It’s not often we get to host teams from far-off places, and so Roller Derby Madrid’s ‘Las Gatas’ versus Croydon’s Vice Squad was set to be an extremely exciting game. But first, we thought we’d give Madrid a real taste of Croydon hospitality – at a questionable bar (where a fight broke out before 9pm) for lots of takeaway pizza. We also treated them to the ultra-British delicacy, “hotdogs at Apocalex’s house” – whereupon Herbie tried to learn their derby secrets by plying them with whiskey, but alas they wouldn’t tell, and even if they did, Herbie doesn’t speak Spanish. That’s true athletic preparation there. We learned that from Bonnie Thunders.
Despite not technically being an open-door game, there was a big crowd of supporters for both sides. Croydon had no idea what to expect from Madrid, and vice versa. The first whistle went and the unflappable Chunder Woman dashed out the front leaving Monikraken stuck against a formidable Vice wall, but she broke through and Chunder was forced to call it off at CRD 4-3 RDM. There was no room for unicorns and cupcakes in this bout – it was going to be tough.
Blazing Nympherno and Captain Cardinal Sim got lead over the Madrid jammers, with Vice Squad’s Okami Kaze making short work of the opposition’s walls with some STERLING offensive blocking. By the time the Madrid jammer thought she’d finally broken out Okami was there, getting ready for Christmas by making mincemeat of her. DING DONG MERRILY ON HIGH.
Croydon were confidently in the lead, but they’d overlooked Madrid’s Eve’il X – a fast, brutal little jammer who casually jumped a huge apex more than once in the same jam. The refs were furiously counting on their fingers trying to keep up with her points, and a couple of heart-racing jams later the score stood at 17-23 – the cats had taken the lead. It only got worse for Croydon – Anna Maul was sent to the box, Ikaandescente snuck in another powerjam for Madrid, and even after the opposing jammer’s kneepad-cap (not knee-cap) flew off and went clattering to the floor, the score stood at 17-45. Las Gatas were incredibly skilled skaters with fantastic offence. Vice needed a secret weapon.
That secret weapon came in the form of its newest seaside import, Conspicuous Banger, who donned the star and prepared to go fishin’. The whistle blew and she shot through the pack like a greased vole, line-dancing her way past a wall of blockers twice her size, and racked up some significant numbers for her new team – her Kevin Bacon-inspired footwork brought the score up to 30-52. It was a little nudge upwards, but a nudge just the same. One more blistering power jam to Dot Cottonmouth, and the half-time score stood at CRD 68 – 74 RDM. Vice Squad were determined to claw it back from those fast ‘n’ furious felines.
After an official review, things began to get a bit hairy for Madrid. Vice Squad sent out their Captain, Cardinal Sim, to jam, and the combination of her super-smart jammer instincts and Okami Kaze’s thundering offence was too much for Madrid. A few jams on, and they could only watch as tiny powerhouse Sugar Hits’ ensuing power-jam began to well and truly close the gap. Finally, in a flurry of gold sequins and with a seemingly nonchalant facial expression, Chunder Woman nudged those points over and into the lead. Croydon try to make a point of never looking at the scores when they’re playing, but I’m pretty certain coach Herbie LiCious’s reaction to the lead change was very similar to Buddy the Elf hearing that Santa was in the building.
CRD 103-94 Madrid. Oh yes. It was on. Like Donkey Kong.
Dot Cottonmouth took the lead after some Spanish defence went badly wrong and they ended up blocking their own jammer. Madrid weren’t going to take this lying down, though, and began to use those horrible dynamic four-walls that we all know and dread; Cardinal Sim was trying to get past a nightmarish carousel of blockers. Brave Sim was prepared, though – she passed the star to Carm.
Ants can lift up to 5000 times their own bodyweight. They’re also small and fast and it hurts when they bite you. With this in mind, Carm – part ant, part T1000 – casually popped that score up to 132 – 94 like it weren’t no thing.
Both sides were beginning to haemorrhage penalties as the game grew more and more nail-biting. Super-jammers Eve’il X, Monikraken and Sweet Insannety went on a vengeful scoring spree, hindered by Dot Cottonmouth and Okami Kaze’s brutal two-walls – they were knocked out and taken back, knocked out and taken back, while the jammers jockeyed for position (Banger at one point making good friends with a brick wall.)
Finally, Dot Cottonmouth was up to jam. With inimitable grace and poise, the South London assassin took lead, chomped up a few points for the hell of it, and called the game: CRD 175-141 RDM.
According to Captain Cardinal Sim, Las Gatas were the toughest team Vice Squad had ever faced – the speed, skill and fitness of the Madrid team were incredible, and to top it all off they were all very lovely and fun at the afterparty (which they totally won – Croydon girls can’t keep up when it comes to beer and Chinese food). There’s a rumour of a rematch in sunny Spain next year… fingers for a Mediterranean derby holiday please. Thanks for an amazing day Las Gatas! We’ll see you again soon!
CROYDON MVP: Cardinal Sim
CROYDON BEST JAMMER: Conspicuous Banger
CROYDON BEST BLOCKER: Anna Maul
MADRID MVP: Clara DesPistes
MADRID BEST JAMMER: Ilkaandescente
MADRID BEST BLOCKER: Adelita Terrores