With the 2014 Heartland Series reaching its nail-biting climax, the Norfolk Brawds took time out from their busy training schedule to put on one of our hugely popular home games at the UEA Sportspark. The people of Norfolk lined the bleachers for ‘Mutiny on the Bouty’ to watch 3 games of Roller Derby with the Brawds’ All Stars taking on Sheffield Steel Roller Girls' formidable Crucibelles in the headline game. When the final whistle sounded, the Brawds emerged victorious 229 – 98 but, the game was not all plain sailing.
Given the impressive performances of our newly signed off skaters during the midday ‘cherry popper’ it’s no wonder the All Stars got off to a rip-roaring start. With mere seconds on the jam clock, Brawds’ jammer Penny Slain, recently back from a two month injury lay-off, burst through the Crucibelles’ pack to be the game’s inaugural lead jammer. Buoyed on by the bell-ringing, foot-stomping home crowd the Brawds’ jammers racked up fifty unanswered points with the help of their seemingly impenetrable walls of blockers. With Teki-Bomb, Kelly KaPOWski, Slammin’ Siren, and SinSarahty neutralising every Crucibelle’s advance, it was left to the likes of Philthy Delphia and Colletteral Damage to do what comes naturally to them and put points on the board.
However, as the half progressed, the Crucibelles began to show their ‘steel’ and slowly began to get a foothold in the game. Despite disciplined defensive work from Brawds’ blockers Yours Truly and Short Circuit, the Crucibelles began to slowly claw back points one jam at a time, thanks in part to the brave and determined manoeuvers of ‘belle Claire D Area. As the two teams exchanged points and blows, Brawd Cruel Runnings followed up last months impressive jammer debut with another solid display of seemingly implausible balance and the kind of brute force that opposing jammers have come to dread. By the half time whistle the two teams were separated only by the points the Brawds had scored early on in the half and thus the second half was poised to be a battle the likes of which Nelson himself would be proud.
It was clear from the outset of the second half that the Crucibelles’ meant business. The Brawds once again came out strong looking to hit the ground rolling but this time they found the Crucibelle’s wall ready and waiting. Big hits from Miss C Elliot and My Lethal Pony left the Brawds in little doubt they had a game on their hands. With the momentum beginning to swing towards the visitors the Brawds bench unleashed a series of power line-ups in order to turn the tide back in their favour. The early jams replicated the success of the first 15 minutes with the Brawds picking up a smattering of points after a number of lucrative assists by blocker, Zippy. Slowly and surely the main jammer rotation of Damage, Philthy, Slain and Cruel found the gaps in the ‘belles’ defence and the soul destroying, energy sapping blocks from NoTorious, Slim Slainey, Dirty Deegs and co. began to erode the resolve of the opposition. This coupled with the imposing furore of the home crowd’s support meant that by the time the bout clock hit zero, the Brawds had doubled their first half bounty and limited the Crucibelles to a modest haul of 29.
All this means that the Norfolk Brawds head into their final Heartlands bout against Hell’s Belles (Hertfordshire) riding the wave of two consecutive victories. With a play-off qualification now sadly a mathematical impossibility the Brawds will be skating hard to secure their third place in the table and into the off season with all the confidence of a team on the up.
Photos courtesy of Near the Coast