SKATE-icus: gladiators of the flat track

Black Hearts send Belles to walk the plank in Season Finale

As the size of the crowd grew at the AIS Arena it’s fair to say so did the anticipation. Every grueling bout this season had been leading to this moment. Defending champions the Black ‘n’ Blue Belles were first to roll out and they did it in military style. A huge roar went out for the Belles’ Captain Shortstop and the almost full house kept up the excitement as the Red Bellied Black Hearts skated onto the track. Taking the pirate theme to a new level, wooden swords were turned into flags that revealed each skater’s name.

The first jam saw two members of Team Australia face off, with Shortstop for the Blue Belles and Bambi von Smash’er for the Black Hearts getting the game underway. Shortstop decided flying was preferable to rolling and bulleted through the pack, jumping the apex at the first turn and sending the crowd into hysterics. She put the first 4 points on the board for the Blue Belles who obviously meant business. The Belles Cherry Axe-Wound put a big hit on Black Heart Speedin’ Seagal during the next jam and by Jam 4 the Belles had the lead 10-3 as two Black Heart players took a trip to the sin bin.  Over the following 8 jams the Black ‘n’ Blue Belles took their lead out to 31 – 12 and they were looking strong heading into Jam 13, with Black Hearts jammer Terror Bonesaparte starting in the sin bin. An early penalty called against Shortstop changed this and Terror used the switch to the Black Hearts advantage. Displaying some impressive speed Terror brought the score back to a 4 point difference. Just two jams later the crowd was right behind Shortstop as she responded to the Black Hearts rally. Lead jammer Speedin Segal could only watch in horror from her seat in the bin as Shorty carved up the pack. With the score now at 57 – 29 a time out was called.

With 10 minutes remaining in the first half, the Red Bellied Black Hearts took control and showed some fearsome skating in their chase to catch up. FaunaCat jammed with style and added another 9 points for the Black Hearts while a trip to the bin for Blue Belles’ jammer Fanta C. Lane allowed Speedin’ Segal to add 4 more. Whilst the Blue Belles jammers may have been giving the sin bin some revolving door action at this point their blockers resembled something more like a wall. King Cam demonstrated why she is representing Australia with some formidable blocking, including a big hit on Segal. The minutes ticked down and the jams were getting tougher.  Jam 19 saw Bambi von Smash’er take a fall but even this couldn’t stop her powering through the pack. With Shortstop taking a stint in the bin again, Bambi was able to bring the score to 56 for the Black Hearts just behind the Blue Belles 63. FaunaCat dodges and weaves next jam but constantly hits the black and blue wall. She eventually gets through for 3 more points. Valhannah was impressive jamming for the Belles cutting through the pack and calling off Jam 21 after adding some points. For the first time this bout The Red Bellied blockers manage to contain Shortstop and Black Hearts’ captain Roulette Rouge jamming smashes through the pack. Both teams score points and the score is Black ‘n’ Blue Belles 75, Black Hearts 61. With half time looming Belle The Cleaver deals out a huge hit and the crowd love it. Not to be ignored, however, the Black Hearts send Bohemeth Rhapsody to the jam line who decisively takes the score to 68. The half concludes with The Black ‘n’ Blue Belles ahead by just 7 points.

Second half got underway with a seemingly unstoppable Shortstop racking up an 18 point jam against FaunaCat. FaunaCat had been showing some impressive footwork all game but struggled to break through the strong Blue Belle defense. How do you respond to such an assault? You send Bambi von Smash’er to the line. The 2nd jam saw Bambi carving up the track and scoring an epic 19 points for the Black Hearts over the full 2 minutes. Next, jammers Roulette Rouge and Shortstop set a fast pace, and after a quick jam an official time out was called. This game had taken on an intense atmosphere and the crowd loved every nerve wracking second.

Bohemeth and Roulette Rouge continued to jam imposingly over the second half, whilst the Black Hearts were looking stronger in defense. Belle E. Up matched King Cam with the big hits. They were 8 points down when Bambi beat Shortstop out of the pack and added a quick 4 points. This final was going to be close and I’m not sure anyone could pick who was going to take the win with 20 minutes to go. The score was Blue Belles 98 to Black Hearts 93. The sin bin was still seeing plenty of action from both sides and the fact that this bout had been such a physical game was starting to take its toll. Valhanah’s trip to the bin left the Black Hearts unopposed and a quick jammer swap saw FaunaCat finish the jam. The Red Bellied Black Hearts called a time out with 14mins left.

At this point the crowd found they couldn’t contain themselves, and a Mexican wave started up! The crowd continued to go crazy as the Black Hearts took the lead for the first time. The final minutes of this amazing bout were worthy of the hype. The lead kept switching and who could call it. In the end it was a Red Bellied Black Hearts victory, final score 138 – 134. This match displayed both teams’ passion and determination, and left the crowd mightily impressed.

Written by Kylie Hughes

Photos by Ben Southall

 

Surly Griffins pounce on hard working Brindabelters for 3rd place playoff

The CRDL 2011 season final double header promised to be epic, but as the crowds started rolling through the door at the AIS Arena not even the keenest fans decked out in their teams colours could have predicted the phenomenal display of pure derby awesomeness that was to come. This was SKATE-ICUS and the battle for 3rd place was about to begin.

