The packed crowd at Parklands were also treated to a scintillating men’s game as the Cocked Tails avenged their recent defeat at the hands of Southern Discomfort, turning the tables on the London team to win 141-85 and square their series at one win each.
First Round – Lincolnshire Bombers vs. Helsinki
Lincolnshire made the better start in the opening game of the day, Catfight Candy and the always impressive Florence The Machine grabbing a 4-0 pass each in the first jams. Helsinki began to settle after five minutes, however, as their blockers knocked Mills around to let Heli Runteli in for 7 points, and they forced a lead change through a Mini Gsus grand slam moments later.
The advantage returned to Lincoln when the day’s first powerjam saw Lil Cherry pick up 15, but Helsinki were still chipping away at the Bombers, taking 4-0 passes here and there to reel their opponents in. The Finns gained a significant lead for the first time as they successfully killed another Lincoln powerjam – restricting the Bombers to four points – before grabbing a powerjam of their own. Heli took 14 well executed points to open up a 54-48 advantage, but that would unfortunately be her last action of the day as she was forced out with an injury in the following play.
With one of their main jamming threats sidelined it would have been easy to see HRD rolling over, but in fact the next few minutes were their best spell of the game. Gsus and Trixie GrandBang worked well with their pack to put together a series of quick scoring passes and extend their team’s lead to 20 with around five minutes to go.
In the end, though, it would be Lincoln who had the final say. Helsinki were playing well but struggling with the penalty count, and the Bombers reduced their deficit to a mere 4 points through a couple of powerjams and a 4-0 scoring pass from Candy. As the teams entered the final jam HRD again found themselves with no jammer on track, and Diss Continued did just enough as she scored 5 and called it to take a 69-68 win for her team.
Dolly Rockit Rollers vs. Helsinki
With Euro Allstar Suvi Hokkari picking up a knee injury at the end of the Lincoln game – sadly ending her participation in the tournament – DRR might have fancied their chances of a win going into the day’s second game. Helsinki had other plans, however, taking advantage of their deep roster to draft the fleet-footed Leeloo Dallas into the jam rotation, and they subjected DRR to a devastating first fifteen minute blitz from which the Leicester team would never fully recover.
HRD were clearly fired up after losing their opening game in tough circumstances and fought hard to stop DRR scoring in the opening jams, before a gift of a powerjam after an illegal DRR star pass gave them the chance to open the scoring. Trixie GrandBang made full use of the opportunity to take 20 unanswered points and put her team firmly in control of the game, with a second HRD powerjam almost immediately after extending the gap to 42-0.
When DRR gave away their third jammer penalty of the game it seemed that the game was basically over. Leeloo showed great determination to outfox the DRR pack and put herself in for the points, and helped extend HRD’s lead to a massive 64 points at only fifteen minutes played.
The game began to change following the first DRR first points of the afternoon, a 14-0 Li’l Crash powerjam that appeared to galvanise the team. The next jam started with a much tighter DRR pack walling up on Helsinki’s jammer, giving Rogue the chance to sneak in for two natural grand slams, and when HRD gave away another powerjam moments later DRR were suddenly back in the game at 65-49.
The Dollies’ momentum continued as Rogue and Crash continued to pick up scoring passes, with only a 4-0 Heli jam threatening to break the cycle. At five minutes to go and a scoreline of 69-65 it seemed that DRR could be about to produce what had seemed a few minutes before to be an extremely unlikely comeback.
In the end, it wasn’t to be. A 15 point Trixie GrandBang powerjam reopened a healthy-ish Helsinki lead, and seemed to take the wind out of DRR sails. The teams played out the last few minutes on a fairly even footing, with Helsinki taking the win at 99-71.
Romsey Town Rollerbillies vs. Helsinki
The day’s third game saw HRD up against the Romsey Town Rollerbillies. Having now played the equivalent of a full bout Helsinki were starting to tire a little, and with Romsey looking full of confidence after their recent bouts against One Love and the Go-Go Rollergirls it was clear this bout would be a big challenge for the Finns.
The Cambridge team dominated the early exchanges, racing to a 19 point lead after some well-executed plays. Their jammers were looking dangerous, repeatedly beating out the HRD pack to pick up scoring passes, and when a Schindler’s Lisp powerjam took the scoreline to 40-5 it seemed that Romsey’s good run of form against European teams might be about to continue.
HRD needed someone to step up to the plate, and they got just that in the form of Mini Gsus. The Helsinki jammer used her low centre of gravity to juke through Romsey’s pack for a 12-0 pass, and her team seemed to settle into the game as a result.
Suddenly Helsinki were playing the the confidence they had shown in their opening two games, and they were reeling Romsey in fast. With power blockers Gale Force and Linda Vidjeskog knocking the Rollerbillies’ jammers around and more great jamming from Mini Gsus they reduced the deficit to 4 points, before a Trixie GandBang powerjam finally gave them the lead at 65-54 with around ten minutes to go.
