I watched a fantastic game of roller derby on Saturday night! I was in Sydney at the Hordern for Roller Wars – Canberra’s Vice City Rollers v’s the Sydney Assassins match, and although running late, the main event was worth the wait… This is a blow by blow for all you awesome derby dweebs, so just like a jam with no lead jammer, this read will take a full 2 minutes of your time.
Captain Ratz and Great Bolz o Fire set Sydney up with an early lead, putting 14 points on the board in the first two jams. Both Canberra and Sydney grabbed points in groups of 4 for the next few jams, but Sydney – bolstered by their home crowd and early success – assumed an air of confidence. Sydney had beaten Canberra twice before just 3 weeks ago at the East Coast Smack Down in Wollongong. These losses set Canberra up as bout underdogs, and early play justified this status. Sydney settled in to grow their lead.
Everything changed in the 8th jam. Vice City team captain, Bambi von Smasher, took her place along with Sydney’s Captain Ratz at the jammer line. On the whistle, both jammers shot off the line and surged into the pack, surfacing neck and neck, with Bambi only just grabbing lead status. Both jammers sprinted around the track determined to score first, and both jammers arrived at the back of the pack at the mouth of the second corner. Bambi had perhaps a nanosecond’s lead. Seeing her opportunity, and acting without hesitation, Bambi shot to the inside line and leapt (yes, literally jumped through the air!), cleanly clearing the entire pack mid-air and calling the jam off as she landed smoothly in front of the pack. Captain Ratz, still at the back of the pack, hadn’t managed to grab a single point. It was the most rock star move I’ve ever seen. Canberra and Sydney supporters alike went wild. Canberra rejoiced and saw fear in their Assassin’s eyes. It was game on.
The rest of the first half saw lots of aggressive and low scoring fast jams. Thanks to Canberra’s renewed confidence, Sydney had to fight hard to keep their lead, and they did just that with focused jammers and mighty walls of three blockers at the front of the pack. Great team work saw Sydney holding a 12 point lead at half time.
Whatever our Vice City Rollers did in the change room at half time worked because the second half saw Canberra hit the track energised and hungry for points. First jam out Bambi lined up against Sydney’s Captain Ratz again, and even with Canberra blockers Roulette Rouge and Aunty Aggro in the bin, Bambi scored a massive 13 points. Canberra was in the zone. By the second jam they had evened the scores. Team work is a beautiful thing and the combination of jamming by Shortstop, assistance by Bambi, and a perfectly timed wall surge by our blocking crew, saw Canberra take a 5 point lead in the third jam of the second half. Vice City was officially on fire.
The rest of the bout was a thrill to watch. Canberra held the lead for another 3 jams before Sydney stole it back. Two jams later Canberra led again. Sydney jammers became aggressive blockers, literally turning around on the track in an attempt to detain Cassatrophic, Shortstop and Shaggle Frock. Our blockers focused on breaking Sydney walls, with Ova Bearing, Dee Nature and Fauna Cat delivering stand out plays. Defensive walls by Dr Hell, King Cam, Amykazee and Belle E. Up were impressively strong. Sydney’s Trippy Longstocking lined up to jam and worked the crowd. Players from both teams took hard hits and tumbled off the track and into the cheering suicide line.
With 1.12mins left on the clock, and time for one more jam, both teams were locked at 105 apiece. In a nail biting finish Sydney’s Winnie Bruise managed to steal lead jammer status and assure Assassin glory thanks to a quick 4 points amid frenzied cheering from the home crowd.
This was an amazing bout that saw outstanding performances by both teams. Another outstanding performance on the night, and one well worth mentioning, was the fantastic MCing by Canberra’s The Cleaver. Her calm confidence, humour, timing, knowledge of the game, and witty retorts made her commentary a highlight!
Canberra and Sydney roller girls will meet again soon – next time in Canberra (!!) and I can’t wait to see both teams fight it out for victory on our home turf!