Round two saw the two losing teams from round one looking for their first win and the two victorious teams face off to lay down an early marker for the end of season championship bout. With fewer home events than last season, there is an added sense of importance to each bout day and that was ably reflected in another sell-out crowd eager to cheer on their team.
Harbour Grudges v Suffra Jets
After tough losses in the season curtain raiser both of the teams involved were determined to get their season going and went all out for a win in the first matchup of the day.
Both teams quickly settled into a rhythm that saw them evenly exchange points over the first 15 minutes. The Grudges pack was showing some good aggression and Kitty Decapitate, on a much heavier jam rotation than round one, was matching that aggression by often seeking out contact with opposing blockers on her way through the pack. Significantly both teams were able to keep their penalties to a minimum for the opening period, which helped to ensure a tight game.
If the teams were skating hard on the track it was also apparent that the coaches were thinking hard off it. The Harbour Grudges were trying to contain Kamikaze Kitten, who was again in sparkling form, by matching up Flammin Aggro against her on the jam line. This tactic seemed designed to ensure that even if the Suffra Jet jammer got the lead, the points scored were minimized and then the Grudges could look to strike with the jamming of Kitty Decapitate and Dalai Harmer. It was a tactic that seemed to be working and the teams entered jam 16 with only two points separating them at 54-52.
The Suffra Jets however found the tactical answer in the right combination of pack and jammer. Shaolynn Scarlett, Grenade and Katy Peril formed an experienced and impressive blocker trio that the coach continually matched with jammers Lola Vulkano and Rebelle Du Jour. This meant their rotation was incredibly balanced with their most experienced jammer (Kamikaze Kitten) being placed with the least experienced pack and vice versa. The big hitting of the pack, particularly Shaolynn Scarlett who was again in imperious mood, nullified the threat of the opposing jammers and the Suffra Jets began to build a lead. Three powerjams in the next five jams saw them go in at half time 25 points to the good at 69-94.
That lead would be stretched to as many as 67 points in a second half that started as the first one had ended, with the Jets boosted by some big point scoring from three of their jammers. Lola Vulkano who was so effective she tripled her number of jams from round one, double-threat Knickerblocker Glory and Kamikaze Kitten who was delivering a crowd pleasing performance filled with speed, apex jumps and even some backwards skating thrown in.
Despite some excellent work from Dalai Harmer in the pack, the bout was getting away from the Grudges and in contrast to the Jets multiple jammer threats they increasingly turned to Flammin Aggro to try and reel it back in. She jammed 49% of their total jams and racked up 52 points in the second half alone in an incredibly valiant effort. The heavy rotation was understandable given the score line but it seems unsustainable in the long term and during the rest of the season Grudges fans will be hoping to see a third jammer emerge who can carry some of the load.
Final score: Harbour Grudges 159 Suffra Jets 180
MVP awards: Jen Sykes (Harbour Grudges) & Lola Vulkano (Suffra Jets)
Steam Rollers v Ultraviolent Femmes
The Steam Rollers chances of picking up a second straight win and being *ahem* top gun in the intra-league were dealt a blow by the news that both Rogue Runner and Grievous Bodily Charm were unable to compete in this match up. This deprived the Rollers of two of their three most used jammers from their first bout of the season and a lot of competitive experience. Their absence however gave more opportunities to others and whilst that didnt result in a victory here, it could prove invaluable in bouts to come.
The bout started fairly evenly with the Femmes picking up some early points on power jams before some quick thinking by jammer Goregasm seemed to spark the Rollers into life. The Femmes were slow to react as she reentered the track following a penalty and she managed a full five point pass before the jam was called off. This was immediately followed by a 17 point power jam from Beating Disorder and some good hits from Pinky Brown and the Rollers were holding their own after jam 11.
Whatever momentum the Rollers had was crushed by a Femmes time out and a passage of play that saw them jump out to a lead that would be 81 points at half time and 167 shortly after. A key feature of this period was how ruthless the Femmes were when it came to opposition penalties: a massive 35 points haul from Ruby Rehab, 34 points from Stefanie Mainey, 30 points from Juicy Lucy. Every opportunity was pounced upon and punished. This was in part down to good jamming but also as a result of some active blocking. Not content to see the jammer trying to break through on their own, the Femmes set about launching one of their blockers into the opposition line just prior to the arrival of their jammer. This was particularly effective when C Bomb and Olivia Coupe were working in tandem.
If the bout was effectively over as a contest there was still much to admire in the play of both sides. Beating Disorder, justifying a heavier jam rotation, showed some fantastic acceleration with an inside pass; Dodgem registered some good blocks and Goregasm once again showed some quick thinking, this time as a blocker, to clear the route for her oncoming jammer, Total Freyham who will perhaps be looking for some more jams in coming weeks after another efficacious display under the star.
The Ultraviolent Femmes for their part took the opportunity to use the depth of their roster with no fewer than 10 skaters taking to the jam line. The damage however was done in the minutes surrounding half time and in the end they eased to a comfortable 125-299 victory. Therell be sterner tests to come for the Femmes but no one would be too surprised if that test came in the form of a complete Steam Rollers roster.
Final score: Steam Rollers 125 Ultraviolent Femmes 299
MVP awards: Misskaten Identity (Steam Rollers) & Stefanie Mainey (Ultraviolent Femmes)