Monday, September 26, 2011

Newcastle Dockyard Dames vs Adeladies bout review

After seeing the Fort Smashleys defeat the Harbour Hellcats the week before in their intraleague bout, it was time to head up to Newcastle again to watch Newcastle's Dockyard Dames take on the Adeladies. This time round my team mate Lauren came with me. She'd never seen either team bout before, I've seen Newcastle bout before but not the Adeladies. I knew Newcastle were good but I heard the Adeladies were pretty good too so I hoping for a good bout and oh boy was it that and more.

There was a mini bout before the main bout. It was NRDL's Star Riots which was their B-team take on CCRG's The Valkyries. I'd never seen CCRG bout before but I recognised  a lot of the players from the Riots from the bout the week before. It started off fairly evenly in the first few jams then the Star Riots really ran riot (pardon the pun). The Valkyries started clawing back the deficit in the second half but it was too little too late as the Star Riots skated away 102 - 27 victors. I had Suzy Pow sitting in front of me for most of the bout so it was good to pick up on some more rules listening to her. I was really impressed by Newcastle's captain Broken Arrow. She was absolutely amazing that night. Not only was she a beast of a blocker she was also organising her pack really well when she was on the track. There must be something in the water up in Newcastle, they breed blockers that amaze and scare the hell out of me at the same time :) Special mention has to go to CCRG's Kiki Kick Arse Chaos she was sneaking sips of beer when she could, you've gotta love derby :D

By the time the skaters came out for their warm up the place was already buzzing. There were people there at a bout for the first time, the regulars and lots of skaters from other leagues. It was a great turn out. The warm up ranged from just skating to practising moves and added to the excitement of waiting for the whistle to start the bout.

The first few jams started off fairly tame as both sides appeared to be sizing each other out. Then the bout exploded into life when Suzy Pow and Adelaide's Kit Cat Krunch lined up on the jammer line. Adelaide's defence was a brick wall on wheels, whenever Suzy tried getting passed she more often than not fell from the heavy hits she received. I think Adelaide did their homework on Suzy especially GoGo Fiasco who gave Suzy a torrid time. Kit Cat on the other hand was killing it and managed to score a 18 - 0 jam to give Adelaide an early 22 - 3 lead. That was also the last jam that I saw Suzy jam, no idea if it was a tactical decision but it suprised me a little since I'm used to seeing her as jammer in bouts. 

Newcastle weren't going to take this lying down, DangeRass picked up a 7-0 jam over Coconut Rough. Godjilla played a smart jam using various tactics to help DangeRass out and she was leading from the front of the pack and did so for a quite a few of the first few jams. I'm not sure how often she plays from the front, most times I've seen her bout she's been a wrecking ball at the back of the pack. 

Defcon Dani had a power jam and the no pack tactics at the start of the jam from her blockers helped her score a 14 - 0 jam which allowed the Dames to hit the lead for the first time with the score at 37 - 32. The crowd were getting behind the Dames but then Kit Cat struck again. With a power jam she scored a 10 - 0 jam. In her next jam she was hitting Hippy Hardarse from the start and causing major havoc as she scored a 7 - 0 jam to take the score out to 49 - 37. In Kit Cat's next jam she smashed Babycakes on her way to scoring a 4 - 0 jam. I don't think anyone forgot Kit Cat that night, she hurt the Dames not just on the track but on the scoreboard too whenever she was jamming.

The Dames fought back with Hippy scoring 12 points in her jam while Adelaide had a blocker and jammer in the penalty box but then she too got sent to the penalty box. Godjilla found herself in the penalty box for the third time in the first half and I was starting to get worried she'd end up getting expelled from the bout for clocking up too many majors.

But Jilla more than made up for it when she got back on the track and absolutely smashed She-Ra, she was not expecting it all. I almost jumped out of my seat, it's great seeing one of your skating idols at their best. Although I hope she hasn't got a thing for opposition players wearing the number 33 because she also hammered Moe Skeeto who wears 33. 33 is my derby number so now I'm a little worried!

The first half ended 63 - 51 to the Adeladies. This bout was absolutely crazy, the jams were played at break neck speed with the blockers skating at a pace you'd expect from jammers. There were hits galore but there was also lots of trips to the penalty box for both sides, one of the more common majors was for cutting the track.

Half time was quite funny and cute. There was a KISS tribute type band performing for the crowd. To my left and the row in front of me there were a few kids who stuck their program out to any skater who went past in the hope of getting an autograph. It just reminds me of Whip It. It's cool to see kids wanting to get skaters autographs. I have to mention Adelaide's Vaderella. I've read and heard about her but never got to see her bout. I know she's a big deal in Aussie roller derby circles and when it was half time she joined in and danced around but when it came to her players warming up before the second half she was all business, getting them to do various drills. I didn't speak to her but there's an air about her that demands respect.

The start to the second half was all Newcastle, starting with Godjilla who smacked out Kit Cat and allowed Babycakes to score a 3 - 2 jam. The Dames went with the tactic of trying to score quick, fast jams to cut back the deficit and it worked with Babycakes, DangeRass, Brigand Strong and Hippy all scoring quick points which allowed the Dames to the hit the lead again 78 - 76.

