On Friday the 28th of November we started our journey towards Birmingham and a two-day tournament with great enthusiasm and dashing looks: after a long and extensive process of design, market study and material testing we were lucky to get our fresh-from-the-oven shirts with us to the second tournament in Brostory (we are ever so grateful, My Little Red Shorts!). On the other hand the atmosphere was somewhat excited and eagerly waiting, since there were three new skaters on board, for whom this tournament would cost their virginity for playing against all-mens team. For the rest of us the last time was nearly a year ago as well. We had been gathering the funding for the trip for several months -thank you very much, each and every volunteer and supporter! What would become out of this…?
In the voyage with us:
1701 Wesley Crusher
19 Uuno Turhapuuro
2 Mega Man
23 Suicide Bunny
303 Varvi Lind
42 Captain Blocvious
4I Urpo Kekkonen
55 Kenny Superpowers
5HP Gay Ski
& Finn McCruel
The first preparations began already on Friday with the captains meeting and by getting to know the track. The very smartest of us realized to take all the tools with them, allowing them to optimize their wheels for the quite grippy, painted concrete -like track. The rest of us had to deal with just checking the track with the existing wheels, rest of them being left in the hotel room, or in the store. It is worth mentioning that it blockviously took some more love to get used to the track when one is skating with those proper all-purpose black and round wheels. After the more or less thoroughly testing it was well over our bedtime, and we slept like logs.
Our enthusiasm was overflowing in the morning, as we were already waiting for the breakfast to be served at 7 AM. After fueling up we headed to the venue, and were already in the middle of our first team meeting and warm up before 9 AM. This is it then: we have F-I-V-E 30 minutes games ahead of us!!!
First Game: The home team, Crash Test Brummies
In the first game we took off like a rocket. Yep, that is, with huge rumble and noise towards the unknown, wishing we were going at least somewhat right direction -we had absolutely no idea how tough it would be and how would our competence compare to the other teams. Nonetheless, the game started out quite well, as during the first three jams we were able to get 9 points and leave the opponent with none. Our rocket was however a bit rusty, and the Brummies snatched dozens of points in the next several jams, leaving us to our launch pad. Luckily in the second half we were able to re-ignite our game and put our walls back in shape, and after few power jams in our favor, we were able to gain a considerable lead.
We remained calm and focused in our own defense, and some jammer-sized holes were found more easily towards the end of the game -we just ignored the scores and focused in the next jam. This seemed to work, and after the first game gathered up from a bad looking situation we were happy to proceed to the next games. After all, Crash Test Brummies was ranked 10th in the European Roller Derby Rankings, and they had a Team England player Rex Tangle jamming for them. We assumed that other teams would be as well roughly at this level, and by winning the Brummies we sort of proved to ourselves that we are in the right place and wouldn’t maybe end up laughed out of the tournament too badly.
Second Game: Ronny, Ronny, Ronny. De Ronny’s
After a fair break of an hour we were ready for the next opponent: a dozen of Ronnys from two germanies teams. Yep, all the players in De Ronny’s were called “Ronny” -how convenient for the announcers! Their game strategy could not have been more different than ours, which caused quite some troubles for as in the track. We had again some problems getting our stuff together, and we were forced to play on the opponents terms. Regarding of our struggles we were able to keep lead during the whole game.
Some problems were also encountered right in the beginning of the game, as our newest newcomer Gay Ski hit his young head while jamming and had to sit for the rest of the game as a precaution. Also Wesley Crusher had faced some roughing up in the previous game, so we were a bit short of jammers. Luckily young Gay Ski avoided heavier concussions and we managed with ten players -thanks belongs to our calm coaches who took the control like bosses. Besides those two bad-asses, we won with hard work and by forcing it. Luckily we had another one hour break to catch our breath, throw some Flap Jacks to our systems, discuss the Ronny-game and focus on the next game.
Third Game: May the Force be With You! Power of Scotland
Three o’clock local time was Scotland time, when we faced the Scottish National Team. Team Finland wasn’t unfortunately able to bout against the Scots in the World Champs, but they were sharing the seventh place, whereas Finns were ninth. Some changes were made to PoS roster, and there were seven TF players playing in the Bros-shirt, so we were anticipating a tough and even game!
The game was indeed even in the beginning, and our game started to work out real nicely. Unfortunately Wesley, who had been really effective against the Scottish walls suffered several penalties, and since in these 30 min games only four penalties were allowed, we changed Captain Blockvious to the jammer rotation. Scotland ensured their lead towards the end of the game, and even though we found our strength in this battlefield, the Scots won the game by fifty points. The good spirit remained with us, and we were very happy with our performance and with the fact that THIS was exactly why we came here in the first place.
