I was down in Nottingham on Saturday, a double header: Super Smash Brollers vs South Wales Silures followed by Nottingham Roller Girls vs Hulls Angels Roller Dames. After a bit of a break from derby photography I was back on it as HARDs photographer.
The day went really well, travel on public transport is quite an art. I was up early enough to get a train before I needed in case my target train failed. It didn’t, so the 7.53 got me to Leeds with 20 minutes to get my tickets for the onward connection to Nottingham. I’d prepared food and drink too. My netbook is an good companion on these journeys.
Nottingham station is excellent. The toilets are clean and free to use. The information about connecting services is easy to find. The bus service out to the (NTU) campus is every 15 minutes. As a result I arrived relaxed and in good time.
When I arrived SWS were already on track, with over an hour to go before the game started. Keen! :-) Most of HARD were already there, it was good to see Mariana back up on her feet. I was also pleased to meet a few that I’d skated with last week in the co-ed scrim at Death Row. Rosie P was announcing (and it turns out that she’s rather good at it). I checked the light in the hall; very good, quite bright and a good colour. Lunch and then the mens game was on.
The men’s game was a typical mens games. Lots of big hits, lots of falling over, but mixed in some really good play. I think the main aspect that I noticed that I need to put in to practice is getting low. I saw it used effectively by jammers, ducking under blocking moves, and blockers when challenging oncoming blockers. I didn’t notice the score until the end. All the way through it felt pretty even. Both teams worked really hard and the action was utterly non-stop. The final score was SWS 354 to SSB 56. I’m pleased to report that the game was played in good spirit.
The skaters always seem larger than life on skates, except for me it seems. I look so scrawny in the photos from the co-ed last week. Since then I have paid particular attention to how skaters appear. Non of the male players, not indeed the female players, looked quite so skinny. The nearest I spotted was Marc of the Beast, yet he was a bloody good player. In particular I noticed that his sharking (hanging off the back of players in the wall and sticking your arse out so that the jammer can’t pass) was really effective. Perhaps there’s hope for me yet?
After a short break it was NRG/HARD. HARD were first to score and they snook out an early lead. Then NRG called a time out and seemed to come back revitalised; leading up to half time they took the lead and then it changed hands a few times. At the end of the first period there were 9 points in it, HARD 91 to NRG 82.
I want to compliment the NSO crew on being so stylish. The jam timer was sporting an excellent moustache (and beard) and a very fine red hat. One of the penalty trackers was wearing a beautiful dress and had perfectly done blue hair. The NSOs were also in red (SWS were playing in grey).
The second half was fairly well controlled by HARD who seemed to have found their stride. They pulled out a convincing lead and, whilst they had to work at it, they never looked like they would be caught. There was a scary moment when Iron Giant went down, the game halted and medics were called over. Fortunately after a few jams she had her skates on and was back on track.
The final score was HARD 247 to NRG 133.
A few went to the (first) after party, in the student bar, so I tagged along. I was very pleased to be able to share in the chatter about the HARD road trip up to Scotland. I also had a bit of a chat with Melon Collie; I’m getting to know the individuals in the team better now, which is great. :-)
After that I had the long journey home. The train up from Nottingham was lovely, almost empty, lots of leg room, clean and quiet. The train from Leeds to Mytholmroyd was the last of the evening – the drunk wagon. Add to this that it was only two carriages and the passengers included a hen party and a group of drunk blokes hitting on them. Not a joyous leg to the journey. However, the day was rounded off perfectly by a message from from of the HARDies asking if I’d had a good day and apologising for not having had chance to catch up – this is why I love them! :-)
Thank you Nottingham RD for such a well organised event.