Who would’ve guessed that our trip to France was…TOTALLY FRIGGIN’ AMAZING! We had fun, we played hard and won the after party (rather handsomely I might add). Team spirit was strong and everybody had a ball. If somebody doesn’t already know, we lost to Quad Guards of Toulouse 84-280 and won our hosts Kamiquadz 190-166.
Best game so far – on the right spot
I would go as far as claim that the first game against QG was the best derby Bros have ever played. Opponent played with all of their best players. They were big, strong and had a lot more experienced players than we. Fortunately we too had some pretty good players… Wesley Crusher and Gay Ski played blindingly well and there’s no doubt in my mind that those two are right now top level jammers in Europe. After some trouble with offense in previous games, our blockers decided to level up. With some brilliant maneuvering they consistently got our jammers quickly out of the pack. Suddenly there was chemistry and that made things a lot easier.
Blockers had their hands full with Quad Guards fielding a cavalry of seriously strong jammers led by one Mr. Furieux. I don’t think they had anticipated our walls to be that tough though. They had to work really hard for the leads and, as I said, we got our jammers almost always right out of the gate snatching at their heels. When our walls broke, we had insane 1 on 1 blocking from Urpo Kekkonen, smashing hits from Cpt. Blockvious and Papparazzi etc. It was a joy to behold.
At half time we were pretty pleased with our game even though it was about 40-145 or something. Still we started second half on fire and got 3 leads out of four and kept them scoreless in many jams. QG even had to take a team timeout since they had so much trouble getting leads anymore. First 10 or 15 min were very even, but then we ran into some penalty trouble and Furieux scored a ton, and the point differential returned to what is was in the first half.
I could go on and on about different moments in that game, but I can still see QG jammer’s face when first Papparazzi took him out with a huge collision, jammer recovered and went past him only to be on the receiving end of Cpt. Blockvious’ thunderous hit who then promptly recycled him. Uuno Turhapuuro also showed some flair with a sweet 5-point apex jump after slipping to lead status against Mr. Furieux.
At the end Quad Guards were the better team with a solid win. Still, Rollin’ Bros with only 11 man roster can be pleased that the difference between us and Europe’s best is slowly diminishing. Lots of work to do, but we’re getting there eventually.
Pushing through the second game
After 1 hour rest we proceeded in taking down host team Kamiquadz. They were smaller team (compared to QG) with good skaters and a fierce, competitive nature. We started well and got small lead of 20 points pretty quickly. Maybe they expected us to be more tired from the previous game and were probably a bit surprised when Crusher and Ski promptly started to batter their defence.
It could be over-confidence caused by great start, our bodies just started to feel the effects of the last game, or maybe Kamiquadz just decided to start playing really hard. Anyway we got penalties, they scored. They got penalties, we scored. Things went back and forth and there were some heated moments. Kamiquadz weren’t there to lie down and they fought back with everything they got. Both teams resorted to desperate last-ditch hits and as a result there was piles of sweaty, fallen men and ones who were skating were heading towards penalty box. It probably wasn’t very easy for the ref crew…! Tempo was high and nobody wanted to give in.
We were about 30-50 points ahead most of the time. During the last 15 minutes things started to go south with penalties piling up as panic started to creep in with Kamis racking up points. With about 6 minutes to go we changed it so that only Wesley and Gay Ski jammed and boys really stepped up and powered through to leads time and time again. Kamiquadz got unlucky with skater expelled after accidentally sliding through our jammers legs and there was no coming back as Crusher decimated them on a power jam.
This was unbelievably hard game and our roster was stretched to its limits, but we pulled it through. After the whistle emotions ran high and yes… there were tears, I have to admit it. Completing this game meant that we had played those 5 games and MRDA membership is getting close. Just the paperwork and we’re almost there with our big goal in sight!
Tampere Rollin’ Bros would like to thank our hosts Kamiquadz for being awesome bunch of hard-nosed skaters and wonderful people! We hope to see you again soon. Also big thank you goes as well to Quad Guards, referees, NSO’s and all the people involved making this trip and games possible!
Rollin’ Bros Tour de France roster was:
Wesley Crusher #1701
Uuno Turhapuuro #19
Varvi Lind #303
Urpo Kekkonen #4I
Cpt. Blockvious #42
Kenny SuperPowers #55
Gay Ski #5HP
Menstruella BENCH COACH
Jabba the Hott LINEUP MANAGER
Kenny SuperPowers / Tampere Rollin’ Bros
All pics copyright to Yann Corneille Photography