SmackSons vs Brothers Grim 21st May 2017
I can’t really say if Grimsby is a nice town or not. Travelling for Roller Derby games doesn’t leave much space for sightseeing beyond idyllic dual carriageways, charming ring roads and scenic (if sweaty) sports halls. What I can say for sure is that the people there were bloody lovely. Half time orange segments and a complimentary banana (it said nice things about my skating) at the end were a nice touch. Everybody feels like a winner with a free banana clutched tightly in their sticky palm.
We’d played Grimsby once before in August 2015 in Norwich and we’d come off the better by 125 points. That was my first ever roller derby game but I couldn’t tell you what happened. I wouldn’t be sure I was actually there if there wasn’t photographic evidence of me gormlessly spectating on track. Still, a lot has changed since then for both teams. I was keen to show them I’d learnt how to roller skate and Grimsby are in their second year of British Champs having reached the playoffs in their debut season.
Just one week before, Grimsby had faced a ferocious Oxford side and come off the worse but we weren’t expecting an easy game. The Brothers Grim fielded a much stronger side to meet us and would clearly be looking to strike back.
In the days before the bout our numbers had dropped to 11 but The Smacksons are a chipper lot and we approached the game with the cheerful confidence we do everything (except running) with. Sadly that 11 didn’t include many of our primary jammers so for the second game in a row team Captain Skippy The Angeroo took the star and led the charge. It’s a good job he’s a double threat and a brilliant jammer as, for the second game in a row, he went home with the best jammer award! He was joined by on again, off again Smackson Jay Low (relationship status ‘It’s complicated’… but we still love him) and the nimble Marty McSly whose exploits in our last two games easily earned him a spot in the main jammer rotation. As the game wore on more Smacksons took the star and did a great job, including The AntiChris and Short Shorts.
The game was neck and neck for the full 60 minutes, no lead going beyond 20 points before quickly vanishing. By halftime Grimsby were ahead by 9 points and the orange segment was gratefully received. Still, our bench remained an upbeat and focused place thanks to the calm confidence of our Bench and coach Applebite and our Lum Kelly KaPowski. Veteran Smackson (he’s old) Jarnageddon helped with this by remaining cool and unfazed (unbothered) throughout and offering some sage advice to newer skaters at half time (‘Have you tried being better?’). Invaluable.
We’d been joined on our expedition to the balmy north by a great contingent of supporters from Norfolk Roller Derby and they definitely helped to keep us going till the end. They were almost as numerous as the Grimsby supporters and MUCH louder!
Early in the second half it felt like the momentum might be starting to shift in our favour. A formidable wall of Geoffasaurus Wrecks, Citizen Pain, Nifty Shades of Grey and The Talented Mr Whipley held back the Grimsby jammer for the full two minutes which left Skip free to score 22 points (pfft, easy…)
Sadly, fatigue caused by low numbers and a green foul out let a solid Grimsby side reassert themselves and with less than 2 minutes to go they were behind by 1 point, 148 to 149. A swift four point jam from them and they took the lead. Our most experienced blocker, Cupcake, was sent out to hold the line after already putting in a mammoth performance (as always…). He was joined by relative newcomer, man mountain, burrito enthusiast and gameday captain Citizen Pain, the sprightly and smart Marty McSly and the overly wordy Whipley. The Grimsby jammer managed to punch his way out and called them jam… with 1 second left on the period clock. This is where the experience and benching badassery of Applebite (who had already had two successful official reviews this game) came to the fore. A quick timeout and we had one jam left to win this. The same lineup went out with the gentle if significant advice from Apple ‘we really need to get lead’ ringing in our ears! Grimsby sent out their most experienced blockers and the blue star went to Scotta Hurt, the source of most of their points. The whistle went, Scott hit hard while skip took a more patient fifth blocker approach before slipping past. Scott barged through the back blockers and was caught by Whipley, he backed off and tracked to the inside where he was swept off. A sneaky run back from Whip forced a cut and gave the Smacksons a power jam. From here on it was all about getting Skip through which he managed with a lovely sideways toe stop run on the apex. Coming round again all 4 Smacksons went on offence and Skip snuck through taking the full 5 points and calling the game. 152 – 154. The Smacksons won.
Close games are the best games to watch, the constant back and forth keeps the spectators on edge throughout. As a player it’s usually bloody awful. My nerves can’t take it. On this occasion though team green had smiles throughout and I have no doubt it was that teamwork, friendship and positivity that really got the win. Also, we scored marginally more points than the other team. I guess, strictly speaking, that’s how we won.
Norfolk Roller Derby are recruiting now, our new skater course starts on 17th July. If you’d like to be a part of our team we’d love you to join us. Get in touch!
Awards on the day!
The Brothers Grim
Best Blocker – Carlossus #639
Best Jammer – Tasker Bater #18
MVP – IndestructaPaul #2612
Captain’s Choice – Citizen Pain #1984 (wait, wasn’t he gameday Captain… Pain you cheeky ****!)
Best Blocker – Cupcake #3
Best Jammer – Skippy The Angeroo #451
MVP – The Talented Mr Whipley #177