Japan and Belgium met yesterday and that bout ended 241-88 in Belgium’s favour. This time, they were fighting for the chance to remain in the tournament; the victor would earn a date with Sweden, while the losers progress to the bar as their cup journey ended. It was clear from the very first jam that the Ninjapan Rollers had learnt a lot from their previous tournament experience.
They trailed throughout, but put together something of a comeback late in the period — however, it came too late to overcome the deficit established in the first three quarters of the bout and was abbreviated when the bout was called off for safety reasons with five minutes to go, as Japan’s side had dwindled to just five skaters. The Belgians’ superior wealth of experience saw them establish a 165-54 halftime lead en route to a 297-132 victory.
Japan picked up the first two lead jammer calls of the night, but weren’t able to put points on the board even with a power jam; Belgium’s Track Vader gave the scoreboard its first workout in jam three with a 15-8 run over a boxed U2.
Bull’Doc had a power jam to stretch that margin to 35-8 — but Zorro snuck back in after a forearm penalty to make a quick initial pass before Bull’Doc called the jam. An official time-out for track repair ensued, freezing the clock at 24:25.
Forearm penalties proved a particular bugbear of the Japan side, with Mayuge-Born-Die landing in the box on that penalty, too — and that stretched Belgium’s margin to 64-8.
U2 picked up a crowd-pleasing lead jammer call — only to get a forearms penalty of his own, leaving MurDuck scoring unopposed. Japan’s blockers were ultimately able to force a track cut penalty on MurDuck and U2 returned to play, leaping the apex to put up a near-immediate grand slam and then another 5 before the jam expired. With 20 minutes to go in the half, Belgium led 76-18. Zorro finished out the power jam but called for 0-0 as MurDuck returned.
Belgium broke the century mark as the clock ticked past 14 minutes and Japan called their first time-out as they trailed 102-22; that turned into an official time-out as Japan’s Bubble received medical attention and was assisted back to the medic’s area.
U2 impressed with some jammer on jammer action in the next jam out, taking 4-0 with a quick apex jump despite Bull’Doc having lead jammer status.
A couple jams later, though, he gave Belgium a power jam with a botched apex jump that resulted in a misconduct penalty; Fantoohm battled a waterfalling Japan defence before ultimately being forced on a cut to free U2. That made it 120-39 with 8 to play.
Another Japan injury stopped the clock with five minutes left in the half; DJ Jack returned to the team bench to receive medical attention.
U2 took 4-2 over a strung-out Belgian pack as his blockers stifled Bull’Doc to keep the game within a hundred points, 146-47; Belgium struck back, though, with a quick 3-0 to erase that gain, and ended the half with a 165-54 lead.
Belgium broke the double century mark nine minutes into the second half at 204-82; they added an easy 30-0 off the back of a power jam when Zorro was boxed on an illegal procedure after successfully calling off the jam while not wearing the helmet cover, which was then stuck to another skater’s elbow pad.
Japan, already skating short, lost captain Umesan to foul-out with 16 minutes left in the period and Belgium leading 255-90. During that official time-out, stream announcers indicated that another injury or foul-out on the now six-deep Japan side would result in a forced forfeit for safety reasons; Argentina’s game earlier today ended under similar circumstances when the side dwindled to just three skaters and they could no longer meet their penalty obligations and field both a jammer and blocker.
U2 picked up a crowd-pleasing lead jam call as Ryo-Chin and Gundam recycled MurDuck; when Jeronimous was sent off in the next jam on a forearms call, Zorro took advantage of the power jam to push Japan past the century mark with a 13-0 run before the Belgian jammer returned. That made it 107-268 with 12 minutes to play.
The Belgian jammer picked up a track cut penalty as U2 leapt the apex on his first scoring pass; he called off the jam for 4-0, despite his blockers signalling him to continue skating. He took the star for the next jam and had tough work on his first scoring pass, ultimately calling it off for 5-0 and then restarting the power jam with Zorro wearing the star a 4-2 pack advantage. He made it 268-125 before ending the jam as Trick or Threat completed his initial pass.
The power jam momentum swung the other way in the next jam, though, as U2 landed in the box on a back block. Track Vader all but erased those gains in the ensuing power jam, adding 20-0 to make it 288-125 with 7 minutes left to play.
Japan called a team time out with five minutes to go and the score standing at 297-132 in Belgium’s favour. That turned into an official time out and then the bout was blown off, with Team Japan deemed unable to safely complete the game. The final score for the abbreviated bout stood at 297-132.
With this win, Belgium progress to face Sweden tomorrow; Japan are eliminated from the tournament.
1 U2 // 110 Show // 113 Gon-Z // 136 Zorro // 18 Gundam // 1929 DJ Jack // 32 ikagesoyaro // 4 Ryo-Chin // 7 Umesan // 99 Bubble // R4 Mayuge-Born-Die
1 Mr Revenge // 101 WimPlash // 1010 Niels on Wheels // 1030 Track Vader // 1101 B.A. Be-Reckless // 1111 Johnson // 24 Fantoohm // 3NT Bull’Doc // 404 JerOminous // 62 MurDuck // 666 Schuma Track // 77 Rocky Ballbearing // 88 Trick 0r Threat // N6T4 Jet Poutre