Skate Odyssey: Gent Holds Off Lincolnshire, 281-157

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GENT, BELGIUM–In the second play-in game, the experienced tenth-seeded Lincolnshire Bombers faced the Track Queens surprise package Gent Go-Go Roller Girls. While Lincolnshire did race into a significant early lead, it was the hosts who finished comfortable 281-157 winners.

A low block call on Gent star jammer Pussypit within seconds of the bout starting let Lil Cherry Kick’her blast Lincolnshire into an early lead. She made it 20-0, drew penalties from the Gent pack, and called it before Pussypit’s penalty was done. Mills threw up a 4-0 unopposed next jam.

Solid jammer defense from Kelly Kaos combined with smart hits from Fish and Musthang Sally in the Lincolnshire pack frsutrated Olga Volt into the box. Another 20-0 powerjam made the lead 44-0 before Mills picked up a deeply unfortunate cut as she spun off-balance across the apex and fell just after returning inbounds.

However Volt was boxed after 15 points as the jam expired, and Mills threw up a few as she returned at the start of the next jam before calling it with Volt still in the box. Kicker made it 62-15 before hitting the box on a backblock as she tried to steal the last few points with Volt on her tail. That let Volt in for 20.

From the next jam Gent started to get a run of lead jam calls, and it became Lincolnshire’s turn to get burned by penalty trouble. It was Martacus who gave Gent the lead as Mills watched from the box with the star for Lincolnshire courtesy of a fantastic inside-line spin as Fish in the Lincs pack attempted to use one of Gent’s to cannon her out of bounds.

Another powerjam at the midway point of the half let Guts’n’Glory make it 83-64 in Gent’s favour with some hard-hitting offense clearing a path for her. 29 points for Martacus followed as she finished off the powerjam as Gent found themselves anchored on 64 points with both teams playing a high-speed, hard-hitting crowd-pleasing game.

Kissy put up 4 to move the Lincs score up for the first time since their initial run–but a late call meant that jam finished 4-4. Gent swiftly re-asserted their dominance. Two jams later Kissy took advantage of a major forearm on Fallwaffal to finally make a dent in the growing Gent lead–she called it with Gent leading 128-88 with 6:11 left in the period.

Both teams cleaned up their penalty issues in the closing minutes of the half, and the full packs suited the Bombers more as they nickel-and-dimed their way back up until jam 19 when Sandra Buttblock, Fallwafal and Miss Miyagi held Kelly Kaos for 90 seconds, letting Pussypit make it 152-96 with just enough time in the period for one more jam as she was forced into the call as Synyster Motives raced out the box and tore a massive hole in the Gent wall for Kaos to sail through. A 4-0 for Windsor finished off the half, with the hosts holding a significant but not insurmountable 52-point lead.

Martacus slalomed inside and out to get out for lead as Fallwafal and Miss Miyagi tag-teamed Kissy–and then had another powerjam to try and put the game beyond Lincs at the first opportunity. It was 172-100 when Martacus appeared to cut her way to the box as Kissy was released–but the jam expired before any more points could go up on the board. Martacus was released from the box during an OTO as crew Head Ref Cherry Fury overruled the track cut call.

That gap turned out to be enough for Gent–they switched into time-management mode from the very next jam and focussed on maintaining their lead rather than extending it very much. A succession of high-speed low-scoring jams did favour Gent slightly as the clock ticked down and the lead passed 100 points.

Mills and Kathital punishment brought the game back within 100 points after a late low block call on Martacus–but with 10:27 to go and the scoreboard reading 218-122 in Gent’s favour, the upset win was looking to be increasingly out of Lincolnshire’s reach.

When Kaos was boxed on a low block next time out Olga Volt looked to have put the tin lid on things with a 20-0 jam. Mills had other ideas when she took advantage of a major cut on Fallwafal and a full Gent box to put up a 20-0 of her own before calling it with Fallwafal still box and Guts’n’Glory the only Gent blocker on the track. Synster Motives laid hits on Fallwafal when she emerged from the box and then on the entire Gent pack once Fallwafal was free to see the deficit shrink further.

But that salvo was the last significant action of the game for Lincs. A cut call on Kaos in the penultimate jam let Martacus put a more positive gloss on the score as Synyster fouled out before the indomitable Pussypit closed the bout out. She called it as time expired, with Gent winning 281-157.

Gent will face second seeds Bear City at 8.15pm tonight; Lincolnshire progress to the consolation round tomorrow.

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