In their second and final warm-up bout before the World Cup in December, Team Scotland faced the best that the North of England could present, newly incorporated as the “Northern All-Stars”.
Having already triumphed over the rest of Scotland, how would the national team fare against their nation’s auld enemies?
While the very first jam of the bout might have implied the two teams were equally matched, both jammers exiting the pack neck-and-neck for a no-score, matters rapidly developed differently.
In the very next jam, Team Scotland’s Blazin’ Phoenix (28) was handed an early power jam, Miss Wired (D31) getting herself sent off for forearm blocking while trapped behind a strong front wall. Helped by the superior tactical cohesion of her team, Blaze picked up 17 points to start the home team scoring.
“Superior cohesion” was the theme of the first half of the period: the Northern All-Stars pack hampered by never having skated together before, Team Scotland easily outmanoeuvred them on the track.
By Jam 4, Marla Mayhem (13) didn’t even need a power-jam to pick up another Â 15 points, the All-Stars’ Rocky Ell Boa (340) unable to pass a strong Scottish defence for the entire jam. A similar high-point was the seventh jam, Team Scotland taking advantage of a 4-3 pack advantage to take a knee, allowing Marla Mayhem to repeat her performance from the 4th jam, rocketing around the track while pivot Marshall Lawless (f104) and Lily Lethal (5) held back Marie Bayonet (92) in the pack. 20 points later, the jam was finally called, the All-Stars jammer only just having completed her initial pass.
Of course, a power jam can also help; jam 9 seeing Miss Wired hand one to Team Scotland’s Mistress Malicious, who was happy to take the opportunity to equal her fellow teammember’s score, picking up 20 points before the jam ended.
By the end of jam 10, two thirds of the way through the period, Team Scotland had picked up 90 points, without allowing the All-Stars any concrete opportunities to score.
90 TS : 0 NAS!
Overconfidence can be a weakness, of course. Team Scotland’s faith in their jammers was tested in the very next jam: exiting the pack just behind All-Stars’ Roxy Rascal (86), Marla Mayhem quickly overtook for some aggressive defensive blocking, only to be sent off for blocking out of bounds.
Despite being handed a power jam, exceptional defensive blocking (particularly from pivot Danger Mouth) prevented the All-Stars from scoring more than a single grand-slam passâ€¦ although at the cost of two blockers (Fight Cub (182) and Armed Bandit (01)) in the sin-bin.
With the pack advantage, and the buzz of finally having broken their duck, the All-Stars took a knee into jam 12, releasing Miss Wired to instantly slip through the pack and lead jammer status. Team Scotland’s Clinically Wasted was more than a match for the All-Stars’s blockers, however, and completed her own initial pass with not too much of a delay. Some emphatic positional blocking from Minnie Riot at the front of the pack ruined the All-Stars’ chance of a perfect scoring pass, and by the time Miss Wired had recovered and called it, her opponent had scored as well.
With Team Scotland dragging their heels at the start of jam 13 in an attempt to get Armed Bandit back on the track, it took an intentional knee from the All-Stars to release the jammers. Madame Whipcrash (29) proceeded to power straight through the TS wall, although without lead-jammer status; attempting to follow, Blazin’ Phoenix instead took a fall. In the time it took her to recover, and reescape from the pack, the All-Stars picked up their own points. There was worse for Team Scotland in store, however, with an awesome assist by Armed-Bandit truck-and-trailering Blaze through the pack ending with a poorly positioned back-block sending the Scottish jammer to the sin-bin. Despite the advantage, the All-Stars failed to make an impact on the score before the jam was called, bringing the score to;
95 TS : 12 NAS
Obviously keen to take advantage of their remaining power jam, the All-Stars took a knee into the 14th and penultimate jam of the period, but a lovely hip-and-shoulder block from Crazylegs put paid to Vic Tori Bee (4)’s chances of a fast scoring pass; on the jammer’s second attempt, Crazylegs was no less persistent, positionally blocking the jammer until she was forced out of bounds by the slowing pack; the additional stress was enough to force a mistake from Vic Tori Bee, seeing her sent off for a (track cut) penalty! Now the power-jam was on the other foot, and, even with two blockers in the sin-bin, Blazin’ Phoenix well, blazed, her way through her scoring pass straight from the sin-bin. Some nice blocking from Lily Lethal, pivot, and Wild Oates helped their jammer on her scoring passes, and also slowed the pack down, bringing home 12 points before time was up.
