It was a slightly grey but promising morning that we set out to Newark for the first game on our Women’s Tier 4 East British Championships calendar.
This will be the third year we have competed in the tournament, coming third in our group in both 2015 and 2016. As the organising for this year began I knew we would again have a very different mix of teams to face in competition this season. I also knew that we would have a different mix of our own skaters competing this year, with a lot of new faces added to our charter, this first game was always going to be an interesting test.
We arrived at the showground, and as soon as the track was ready I set out to test the floor. I’m always quite focused on game day morning, and not happy until I’ve skated a few laps, to assess any potential wheel changes and reassure the rest of my teammates about the skating surface. All was good, so we prepared to warm up and face the opposition!
As soon as the game started, we knew that the Bombers were a totally different team to who we played (and won against 136-132) last year. The last time we played in June was one of the most nail-biting games I have ever skated in, and was won on the final scoring pass of the final jam. It was clear that Lincolnshire had not taken that very close loss lightly last year and had been working hard and certainly looked hungry for the win on their home turf. They seemed to have got bigger, stronger and more together and our offensive strategy definitely had its work cut out. The first half saw some strong consistent jamming from established A-teamers Devilbird and Miss Behave and some great potential on show from Hell-anor Rigby and Mortricia, but those Lincolnshire walls were tough! Some excellently timed offence from Holly GoFightly and Hellatrix Deranged created a few holes, but at halftime the score stood at 154-78.
The break gave us an opportunity to re-group, adapt our strategy and learn from the first 30mins. We came out into the second half strong, with the addition of Maltese Mayhem, another of our A-Team veterans to the jammer rotation. Some great defensive blocking by Hurricane Ali and Pixie Guts helped slow down the opposition jammer. However the overall strength of both the Bombers’ walls and jammers could not be contained. Despite a final rush of points for Suffolk resulting from a few power jams, we could not close the points gaps and the Bombers took the win.
Overall I am immensely proud of our performance and the skaters and supporters who have helped us get to this point. There were a lot of nerves the morning of the game, but every skater brought their all to the track when the whistles blew. Roller Derby is an ever evolving game, and the flip of the scorelines from the same match up just a few months ago proves that. This is why I love the sport, the constant drive to tweak and adapt skills and strategy, brains and brawn that go hand in hand to make a successful team. We live for the challenge and the team and I are chomping at the bit for our next game – bring it on!
– Suffolk Punch – Women’s A Team Captain
notes from the President…
*You can find more photos from the day here and here
*As always, a massive THANK YOU to everyone who came to Newark to support – in the form of reffing, NSOing, selling merch, updating social media, and the all important CHEER SQUAD!
*Our next Women’s Champs game is coming up on the 11th of March – we’ll be in Swindon facing up against Oxford Wheels of Gory!
See you soon, sports fans!