May 29, 2016

Richter City Home season 2016: #1 Smash Malice vs Brutal Pageant

The first bout of the intraleague season for Richter City saw the two original home teams, Smash Malice and Brutal Pageant (Last year's winning team) face up against each other. A handful of new look uniforms, a bunch of new skaters, and an overhaul of the programme coupled with a short video clip as a basic introduction to Roller Derby among the changes since last year's home team season, along with the recent return of Ghetto Anger as MC. Whilst I wasn't a huge fan of the Ghetto Anger/Bullet Surprise MC combo of years past, having Ghetto Anger tag teaming with an experienced skater (Tuff Bikkies) hit the spot. Ghetto Anger's return wasn't the only throwback to the past experienced by long time fans of Richter City. 

Saturday's crowd felt the largest experienced in a long time at Kilbirnie Rec Centre, it never ceases to intrigue me that the home team season draws larger crowds than when we have visitors! The larger crowd meant the video clip was almost drowned in the hubbub, especially with no warning from the MCs that it was about to play and that if you were a new to derby to pay attention, and not helped by the lighting near the screen still being on at that point.  With the possible alternate location for the screen next time, and knowledge to turn the nearby lights out hopefully will make the video much clearer to watch next time.  Injuries saw Skanda Lass and Invader Sin on the Malice bench with Frodo, but Ella Kazam’s thumb dislocation at practise this week couldn’t keep her away, though I did spot a brace on underneath the wrist guard.  

The bout started with a good looking rainbow formation from Brutal Pageant that kept back Tu High long enough for Vicious Vegie to make lead, which was helped along by Tu High getting the first penalty of the game for a back block. Pageant made a quick start on the points with scoring each of the first four jams leaving Malice trailing behind on zero, until Tu High won the first Smash Malice lead of the bout in the fifth jam and putting a few points on the board, soon helped by a power jam by Volcanic Ash.  Very strong walls from both teams lead to more than a few jams resulting in it taking over a minute for a lead jammer to be declared, and a relatively neck and neck first quarter. The few nods to times past in the first half had not just Pageant's captain Ella Kazam jamming a couple of times, but saw a jam from fellow beauty queen Suffer Jet to end the half, it was good to see her with the star again, and with the pink jam ref pointing her as lead jammer, helping take the half time scores to 90 to 69, Pageant lead. Interestingly, it was a relatively clean half penalty wise, but it seems the majority of the penalties awarded were to jammers.

Ash was very much on fire with her jamming this bout, despite being caught in the box a few times, together with Tu High (though much steadier on her feet this year, managed to fit in 3 trips to the box in one jam) I wager they racked up most of the Malice points, with occasional help from Berocca Bomba, May Maim and captain Tino Turnher. A very fast jam partway through the second half had me impressed by and commiserating with Bailey's Comet as she boosted her already fast speed just on coming to pack with the Brutal Pageant jammer relatively close on her heels, but it took the refs nearly quarter of a lap to notice her calling the jam, likely enabling Pageant to earn some points that otherwise wouldn't have been awarded. Ash frequently stashed the jammer panty through the night, seemingly a strategy to get through the initial pass with as little interference from opposing blockers, in order to get scoring quicker, a move also adopted by Brutal Pageant a few times. The frequent panty stashes were coupled with strategically timed panty passes, and great adaptation to opposing team's strategies, showing a lot of cohesion within both teams so early in the season, even with some of the freshies a mere month or two post graduation. Melpractice and Helen of Destroy appear to have melded into the Malice blockers with such ease, with Deb Auchery occasionally filling in Pageant's jammer rotation of Tarenosaurus Wrex, Vicious Vegie, and Gael Force and previously mentioned Zam and Jet.

Through no lack of trying from Smash Malice, the bout ended with Brutal Pageant taking the win with a score of 168 to 130.

A sad announcement was made during the bout, former Richter skater Lethally Blonde is very ill at the moment, and throughout the venue were collection boxes for get well wishes and spare change to help assist Blondie's family with costs related to her hospitalisation. If you know Blondie or just wish to contribute, I'm sure the league would be happy to receive more messages and donations to forward to her family. Contact them direct through Facebook or Twitter to arrange.

Next bout is Brutal Pageant against Comic Slams on 2nd July. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for more information and tickets. In the meantime, Richter City are gearing up for another Freshmeat intake, and are hosting a Freshmeat and Greet this Wednesday 1st June at Hashigo Zake. Further details are here.  The Convicts are soon off to Adelaide, and I believe the tournament organisers are planning to streaming some of the tournament on YouTube, hopefully we can see some Convicts (or Whakatane!) bouts on there, see the TGSS website for the tournament schedule and don't forget to convert from Adelaide time!

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