Romsey weren’t done, coming off better in an exchange of powerjams to reduce the gap to 7 points, but HRD were looking good and kept them at arms length for the rest of the game. The final jam saw Linda Vidjeskog give a point scoring masterclass, going for the full two minutes with Dusty Knuckles to take a natural grand slam and create a final score of 94-71.
Southern Discomfort vs. Cocked Tails
The Cocked Tails entered their bout against Southern Discomfort looking for revenge after April’s 268-182 defeat at the hands of their black-clad opponents, and with Southern missing their talismanic captain Ballistic Whistle it seemed they might have a fighting chance. SD took an early lead through Rollin’ Stoner, but the Tails had plenty of jam line firepower and were able to keep within striking distance of their opponents early on.
The first half was dominated by the packs, as both teams tried to go in hard on their opponents’ key jammers to tire them out early on. After 15 minutes the score was 30-16 and the game was very much in the balance.
The Tails grabbed the lead for the first time after a crazy period of play that saw the teams exchange powerjams a total of four times in two jams. First The Reaper was boxed for SD after a low block, then his opposite number Rex Tangle found himself in the box after around 30 seconds. The Reaper was released, only to be sent back to the box almost immediately. Unbelievably, Jammy Dodger and Rollin’ Stoner then went through an identical sequence of events on the next jam! It was the Tails who benefitted, however, taking a 42-33 lead towards the end of the period. CT had time to squeeze in one more powerjam before the break, team captain Jammy Dodger at his impressive best to leave the halftime scores at a very respectable 51-37.
The second half was a men’s game of the old school, with lots of big hitting, penalties, and a hatful of powerjams. CT started as they meant to go on, Bollock Obama flooring Flamin’ Gallah on the opening jam of the period, and a Jammie Dodger natural grand slam shortly afterwards allowed them to extend their lead. A Southern powerjam following a track cut from The Mechanic allowed SD to reel their opponents in a little, but Jerry Atric put daylight in between the teams again with a powerjam of his own.
At 80-64 midway through the half Southern needed to find another gear, but the momentum of the game was with the Tails and when Jammie picked up yet another powerjam it began to seem like the men in pink could pull it off. The speedy Inhuman League jammer took his chance well, extending the Tails’ lead to 30 points.
A further 20 for Rex Tangle in the following minutes all but killed off SD’s challenge, and the Tails were able to see out the rest of the game relatively comfortably. The last play of the game saw crowd favourite Butcher Boy jamming, and even a trip to the box for the Bedfordshire man couldn’t dampen the Tails’ spirits as they won 141-85.
FINAL – Lincolnshire Bombers vs. Helsinki
As the only team to win against Helsinki in the first round of games, LBRG had the honour of taking on HRD again in the final bout of the day. Again, Lincolnshire started strong, with a 4-0 Catfight Candy pass opening proceedings, and they ran the opening jams of the game.
Helsinki were clearly looking to avenge their earlier one point defeat, however, and they closed the gap to 16-15 after nice work from Mini Gsus and Gale Force, before a Trixie Grandbang powerjam gave them a lead they would hold til the final whistle.
Looking remarkably fresh considering their brutal schedule for the day, Helsinki began to take control of the game with regular scoring passes. More points for Gsus and a fine powerjam from Iiris Suominen gave Helsinki a commanding 84-40 lead with around five minutes to go in the first, before two Lincoln jammer penalties in quick succession let Trixie Grandbang take the half time score to 118-53.
HRD immediately found themselves on a powerjam as the second half started, Trixie and Leeloo both taking advantage of the situation to push the Finns’ advantage over the 100 point mark. Lincoln were still fighting, with battling passes from Florence The Machine and Diss Continued, but Helsinki seemed to have saved their best for last, with their pack working as a unit and all their jammers showing good form.
It seemed as though HRD would cruise to the final whiste as they passed the 200 point mark with eight minutes to go, but Lincoln had one last surprise up their sleeve. A 4-0 scoring pass for Candy was followed by 20 points apiece for veterans Mills and Cherry, as the Bombers took advantage of Helsinki’s increasingly tired looking legs. The bout rounded out with a 5-0 pass from LBRG’s Synyster Motives.
Lincoln had showed a lot of spirit to fight back so strongly so late in the game, but HRD had set them too much of a mountain to climb. The final score stood at 211-138 to the Finns.
As with the London Rockin’ Rollers at Tattoo Freeze, Helsinki showed that winning tournament derby is as much about strength in depth as anything else. Despite injuries to key skaters they were able to keep calling up high quality players, and played some great stuff in all four of their games. With WFTDA Europe seemingly around the corner, and Helsinki already Apprentice members, it seems like we might be seeing a lot more of HRD in the future!