Hippy was getting nice and low and weaving through the pack with her great agility. For me the unsung hero for Newcastle was Dino La Rouge, she was playing like a pivot at the front of the pack and more often than not stopped the Adelaide jammers from getting through. Despite Vaderella calling a time out to try and stop Newcastle's momentum, the Dames were still scoring points with DangeRass scoring a 12 - 0 jam and taking the score out to 103 - 76. By this stage there was no full compliment of blockers and jammers for the jams as both sides kept getting players sent to the penalty box. Both sides looked knackered from the physical encounter, my throat was getting sore from cheering and screaming. 

The bout then turned on its head again. I'm believing that the Dames are going to go on and win it but then the trips to the penalty box started costing them. Adelaide started clawing back with the score going 116 - 102, 116 - 111, 119 - 111, then with 45 seconds left this is the score

Number 298 and Kit Cat are pulling off a miracle and bring Adelaide back into the bout. The crowd is almost in a frenzy and the tension in the air is so thick you can't breathe. It's down to the last jam, both sides have a blocker in the bin when Babycakes lines up for the Dames and Tricksy Belt'em lines up for Adelaide. Babycakes gets lead jammer and gets past a few Adelaide blockers and calls off the jam. We're all celebrating thinking the Dames won when Mal the commentator tells us to hang on because there's some Newcastle players in the penalty box so ghost points apply. Vaderella is holding three fingers up to indicate three points for Adelaide with a smile on her face. After an official time out to check the scoring it's announced by Major Puddles that Adelaide won 122 - 121. It's pandemonium by this stage some people don't know what's going on, some are just stunned that Newcastle went from winning the bout to losing it by a point, and the Adelaide supporters are celebrating like crazy!

That was the most intense and nerve wracking bout I've ever been to, I was completely stuffed by the end of it and I didn't even bout. I can't even imagine how the players felt by the end of it. Watching bouts like these makes me even more determined to get out there. These are the kind of night's I think most derby folk dream about. I caught up with Cass and some of my friend's from WSR at the end of the bout and we all had pretty much the same reaction. I won't be forgetting this night anytime soon. The Dames more than held their own and the Adeladies were absolutely amazing. I'll definately be keeping a look out for them.

I saw the cutest thing just before I left. There was a little girl who was getting autographs from players then she went up to Godjilla and got so shy she almost cried. Jilla went on her knees and gave her an autograph. Don't worry kiddo I know where you're coming from, I wasn't much better when I met Jilla for the first time last month :D

Wobble, wobble :)

Hello all, I know it has been a while since my last regular write up. Time has not been my friend lately plus my never ending injury hasn't helped. I'm back on my skates in fact I've come from training and currently have both my right knee and right arse cheek with ice packs on them after I stacked it on my arse when my wheel got stuck on the track while attempting to do a snow plough. Derby is tough but I've long since discovered that you need to be even tougher if you want to succeed in the sport.

As for this never ending ankle injury saga, I finally had enough and booked an appointment with the physio. According to her my skating technique was causing the tendon that runs from my right foot and up 3/4 of my leg to get fatigued and causing me a shit load of pain only when I was skating. She gave me some strengthening exercises to do on the wobble board and how to strap my ankle and leg before training. I also have the problem that my ankles roll out so I'm putting extra pressure on them. I'm sure when I upgrade my skates to the 122 boot it'll support my ankles a lot better so that'll help too. On Friday Cheya pointed out that I skated with my knees pointed in and that was probably causing the problems. So when we had our freshie hour at training tonight I focussed on skating with my knees pointed out slightly and would you believe it the pain in my tendon stopped. I was so over the moon, I really hope this is the end of this long running injury drama. I hate being restricted, I just want to be able to skate and train like everyone else.

I don't know why but I'm getting good feedback about my blog. My blog tends to follow this pattern - got injured again, blah, blah, I'm pissed off about this latest injury, blah, blah, I'm pissed off I suck at derby and I'm not progressing like everyone else and repeat. It's not like I'm writing about knocking Cherry on her arse at training with an awesome can opener or killing it in scrimmage, all the fun stuff I wish I was able to do by this stage. People seem to like it and it has ended up presenting writing opportunities for me that I never expected. First up I did the review for last weeks Fort Smashley vs Harbour Hellcats bout for Roller Derby Au and for me the biggest praise was finding out that Suzy Pow linked it on the NRDL members page for people to read. Next up Cherry has asked me to do a write up on our league and to update it in the future as more things happen, she's trusted me enough to give me free reign on it which is a massive complement. Roller Derby Au have asked me to do the review for the Smashleys vs Hellcats season decider next month PLUS they're letting me do the reviews for H*A*R*D's bouts starting from next year until I'm finally good enough to be bouting myself. I still can't believe it all. After doing the review for RDAU I discovered I enjoyed doing reviews so I've decided to do bout reviews on my own blog. They won't be formal as the first one I did. I've got the Newcastle vs Adeladies bout to write up and I'll also be doing one for the ERRD finals next week for both bouts. I actually had Dicey ask me at training tonight if I had done the review yet for the Newy vs Adelaide bout, it's always nice to hear that people like your work and want to read it.  

