It had been almost eight months since the Norfolk Brawds’ last competitive league match and in that time the hugely successful Heartlands Series transformed into the British Championships: A four tier league competition spanning the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. As such, the game took on huge historical significance for the Brawds, as their first ever British Champs bout.
Killa Hurtz Roller Girls travelled up from Chelmsford riding the wave of a convincing victory over the Bourne Bombshells back in May and it was clear from the outset that they meant business.
Benched by injured skater Dinah Mighty and East Anglo Smackson Alfred Hitchblock as Line Up Manager, the Brawds started well with team Captain Philthy Delphia picking up lead jammer status in the first jam. In the early stages the Brawds began to inch ahead thanks to solid defensive work from the likes of Short Circuit, Kelly KaPOWski, NoTorious, Yours Truly, Slamming Siren and SinSarahty. However, Killa Hurtz remained in hot pursuit, with solid defensive work from the likes of Mother Mercy and Clark Smash preventing the Brawds from establishing any kind of dominance.
As the half continued it was clear that this was going to be a game defined by small margins. The crowd could sense it and the volume on the bleachers slowly began to rise; the staunch home support trying to lift their team in any way possible.
As the half time whistle drew closer the tide began to turn and a couple of power jams gave Killa Hurtz the opportunity to put a little distance between the two teams. It was an opportunity they seized and some excellent jamming from Snarley Quinn helped Killa Hurtz end the half with a forty point lead (49 – 89). As anyone who has watched a lot of Roller Derby knows, 40 points is certainly not an unassailable lead but, it was clear that the Brawds were going to have to play the half of their lives to overturn the deficit.
The second half began in much the same way as the first with a series of close, hard fought jams with both packs limiting the success of the determined jammers. However, with fifteen or so minutes left on the clock the persistent, relentless attack of the Brawds’ jammer rotation Penny Slain, Zippy, Cruel Runnings, Philthy Delphia and league debutant Khilleesi, began to slowly claw back the differential point by point.
Buoyed by a now raucous home crowd the Brawds pushed on, narrowing the gap and sapping the strength from the determined Killa Hurtz defence. As the match entered what proved to be its climactic jam, the scores could not be closer and when the Brawds’ blockers drew a crucial cut track penalty from the Killa Hurtz jammer the home team were awarded a power jam. Seasoned blocker and pivot, Political Vagenda had only moments earlier been handed the jammer star. Digging deep, she donned the cap and set off round the track determined to pick up the critical points that would overturn Killa Hurtz’ long standing lead. With the crowd now all on their feet, Polly V was confronted with three desperate Hurtz blockers but, they could not stop her. The final few seconds ticked past and as the final whistle sounded an excruciating hush fell over the hall. Had the Brawds done enough to win their first ever British Championship game?
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity the score board was updated and to the delight of the crowd the final score read 144 to 138. The Brawds had come out on top of one of the hardest most nail biting derby matches ever played out.
by Mr Slain