The Brindabelters looked in fine form as they took to the track but the scene was set as the Surly Griffins rolled out to the Imperial March (think Darth Vader on skates) complete with hooded robes. They asked “Are you all ready for this?” and without a doubt the crowd was. The Belters responded by sending Captain Shaggle Frock to the jam line, who beat Rainbow Spite through the pack and took the first 4 points of the game. Griffin Annethrax was first to be sent to the sin bin and the early jams indicated this was going to be a tough bout for both teams. Belter Ova Bearing found herself taking a trip to the bin after clocking up a forth minor in jam number 3. This set up the next as a power jam, allowing Amykazeee to take the Surly Griffins to a 15 – 6 lead.  Shaggle Frock showed why she is a crowd favourite by easily breaking through the pack, but only managed to score 1 point mainly thanks to Aunty Aggro’s impressive blocking for the Griffs.  The Griffins were looking strong and took every advantage to build on their score. The sin bin was getting a workout from both teams with Ginger Nutcase, Strawberry Punch, Rainbow Spite and Domino Effect all taking a seat for penalties during the next few jams.

The crowd approved overwhelmingly when seasoned Griff Dr Hell took out Peachy Keen with a sneaky hip check during Jam 11. Rainbow Spite was jamming for the Griffins, who were dominating this jam. With her lightning-quick passes through the pack saw the score extend to a 37 point difference and with 13 minutes left in this first half a time out was called by the Brindabelters. The score was 56-19 for the Surly Griffins. But to write the Brindabelters off at this point would have been premature. Some big hits from the Belters, complements of Dalai Slam’er, kept the opposing jammer from scoring further points, and standout jammers Freudian Slit and Shaggle Frock took 4 points apiece in the following two jams. By jam 16 the Brindabelters were looking strong and their blockers were dominating the pack. Freudian Slit displayed some impressive footwork and speed as she added another 4 points to the score which now stood at 61 – 34.

Rainbow Spite took back control next jam, as opposing jammer Ova Bearing struggled to get through an impenetrable Griffin pack. After some impressive defensive blocking Aunty Aggro took a trip to the sin bin with six minutes left in this action packed first half. The Brindabelters made good use of a no pack start next jam to get Shaggle Frock through and scoring points quickly, but Dr Hell was chasing close behind. Jam 19 saw Freudian Slit as lead jammer and she had the crowd behind her. There were some big hits in the pack as Aunty Aggro did what she does best, but this jam was a game changer with the Belters controlling the speed and clearing the path for Freudian to bring the score to a 14-point gap. The Brindbelters were on the warpath, but the Griffins were also hungry for the win and sent Amykazeee to the line who skated a fantastic jam and earned her team an impressive 12 points. Shaggle Frock worked hard to get through the mighty Griffin wall but could only respond with 4 points. With time for one last jam in the first half, Freudian Slit showed great agility to take the lead but Ginger Nutcase was in hot pursuit, and both teams added to the scoreboard, which at halftime read 81-58 to the Surly Griffins.

Amykazeee and Freudian Slit went head to head at the start of the second half. The Brindabelters did a great job at controlling the pack but some fantastic blocking from Dr Hell saw Amykazeee through. Both teams were looking strong in the first few jams with the score 90 – 66 going into jam 26. Dr Hell was set to battle it out with Shaggle Frock and the Surlys weren’t making it easy, but Shaggle got in front comfortably and scored 8 points before calling off the jam. The next jam saw the Griffin’s jammer Ginger Nutcase sent to the bin, but she wasn’t lonely with most of the Griffin pack joining her.  At one point Chitty Chitty Bam Slam was the only green and white skater on the track and Freudian Slit used this to her full advantage. At the end of this chaotic jam the score was 90 – 82. The crowd were going crazy as Shaggle easily took on the 2-skater Griffin pack in the next jam and the game was suddenly brought to a 2 point difference. This bout had become so intense an official time out was required as the refs cleaned the track. It might have been water, but anyone who was there will swear they were actually mopping blood and sweat.

The game continued to awe with big hits from both teams and the sin bin seeing plenty of action with Peachy Keen, Strawberry Punch and Lethal Lashes all taking a seat at one point. With 12 minutes to go Ova Bearing, frustrated by an impenetrable wall of Griffins, passed the star jammer helmet cover to Shaggle Frock who went on to take the score to a 3 point difference.  Just when it looked like the Brindabelters might take the lead Annethrax stepped up for the Griffins, and, aided by some great assists and a crowd pleasing whip, she extended the Surly’s lead to 119 – 106. The Griffins continued to work hard and set a speedy pace as they tried to stop Shaggle but the Belters were unrelenting in their chase. With 5 minutes left Ginger Nutcase was slammed and went down. It looked nasty but she soon recovered. Spurred on by the crowds chanting, Freudian Slit proved herself again as a standout jammer for the Brindabelters. She called off the jam decisively with the score 127 – 123 Griffins way. With the clock ticking down the Griffins pack was formidable. Amykazeee pushed their lead out to 15 points as Shaggle became the target for some Surly Griffin rage. It was fitting that the last jam of the game belonged to Shaggle as she took lead position with a mighty roar from the supporters. She skated hard to take 7 points, but Amykazeee also claimed 4 points for the Griffins and the game was done. Final score Surly Griffins 142 to The Brindabelters 130. Congratulations to the Griffins, claiming 3rd place for the 2011 CRDL season.

Written by Kylie Hughes

Photos by Ben Southall