Training wise, I'm not too worried about the things I still suck at like walking on toe stops, all my attention is focussed on next Sunday's Corporal aka white star test and giving myself the best chance of passing it once and for all. Ever since I discovered the date of the test I've been making the most of freshie hour on Sunday night training to work on the things I'm struggling with. I don't think I'll pass this time round but I think I've made some improvements from my first attempt a few months ago. Tonight I improved in my attempts at doing a crossover. Over the last couple of weeks I've finally managed to skate around the bends on my left foot which will definately help with the crossovers. Tonight during endurance Cherry was telling us to turn our bodies into the bends while attempting to do the crossovers, I tried it and I swear it helped. I'm at the stage where my technique is getting better but it's JUST not enough to make it a complete crossover. For the first time since I started derby training I'm starting to believe that I can do a crossover. These last two weeks I'm starting to notice some improvements overall in my skating but I think it may have come too late for next week's test but I'll give it my all anyway.

In my desperation to learn how to do a crossover before my test, I'm making an emergency trip up to Newcastle to skate with the NRDL social skating group next Saturday. Cass and some of her team mates are going to show me crossover drills that worked for them, apparently one of them is from Godjilla so that's pretty cool! I'm looking forward to working with them and meeting even more like minded derby folk.

Speaking about Cherry and Jilla, I remember when I read their responses from the interview I did with them that I have something in common with them. With Cherry I'm struggling with crossovers and learning new skills like she did when she started, with Jilla I have the same problem of having to pull my finger out when it comes to fitness. Why the hell couldn't I get their better traits haha Ohh and roller derby gods if you're listening could you please somehow organise a co-training session with these two awesome coaches when I'm at scrimmage level so I could learn from the both of them, it'll make up for all the tears and injuries I've endured so far :D

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fort Smashley vs Harbour Hellcats review - the director's cut :P

Roller Derby Au asked me to do a review for the Fort Smashleys vs Harbour Hellcats bout last Saturday. I was a little apprehensive at first because it's a bit different writing a laid back blog that a couple of people read compared to a more professional site that's read nationwide. I said yes in the end and I'm glad I did because I really enjoyed doing it. Here's the final version. I'm a self confessed Fort Smashleys fan but I tried to make it as un-bias as possible.

Of course there were other things that happened that night that I couldn't really put on the proper review so I thought I'd put it all here instead.

After my own league NRDL has become my next favourite league. I think it comes down to that whenever I've seen them bout I'm always reminded of Whip It. They play at a high level but they also look like they're having so much fun at the same time and it rubs off on the crowd. To me that's what derby is all about. They've also got their fair share of characters in there like The Cramp. Not just that I've also met a few nice people off skates there too.

There were two people I wanted to meet at the bout. The first person was Cass aka Apocalypse Pwnie. She messaged me out the blue a few weeks ago telling me she could relate with the struggles of progressing in derby and she read my blog. We ran into each other at half time and had a chat. She's ace, she really is derby personified - doing NSO duties, getting her skates checked out at half time and down to what she was wearing, she's 100% derby :) I even managed to get a photo with her.

Ness was running around meeting her favourite skaters from the Hellcats and getting them to sign her shirt at half time. She managed to get The Cramp, Suzy Pow, Booga and Heartless Desire so she was pretty happy after that especially since the Hellcats were leading on the scoreboard at half time.

As if the half time break wasn't already action packed enough, so who do I run into while I'm lining up to buy a drink none other than Godjilla! After last months shocker of an intro when I was too shy and starstruck to even say hello, I did what I should have done last month and introduced myself, told her I was a big fan and shook her hand. She asked me what my derby name was and I think she sounded impressed.

At the end of the bout which the mighty Fort Smashleys won I was chatting to Cass, had Jilla hook me with Belt'er Goodrem to ask her a few questions for the review I did, then I waited to ask Jilla if I could have a photo taken with her but then something completely unexpected happen. I had a girl come up to me and ask me if I wrote that blog, I told her I did write a blog and then she told me she was a fan. I swear to you never in a million years did I expect a complete stranger to come up to me and tell me they liked my blog. It took me a second to get over the surprise. I discovered she was Cahlee AKA Beth LeHell and was the NRDL equivalent of me! So there's more of us out there who don't pick up derby as quick as everyone else. She was cool to talk to. I'll get to skate with her and the others in the NRDL social skate group on the 8/10 which I'm looking forward to.    

To top the night off I caught up with Jilla and got a photo with her :D I was proud of myself, I actually acted normal in front of her this time around. I can be around my skating idols without going too fangirly hehe. It was such an amazing night, I had the best time. Mon, Lauren and I are heading up to watch the Newcastle vs Adelaide bout on Saturday night so I thought I'd do a little review on my blog, nothing proper like the one I did for Roller Derby AU.

I'll leave you with this...