Yesterday saw The Skateful Dead play their debut bout.
The event was a double header hosted by Halifax Bruising Banditas at North Bridge Leisure Centre. The first bout was Banditas versus Hulls Angels Roller Dames.
I have seen the Banditas scrimmage, I have met some of them, I have even practised with some of them. It was great to see them play. They have both amazing jammers and amazing blockers. Faye Tality did some textbook chest blocking – something that The Dead had been practising just last week – very effective. At half time it was time to get changed into our skate gear. There was lots of banter in the changing rooms – Captain Malice is a funny guy!
The change from spectator to participant felt very odd. As a spectator you blend into the crowd. But rolling out into the hall as part of a team everyone can see you. You suddenly have an identity. It’s amazing! (and a bit scary)
We team sat and watched the end of the second half. I was sat next to Adam, our youngest(?) and newest member. We were both very quiet. I checked with him; we were both very nervous.
The bout ended, the Banditas winning comfortably by 249 to 111. It was our turn…
It’s worth giving you some idea of who The Skateful Dead are and who we were up against. For The Dead this was a true début bout. The team was formed, I believe, around November 2012. None of us regulars had skated in a bout before this one. We had a few guest skaters, Captain Malice and Sir Kit, from MRD who had bouted before.
The bench was managed by Mandy and Gillie. Orderly rotation of players moving from the bench, to the line-up chairs before skating out. It worked really well, ensuring that we had the right players on track. (I felt rather like B1 battle droid :-)
The third jam and I was on. The whistle blew, the jammer struck. I don’t recall who it was, but he hit me hard and low in the back. I didn’t fall, but it hurt like hell. The jam was over in no time and I returned to the bench. I had two jams to sort myself out. I put the thought of retirement out of my head, there was no way I was going to quit this.
I focused on play. Our jammers were scoring points! Not just one’s and two’s, but lots of points! They were awesome! I had no idea of the score, but it felt close. We certainly weren’t making it easy for the Zombies. Then, all of a sudden it was half time. There was a jam running, I was sat behind Ash and he took off his jammer party. “Half time” he said. What the hell! Where had the time gone?!
The score at half time was Skateful 109 to Zombies 122. I was no longer nervous. Those that needed took a “comfort break”. We skated around a little and even chatted to a few of the Zom.B.Cru. Then swapped corners and we were off again.
There was one jam where, for a short period, I was the only Skateful player on track. We had a jammer and two blockers in the box. A third blocker got a penalty and went off to skate through. So there I was, slightly clueless, stood in front of the four wall of Zombies with their jammer whizzing around. He came through their wall and I blocked him, I knocked him down and out. I also fell, oh well, so he was up and on his way in no time. He came through a second time – I missed him. Damn! That was my moment of fame :-)
The second half was relentless. The jams were short and sharp, both teams grabbing a few points then calling it off. Zom.b.cru kept pushing out Omar Gherd, their hard-hitting jammer and he kept on scoring! Before I knew it the second half was over and that was it. Final score was Skateful 199 to Zombies 284. Omar Gherd earned MVP and best Jammer for Zom.B.Cru, Bri-O-Warfare best blocker. For Skateful it was Scooby Zoom who earned best jammer, Peter Park’ed Her was MVP and Ray Fury best blocker.
Hat tip to Zom.B.Cru for providing cake in the changing room :-) I’m sure I speak for the whole of The Skateful Dead team in saying that we really enjoyed playing against you.
So many people to thank, apologies for any I miss! First, Gillie for training us (not an easy task!) and running around organising us and our kit. Tony and Mandy for sponsoring the kit and Mandy for looking after us on the bench. The rest of the team for being awesome, especially our jammers – 199 points is absolutely amazing. Bandita’s for hosting us, inviting us to drills and practising with us. Phil, Carly and Sally for their help and refereeing our (often dodgy) scrimmages :-)