With Vic Tori Bee having been sent off for a second-time just at the very end of the previous jam, Team Scotland entered the final jam of the period on their knees, launching Marla Mayhem effortlessly around the inside-line of the pack and into lead jammer status. Keeping out of the sin-bin was a separate problem for the Scottish skaters, however, Minnie Riot earning herself a trip to the sin-bin for illegal procedures. The numbers disadvantage wasn’t enough to stop Marla from continuing to effortlessly pick up passes, but it was enough to provide a returning Vic Tori Bee with a very easy initial pass, proceeding to outpace her opponent on the track to score for the All-Stars before the jam was called!
With that last second change, the scores at the first period whistle stood:
121 TS : 17 NAS
If the Northern All-Stars needed to show fighting spirit, they could have done worse than the opening seconds of the first jam of the second period, Miss Wired shrugging off a hip-check by Team Scotland’s Wild Oates to take lead jammer, albeit with Mistress Malicious only 1/3 of the track behind her. Avoiding a pile-up on her scoring pass, the All-Stars jammer was still slowed enough for her opponent to pass her, Mistress Malicious picking up 3 points to her one.
If the first jam started promisingly for the Northern team, the same couldn’t be said of the second. pivot Lily Lethal clearing the inside line for Team Scotland jammer Clinically Wasted, whilst the All-Stars Madame Whipcrash remained trapped behind a strong wall for the rest of the jam. With her opponent bottled up safely, Clinically Wasted took the opportunity to pick up a double handful of points.
Similarly, despite an excellent take-down by vice-captain Dynamite Stix (89) , Marla Mayhem still managed to make her way through the pack before Betty BasHer (33) thanks to excellent blocking at the head of the pack by pivot Crazylegs. A grand slam pass later, and the jam ended with the score 3 jams into the second period at:
154 TS : 18 NAS
Despite a brief resurgence for the All-Stars in jam 4, a depleted pack for Team Scotland, and the taking of a knee, enabling Rocky Ell Boa to take the inside line to lead jammer, while TS’ Mistress Malicious (99) struggled with an excellent defence led by All-Stars pivot Roxy Rascal (86), events returned to normal soon after. The fifth jam of the period saw another safe single scoring pass for Blazin’ Phoenix (an up-to-strength Team Scotland pack placing the All-Stars front wall out of play on the initial pass, before walling Miss Wired at the front themselves), and while both Marshall Lawless (f104) and Vic Tori Bee managed some points in the sixth, it was Team Scotland who took the majority.
Approaching one-third of the period down, the score now stood at:
162 TS : 24 NAS
the home team keeping their points differential roughly constant against a more coordinated performance from the All-Stars.
After a no-score in jam 7, Marla Mayhem through the pack first, but without lead jammer, allowing Rocky Ell Boa to call it on her emergence, jam 8 opened with some impressively agile skating seeing Wheelie Coyote (22) effortlessly zoom around the outside line to take lead jammer. Attempting to follow through the inside-line saw Team Scotland’s Clinically Wasted sent to the sin-bin for track-cutting; taking Marshall Lawless as a goat, the All-Stars managed to offset the home team’s efforts to speed the pack up, and Wheelie Coyote took home 9 points before the power-ham ended.
This was to be the start of something of reversal for the All-Stars, as in the first period; the next two jams seeing scoring for the underdogs. In Jam 9, Manc Zappa (623) providing some excellent blocking on Blazin’ Phoenix’s scoring pass, enabling their own Roxy Rascal to pass her on her own pass (despite having been far off the track by pivot Crazylegs moments before). In jam 10, a TS knee to exploit a very sparse pack on both sides didn’t play as well as they might have hoped, Marla Mayhem taking lead jammer, but with Miss Wired only moments behind her. Declining to call the jam, Marla decided to rely on her blockers ability to deal with her opponent on the scoring pass; they did, but Miss Wired only forfeited a single point with respect to Marla. Those jams brought the score so far to
167 TS : 41 NAS
With four successive jams where the points differential was decreasing or almost constant, Team Scotland wanted the chance to reinforce their hold on the bout. The eleventh jam was the perfect opportunity, a depleted All-Stars pack dropping to only two blockers on track within seconds of the whistle after pivot Vic Tori Bee was sent off,Â Mistress Malicious found the resulting opposition predictably easy to pass, taking a single scoring pass through a fast moving pack before calling it just in time to prevent Rocky Ell Boa from picking up anything herself.
