Skate Odyssey Final: Berlin Squeaks Past Tiger Bay, 152-149

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GENT, BELGIUM–The final game of Skate Odyssey was contested between the second-seeded Berlin Bombshells and many people’s pre-tournament favourites, the third-seeded Tiger Bay Brawlers.

The first half was characterised by Tiger Bay packs fatally loosened by minimal but effective positional offence from Berlin and ended with a 75-point Berlin lead. Tiger Bay dominated second-half proceedings, but fell a heart-breaking 3 points short of a comeback win; Berlin took the Skate Odyssey trophy 152-149.

Kid Block and Master Blaster lined up to open the bout with both packs crowded in front of the jammer line, with large sections of the crowd loudly cheering on both teams.

Titty Twista recycled Block as Blaster put up a quick 4-0 for the Berlin Bombshells before Billie Pistol got Tiger Bay on the board with a 3-1 jam. Berlin continued to use the jam-line bench to their advantage as they held Boba Fettish at the back from the start of jam 3–and when the bout’s first major forearm call came on Fettish, Master Blaster put up 28 without reply to give Berlin the early lead.

A major cut on Tiger Bay jammer Chant Hell in jam four let Tequila Knockout put up 10 before freezing Hell in the box as she stood. Blaster put up a 4-0 next time out before the call was forced by a speeding Hell–but that left Berlin with a commanding 47-3 lead.

After three more scoreless jams, Tiger Bay switched to pivot line starts–but again Blaster found two holes for two passes in short order to put up four more for Berlin. A 2-1 jam loss for Hell against Resident Shevil did at least move Tiger Bay off the 3-point mark they’d been held on for ten minutes–and in the next jam they doubled their total with their first 4-0 of the bout courtesy of an apex jump past the pack from Kid Block.

Billie Pistol was frustrated into a star pass next time out as Titty Twista held her at the back with Tequila Knockout scoring. Berlin led 62-8 at the halfway point of the period before Jolly Pop took the star for the first time for the Brawlers–but she too failed to penetrate Berlin’s defences in good time and Shevil posted a 2-0.

A 9-0 for Blaster marked Bloxie Blackout’s first turn with the star as Tiger Bay searched for a winning combination–but it was the familiar face of Kid Block who again broke the scoring drought with a 4-0 over Resident Shevil in the next jam.

A run of hit-and-quit jams extended the Berlin lead bit-by-bit, though the occasional jam win for Tiger Bay gave the large orange-swathed section of the crowd reason for some cheer. A cut major on Billie Pistol in the final five minutes of the half let Shevil and Blaster add another sizable chunk to the Berlin lead and take the Germans past the century mark. That left Tiger Bay in a 110-15 hole with under two minutes left in the half. A low block on Knockout in the final jam let Block more than double the Brawler’s half-time score before calling it with Knockout standing and the scoreboard reading 110-35.

Block opened the second half the way she finished the first with a 7-0 jam. A 3-2 pack advantage for Hell in jam two let her burst out for lead and grab four easy points to make it 110-49 with less than two minutes gone. A 2-0 for Blaster ended Tiger Bay’s 34-0 run before a 4-0 for Knockout looked to settle the second half into the pattern of the first as Pistol was again tormented by Titty Twista.

Fettish had other ideas as she put up a 4-0 to match Knockout’s as the Tiger Bay pack found some much needed cohesion around Blaster. A cut for Knockout off the jam line three later gave Block a powerjam opportunity which she squandered after being penalised for use of her elbows. Knockout just got the better of the subsequent two-minute jam as Lizzy Slaughter and Foxy Fuhrer gave Block trouble in the pack.

With ten minutes gone in the second half Berlin led 131-70. Ten unanswered points across four jams for Berlin set up a 2:1 points advantage for Berlin before Blaster and Block shared a 4-3 jam.

Two 4-0 jams for Tiger Bay were followed by a cut major on Blaster, which let Bloxie in for a 10-0 before freezing Blaster in the box and letting Hell finish off the powerjam. Nine more followed for Hell to make it 145-100 with 10:08 left on a clock frozen by a Berlin time-out.

Blaster sent herself back out straight away–and cut her way straight back to the box. Block powered through for 14 before calling it with Blaster still seated in the box. An unopposed lead for Fettish let her reduce the gap to 27. Another 4-2 pack advantage for Tiger Bay gifted Block lead and another 4-0 jam.

A lead call for Blaster briefly silenced the raucous arena–and she ran her 4-0 for as long as she could before Bloxie forced the call with 6 minutes left. Shevil hit Hell to the infield next time out to burn more clock but then found herself stuck behind a Tiger Bay four-wall. Hell put up four to leave Berlin 23 ahead with under four minutes left as she burst through the middle of a Berlin wall.

Blaster picked up another cut as the clock ticked down with Bloxie scoring–and she made the lead 11 with the clock stopped on 2:10 for an official time-out. Blaster was still seated in the box along with two Berlin blockers. Black Booty was sprung from the box when a low block penalty was overruled, clearing Tiger Bay’s half of the box and giving them a 5-2 advantage on the track. Block grabbed five and called it with Blaster standing. The gap was 6 points; 1:26 remained.

The Tiger Bay pack held Blaster, but Heavy Rotation forced the call after 3 points from Hell halved the deficit. With 28 seconds left, a Tiger Bay time-out forced a final jam.

The jam started five-on-five; inevitably it was contested by the team’s respective captains: Kid Block and Master Blaster. Tiger Bay took the back, holding the jammer line. The comeback wasn’t to be though–Master Blaster burst through for lead. She didn’t engage with the Tiger Bay wall, and Kid Block couldn’t catch her before the period clock expired and she called it.

Berlin finished 152-149 winners to take the championship, consigning Tiger Bay to second place and silencing some of their pre-tournament critics.

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