with blockers executing strategic plays. AnneThrax, Dr Hell and Kazeee executed a text book bridging play to contain Roulette Rouge in a Black Heart power jam halfway through the first half. But Black Heart Jammers Speedin’ Seagal, Roulette Rouge and Fauna Cat continued to pile on the points throughout the first half. Seagal securing an 8 point jam for the Black Hearts just before half time. Fauna Cat also showed the crowd just how agile she is stepping effortlessly through solid Griff walls and avoiding hits.
Rainbow Spite, AnneThrax and Kazeee ensured the Griffs were never too far away in points, however the Black Hearts gained a significant half time lead of 76 – 47.
The second half saw the Black Hearts come out fighting determined not to lose their lead, while the Griffs also took to the track with what appeared to be a new resolve. Both teams worked hard to contain the other and there was little movement in scores in the first few jams. A time out was called early on, it was at this point that the Black Hearts’ domination over the second half began. The Griffs continued to fight regardless of the growing gap on the scoreboard. Kazeee collecting 8 points in a jam at 8 minutes to go, bringing the Griff score up 69 while the Black Hearts had accrued 115. The Griff’s tenacious Ginger Nutcase never gave up when presented with an unmovable Black Heart wall. Her recent opportunity to train with the Vice City Rollers evident in her determination to get through each time she jammed.
There were a number of big hits between some of the leagues favourite blockers. Aunty Aggro came out fighting for the Griffs giving big hits, proving herself to be the ultimate all rounder when she jammed aggressively on a number of occasions. The Black Hearts had to work extremely hard to contain her. Speedin’ Seagal and Bohemeth Rhapsody also demonstrated the breadth of all rounders present in the Black Hearts. The both executed devastating blocks and using jamming opportunities to collect points.
Roulette Rouge and Bambi von Smash’er also utilised their time as jammer to add to the score throughout the bout. This bout was the perfect opportunity for both teams to showcase upcoming jammers including Bebe Aggressive from the Black Hearts and the Griff’s Ginger Nutcase. The final score was 87 to 144 to the Black Hearts. The Griff’s rolling song Monster Mash may have been the prelude to what ended up being the Black Heart mashing of the Griff defence. The Black Hearts are now in the grand final, they will play either the Black’n’Blue Belles or Brindabelters. The second finals spot will be decided when the Belles and Belters battle it out at Tuggeranong on September 24.
Photos by Brett Sargeant