by Jim Almy
They were a little sloppy at first, those mostly 13 to 15 year olds who took the track in the opening bout last Saturday, Nov. 15, at the Rats Nest for the appropriately named Debutante Brawl.
Cotillion Crashers Coach Annie Warhead explained later that it was early in the season for both teams, that their skills would improve the more they skated, and that gaps in play and the number of penalty whistles were likely the results of the Crashers and their opponents, the Southern Belle Ringers, overcompensating, trying too hard.
Jo the Pummeler was a wall for the Southern Belle Ringers, stopping Cotillion Crashers jammer Assalting Caramel dead on the track. Deathena moved in to help. Photo by Danny Ngan.
It was also the first contact bout for many on each team. That showed early, went away quickly as skaters got back up after receiving their first solid block ever, shook the surprise off, realized that it really didn’t hurt that much, and marked the number of their attacker for future pay back.
The final score, 257-204 in favor of the Crashers, could have stood for the Belle Ringers as easily but for a few missed blocks and opportunistic jams.
Kick N. Vixen (357) scored the first points of the bout when she broke through the pack in jam one, taking less than a quarter lap to leave nine skaters behind her and coming up on their tail while the were mostly still looking ahead to find her. That was an easy five but points got harder to come by as the bout progressed.
After three jams the Crashers held a 16-15 lead, ten Belle Ringer points coming after Threatening Thunder (15) hopped and wove her way through both lines to make two five point passes.
Penalties were piling up for both teams from the first jam. Mostly jammers called for cutting the track or back blocking, which often looked more like just leaning against the body in front of them to maintain balance. The Belle Ringers had 42 for the bout, the Crashers had 33. Playing many jams short one or two skaters called on other team members to step up, fill the void.
Beginning jam five at a 3-5 disadvantage Queen of Harm (21) spent a lot of sternum to sternum time stepping up against Belle Ringers jammer Bella D. Brawl (20), helping the Crashers hold her to eight points despite the Ringers blocking edge. There was no chest thumping between Crashers jammer Assalting Caramel (60) and the last Belle Ringer obstacle she had pass, Jo the Pummeler (123). Caramel twice blew past Jo while she was still looking for her pipe wrench.
No collision, no body slams. Assalting Caramel faked left, jigged right and deftly passed the block, adding another point to her team’s total. Photo by Danny Ngan.
The teams continued to skate close, with the margin favoring the Belle Ringers through jam eleven. Along the way Crashers jammer Miss Americrusher (722) tallied seven following the lane opening blocks of I Stole Your Cookie (6) and Ash Smash’Em (71). Assalting Caramel added 13 and Kink N. Vixen (357) came out of the penalty box to score ten in jam ten, closing the margin to 62-57. The Belle Ringers maintained their lead through the efforts of Bella D. Brawl, who blew through space opening blocks by Maximum Glitter (26) on her way to eight points and Shake N. Break(22), who, using only three steps in jam ten to burst out of the pack, made two passes for ten points.
It was a 20 point lead for the Belle Ringers at the half, 121-101. A big part of that was put together by Bella D. Brawl and fellow Ringers jammer Still Got Skates (49). In two jams one had 18 and one had 21 following some bone-jaring line work by Deathena (1000), Jo the Pummeler and Wheels of Mass Destruction (777).
The second half was a different bout. The Crashers made up that twenty point deficit outscoring the Belle Ringers 156-83 on their way to the win. It wasn’t so much that Crashers jammers were having huge jams as that their lines were muffling the Belle Ringers attack. The Belle Ringers were held to four or fewer points in 18 of the 23 second half jams. Their bright spot in that second half slog came in jam nine when Maximum Glitter, lead by Bearing the Pain (007) and Threatening Thunder, muscled her way through four passes, collecting 19 points.
It probably didn’t help the Belle Ringers in the second frame that Ash Smash’Em, who joined the Crashers from a banked track league, had found her flat-track legs and was beginning to exert her solid frame against the Belle Ringers blockers. She jammed for 46 points over the final 30 minutes, maybe highlighted most by a power jam in favor of the Crashers 5-3 in jam 14. Belle Ringers blockers Frida Klobber (471) and Face Hugger (135) tried mightily to prevent Ash Smash’Em from using them for pin ball cushions. They held her to ten points.
Cotillion Crashers Coach Annie Warhead seems to have a disagreement with the officiating crew. 75 penalties were called in the bout between the two junior teams. Photo by Danny Ngan.
The Cotillion Crashers selected Belle Ringers Shake ‘N Break as the Most Valuable Player they skated against. For the Southern Belle Ringers it was Crashers skater Ash Smash’Em.
Crashers Coach Annie Warhead said that all of her players skated a great bout. She pointed out Lil’ Warhead (81), I Stole Your Cookie, Kick N. Vixen and Ash Smash’Em as having particularly outstanding games.