NASHVILLE, TN – In the game to determine who was to go on to vie for the Hydra, and who would be competing for third placing, London Rollergirls (#6) took on Gotham (#1). In a varied game which displayed not only both teams characteristic strength and defensive play, but highlights of racing packs and both short and long initial passes, Gotham ultimately continued their unbroken run of wins in sanctioned play, taking the game 280-94.
In the first game period, Gotham actually only dominated the lead jammer calls by a relatively small majority – taking 55% over London’s 45%. But London’s lead grabs were still greeted as a rarity by an appreciative crowd, and every point gain was acknowledged by cheers, as Gotham’s jammers stayed so firmly glued to the rear of London’s leads that few points came of these jams.
The first jam started on a promising note, with London top jammer Kamikaze Kitten taking lead ahead of Gotham’s legendary Bonnie Thunders, so that the first points on the board were London’s, 5-0. Kami broke through the pack by finding the outside line around Gotham’s defenses, while London recycled Bonnie twice, so that Kami was able to take points and call the jam before Bonnie could hit the pack for a scoring pass.
In the following jam, Lexi Lightspeed was up for London, and remained trapped in the pack by a determined Gotham wall while Suzy Hotrod broke through and into the lead. But that fresh lead handed Gotham what they needed, and they broke forward the momentum to seal themselves a game lead, at 14-5, that they weren’t about to let go of. From that point onwards, Gotham alternated between squeezing in low digit first scoring pass additions and double digit hiking points climbs to really push their lead.
London’s highest scorer, Stefanie Mainey started her jammer approach by trying to muscle her way through the Gotham pack, but quickly worked out that was unlikely to be a successful approach, instead adapting in the second half to a more tactical approach with key offensive communication between her and her blockers. In the meantime, Kami was more successful in the initial ten minutes of play, till Gotham seemed to have pegged her tactics, and instead began to force her into climbing penalties and no more than first scoring pass additions.
By the end of the first game quarter, the score was 86-26, and London took their first team time-out, but even an immediate lead jammer claim by Rogue Runner wasn’t about to earn them more than 1-0, against Vicious Van Go-Go. Meanwhile, the time continued ticking, and the score sat at 91-34 to Gotham with only nine mins left in the half. Gotham called their official review on a penalty, insisting that a call ought to have happened on the London jammer, it was unsuccessful.
With five minutes remaining in the first half, and a score of 111-34 to Gotham, officials took a time-out to regroup and re-tally. And immediately after the pause in play, Bonnie Thunders ticked up a solid further 22 points, taking the points spread to 99, with 133-34.
With under a minute remaining, a play call-off for injury for Suzy Hotrod that resulted in a bloody nose saw her helped off by medics, and remaining in-gear and ready for play. At this point, even final jam points grabs for London against a possibly slightly distracted Gotham wasn’t about to close Gotham’s lead. Half-time score 135-53, to Gotham.
The second half began in characteristic Bonnie Thunders style, as she claimed lead while juking, and swerved and twisted her way through the pack repeatedly for the rest of the game. Her characteristic hip swivels around opposing players for additional points added up for Gotham throughout.
From this point onwards, although the point additions became almost routine for Gotham, the game was still characterized by varying pack speeds and plays. The final quarter, for instance, dawned with a series of neck-and-neck jammer races, with speeding packs trying to beat the odds and find their own team points while denying the other ground.
At the ten minute mark, Stef Mainey was able to claim lead jammer status after Gotham had held her team unscoring until that point of the period. She emerged from the pack to crowd acclaim, and went on to add an impressive 14 points against a grimly defensive Gotham. She wasn’t about to signal a game change by any stretch, as Gotham doggedly closed gaps, held jammers, and recycled. The second half saw a much weightier 63.2% of lead jammer calls in Gotham’s favor, and a narrow 26.3% for London. This meant that the inevitable point climb in their favor was unable to be halted by a an increasingly scattered London team. In fact, in their second half of play, London only managed to add points in five isolated jams, two of those being the final two of the game.
Penalties held both teams back, with the teams averaging 40 apiece across the game (Gotham on 38, London with 41). London’s jammer Kamikaze Kitten took on too many penalties, and became ineffective for points after being benched by her team. She ended up sitting with her helmet off by the final game quarter, with six penalties, while Mick Swagger took the full complement of seven. Forearm penalties were by far the stand-out for Gotham, with 11 of their 38 total being for that error.
The final jams arrived with a renewed vigor lit under the London team, as they managed to break open the pack for Stef Mainey, to help her take lead, while Miss Tea Maven struggled with the closing London pack, and was called on a forearm penalty. The penultimate jam then became a power jam with lead for Stef, and she took the first real points in that quarter for London, to take the score to 280-85.
An immediate team time-out happened for London, and the team stood together arm in arm as the final 47 game seconds loomed on the clock. The final jam saw Rogue Runner fly in and take lead, adding in an equal number of points to those Stef had claimed just prior, making the final score to 280-94.
Today Gotham and Rose City will meet in the final championship game, at 6pm CST*, London goes on to play against BAD for third place at 4pm CST*.
**Note: Make sure you changed your clocks, or you’ll be an hour early!
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