Still with the numbers advantage on the track, Team Scotland sped up the next jam with a knee, and Clinically Wasted repaid them by taking lead jammer within seconds. Wheelie Coyote (22), on the other hand, found herself quickly trapped by a wall of Scottish blockers at the front, her one attempt at breaking free quickly quashed by pivot Lily Lethal. Showing tremendous agility at times, the Team Scotland jammer weaved her way through the pack 4 times before time was called, bring the score to:
190 TS : 41 NAS
Not wanting that to happen again in jam 13, a determined Modest Moose blocked out Blazin’ Phoenix from scoring a complete pass, although she couldn’t help her own jammer (Miss Wired) escape the pack herself. The damage limitation continued in jam 14, Rocky Ell Boa not able to take lead jammer, but certainly able to catch up to Marla Mayhem before she did too much damage.
The 15th jam looked like it was going to go much the same way, Clinically Wasted bursting through and leaping along the inside-line to take lead jammer for the Scottish team. This time, however, she pushed things a little too close, picking up a track cutting penalty that sent her to the sin-bin, and handed Vic Tori Bee the chance to score some points for the All-Stars again. Despite her efforts, national team’s blocking was as effective as always, and she only managed to score a single pass before the power jam ended.
Miss Wired tried to continue the All-Stars tradition of a few good jams after a power-jam, but a last second block from pivot Crazylegs broke her initial pass, at the cost of the TS pivot getting herself sent off. Miss Wired ended up leaving the pack mere seconds ahead of TS’s Clinically Wasted, and called the jam no-score.
The next two jams were a return to business as usual for the second period, Fight Cub and Marla Mayhem picking up conservative scores before calling their jams. Marla’s jam, however, deserves special comment for the impressive defensive jamming demonstrated by the Team Scotland jammer: leaving the pack only seconds ahead of Roxy Rascal, she kept the All-Stars jammer from passing her, slowly pushing reducing her speed, before knocking her to the track just in front of the gaining pack.
After that display of jamming expertise, the scores stood at
205 TS : 46 NAS
with only minutes left in the bout!
Blazin’ Phoenix once again took lead jammer for Team Scotland in the penultimate jam of the bout, with the All-Stars’ Madame Whipcrash eventually managing to win past a strong front wall to the pack, after Fight Cub was sent off for an accidental head-block. Despite her lead, the Scottish jammer was determined to waste as much time as possible, to prevent another jam, and played it a little too close, calling the jam just a split second after her opponent picked up her first two points.
Fortunately for the All-Stars, there was still just enough time to call a quick time-out and force a final jam out of the bout. The 20th and final jam was their last chance to show what they were capable of, and with one Team Scotland blocker in the sin-bin, the Northern team took the risk of starting on a knee. It paid off, Modest Moose weaving her way through the pack to take lead jammer, despite tenacious blocking by Wild Oates which eventually saw her sent to the sin-bin for blocking out of play. Joining her was Team Scotland jammer Mistress Malicious, who had picked up her own penalties trying to pass strong walling by the All-Stars. With a power jam and only Minnie Riot and Fight Cub on track to block her, Modest Moose couldn’t really be prevented from scoring; despite excellent performances from the Team Scotland skaters, they could always be placed out of play ahead of the track. As soon as the rest of Team Scotland escaped from the sin-bin, the scoring trend was closed down, but not before 10 points went the All-Stars way, leaving the final score at:
214 TS : 58 NAS
Aftermath and Awards
Although the score speaks to a fairly comprehensive win for Team Scotland over their Northern opponents, it can’t be said that the All-Stars didn’t give their all. While their main weakness was simply never having bouted together before, it was clear in the second half that Team Scotland’s was a certain attraction to the sin-bin. We can be sure that the team’s coaches, who were taking notes during the bout, will be working on this in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, the Northern All-Stars are themselves planning further events; watch out for future announcements about possible upcoming bouts featuring them.
The awards for this bout were:
Team Scotland:Â Lily Lethal
Northern All-Stars: Modest Moose
Team Scotland: Marla Mayhem
Northern All-Stars: Miss Wired
Most Valuable Player
Team Scotland:Â Danger Mouth
Northern All-Stars: Brie Larceny