Skateful Dead vs Super Smash Brollers
Yesterday I was with The Skateful Dead as our official photographer. We were down in Nottingham to play the Super Smash Brollers. The Brollers won 226 to 181.
The bout was, as I’m sure TV commentators would say, one of two halves. Buckingham Malice drew first blood with a 9 point jam. The team looked great. The walls were effective (all that practice was paying off) and our jammer was getting lead. I could hear the team shouting opposing jammer lane numbers and it was working! By the fifth jam we had 29 against 9 for SSB.
Brollers were suffering penalties, and this rewarded us with a handful of power jams. There was an official time out 20 minutes in to the first period. I took the opportunity to tweet the score of 87 for Skateful with the Brollers on 27. We extended that over the next ten minutes whilst holding the Brollers. The first period ended with a power jam for the Brollers taking their score to 58 against our 148.
(A note to those that don’t watch roller derby. A 90 point lead might sound good, but we didn’t consider it “comfortable”. A power jam (a jam in which there is only one jammer on track for some of the time) can net a team 20 or 30 points.)
In the second period the Brollers came out fighting. The played Jammy Dodger in probably every other jam. The tables turned. We got penalty after penalty, handing the Brollers power jam after power jam. It seemed, to me, that our jammers were exhausted. We’d scored 148 points in the first period and only managed 33 in the second. Brollers scored 58 in the first and 168 in the second. We have plenty to take away from the bout and it was played in good spirit. Thank you Brollers!
Nottingham Roller Girls vs Hereford Rollers Girls
Following on from the men’s bout we had Nottingham Roller Girls versus Hereford Roller Girls. I still had my “official photographer” badge, so I stayed in the middle of the track and carried on shooting. (Childish it may be, but I do like a badge :-))
Thinking about it, my mind must have been in a completely different state watching the women play. I wasn’t attempting to live tweet the bout and I don’t know the final outcome. Nottingham won by about ten points I think. During the bout however I was utterly focused on taking photos. When Skateful were playing I was more engaged in the game, willing the team on to win.
People often say that the women’s game is different to the men’s. Clichéd, but I agree, though I’m just not quite sure how. There seemed to be much less shouting in the women’s bout, but perhaps I just wasn’t tuned into it? I think that generally the female players are more nimble then the men. I feel that the jammers get to a wall, momentarily get held up and then skip around/through and are one their way. They are cleaner players – from memory I’d say that there was only one power jam in the bout. There were some good hits, and I captured one excellent sacrifice of a blocker in an attempt to take out a jammer.
I also noticed a formation of three wall that we’ve not practised – like a cyclops but in a two/one formation. (It obviously can’t be called a cyclops!)
Some (mildly) interesting notes regarding the photography. I took 825 photos during the day. Many of these are sequences. With these it is usually only a single image that makes it to Flickr. The one where the player doesn’t have his/her eyes closed, the referee/NSO didn’t get in the way and the image is in focus. So I discard many of the images.
When selecting images I try to avoid (too many) duplicates of the same person. Jammers get their photo taken all the time! I also try to make sure that I’ve got at least one photo of all of the players, though it’s not always possible.
I worked through those of the men’s bout on Sunday morning and the women’s late evening. I have ended up, quite by accident, with 54 photos in the first set and 56 in the second. (Two of the men left before the awards, so that would have made it 56.)
Finally, a special mention for our very own Carly Jane. It was her début appearance as a derby referee this weekend. Not an easy start as she faced a tough call in our bout. During the second period, when we were losing, our jammer cut track. She called the penalty. This is absolutely the right thing to do of course, but it still can’t have felt comfortable. Well done Carly!