The air crisp and clean from the spring rains, the sports hall fills. The excitement in the air is palpable–almost thick enough to cut through. Teams from all over Finland gather for the Best Hits II event, a closed tournament for the C and B division teams. The mood is strong and positive–rightfully so, as the day’s progression would show what the girls of HRD’s C-cassette, KRR’s Piritorin Ässät, Tampere’s Howlin Rolls and Kouvola’s Rock n Rollers B are really made of.
The first game sees C-cassette vs. Piritorin Ässät, and what a game! Audience members gasp and hiccup as the scoreboard teasingly changes every two minutes. The first period found the two teams in a deadlock tie 34-34. By half-time, C-cassette takes the lead 67-53. Piritorin Ässät leaped into action, taking a sudden lead of 117-112 with one minute of gameplay! Tensions are high; it could be anybody’s game. One minute left and with gusto C-cassette win the game in the last jam with a final score of 121-117! This close victory sets the morale even higher and with a team roster compiled of older and brand-new skaters, the teamwork within C-cassette is absolutely commendable. The excitement doesn’t end there though!
In the second game, Tampere Howlin’ Rolls met Kouvola Rock n Rollers B. These two teams, skating neck-in-neck keep up the nail-biting suspense as their scores remain incredibly close. Finally, Tampere wins by a meager two points in the last jam, as the final scoreboard shows 123-121. Undoubtedly, the obvious becomes apparent: all the teams are filled with highly skilled, ruthless skaters, but nevertheless, Kouvola Rock n Rollers B played with heart and gusto, bringing controlled aggression and passion to the track with fantastically energetic offense, cut down only due to Tampere’s great blocking and team effort. Both teams played phenomenally!
In the next game KRR Piritorin Ässät challenged Kouvola Rock n Rollers B, still fully charged from the previous game. Kouvola plays hard, with heart and soul, and wins the match with a score of 139-82.
Best Hits Vol II by Mitsu-Ho from Tampere Howlin Rolls
Tampere, now well rested and pumped up from last game’s victory is about to challenge HRD’s C-cassette. Both teams are ready and enter the track with high morale and excitement. This is the final game of the tournament and will determine who takes the gold. Both teams played tough, but it is ultimately the Tampere Howlin’ Rolls who dominates with a final score of 274-101.
It was a game well-played, and though C-cassette did not win the gold, the skaters’ spirits remain high as the love of roller derby grows, leaving the Best Hits II tournament a brilliant experience both for audience and skaters.
Congratulations to Tampere Howlin’ Rolls for their second golden Best Hits trophy, and see you next year!
Text by Danielle Gargour
Photos by Marko Niemelä