”We’re number three!” -the scores:
Saturday (2x15min games)
Tampere Rollin’ Bros -
Crash Test Brummies
Tampere Rollin’ Bros -
Tampere Rollin’ Bros -
Power of Scotland
Tampere Rollin’ Bros -
The Expendables 3D
Tampere Rollin’ Bros -
Quads of War
Sunday (2x30min game)
Crash Test Brummies -
Tampere Rollin’ Bros
Fourth Game: “Great, they got a small army. What have we got?” The Expendables 3D
The possibly most expected game of the day was against the all-star team, mostly gathered from Wales and Scotland: The Expendables 3D. As the name implies, this was the third time the team was established of some of the most interesting players, and there has been some Finnish blood INSIDE the Expendables uniform in the previous years! The star player of this all-star team was the Canadian National team jammer Fluster Cluck (good luck with this one, announcers…).
As expected, the Expendables started with strong, strong, strong game. We were however cool as the slush we left in Finland, and managed to focus in our own stuff. In the halftime the scores were as tight and interesting (and an anagram) as 34-43 to E 3Ds favor. The game stayed real tight until our unfortunate jammer penalty in the last few minutes, which gave Expendables a too good chance to gain a strong lead. Again, regardless of the loss, we were ecstatic after the awesome game -it was really, really nice to play against the Expendables, not to mention the fact that we managed to offer the most even game against this winning team!
Fifth Game: Have Mercy on Our Feet! Quads of War
We jumped to the last game of the day practically directly after the previous one. Our feet were starting to get a bit heavy, after all, we had started the first game over ten hours ago -ten happy hours full of warm ups, team meetings and action. At this point of the day we could have -in theory -made it to the final, but this would have required a huge point differential in this last game.
We faced the same difficulties that we had against the De Ronnys, as it was challenging to maintain our stuff together. We kept the Quads of War pointless for quite some time, but in the end of first period Quads showed what they got, and in the second period we saw huge number of lead changes. It was a really exciting end for the day, since in the end we won by only two points!
Wrapping Up the Day
After two losses and three wins we would face the hosts, Crash Test Brummies again tomorrow in the bronze game. Our defeaters, the Expendables 3D and Power of Scotland, would meet in the final, and De Ronnys and Quads of War would battle for the 5th place.
After the successful day we were happy to talk it through while eating dinner. We agreed that we had seen some great progress during the day, both as a team and in the individual level. Both line-ups worked seamlessly towards the end of the day. Uuno Turhapuuro played the best games in his life so far, and Captain Blockvious rolled around a pretty impressive one-man jammer-punishment-show with those roundish blackish wheels of his.
Sunday, Bronze and Sunsets
Our Sunday morning was almost as easy as a Sunday morning, as the first game began as late as 10 AM. We watched enough of the first half to see how much De Ronnys had improved their team play during Saturday, and headed then to a soothing and team spirit lifting team meeting and to warm up our slightly sore muscles. Meanwhile, De Ronnys took a clear won.
1. The Expendables 3D
(IRE, WAL, SCO, CAN)
2. Power of Scotland (SCO)
3. Tampere Rollin Bros (FIN)
4. Crash Test Brummies (ENG)
5. De Ronnys (GER)
6. Quads of War (ENG)
Even though we had won the Brummies already once yesterday and evolved a lot after that, we didn’t think for one moment that they would make this game any easier for us. Our presumption turned out to be justified, but we managed to get a slight lead and maintain it with strong walls, well-timed offense and almost unbelievably skilled and enduring jammers. The second half was ours, and we played the same game as before, which led to a good result- we were happy to ensure that the first victory was not just good luck. During the last jam three of our players fouled out after seven penalties, which implies something about the intensity and effort seen on the track. We gave our best shot, some even a bit more. Eventually we won by a relatively fair lead, and got the bronze.
It sure was nice to watch the Final game after a well-played tournament, and the Power of Scotland sure gave a good challenge to the Expendables with their roster of ten players. It seemed that the weekend had been a tough and wearing one for them as well, and the Expendables took the victory.
Our bronze-level achievement was awarded with a colossal and ineffably shiny trophy. With the medals in our necks we headed to the after party, from which we unfortunately were a bit late. Luckily a bunch of Scots and Germans were kind enough to party with us a bit more after the first last call. We got to borrow the long longed for moustache wax from rEd Paron. We offered our coaches small drinks (Tequila Sunrise -jugs were two for one!). The atmosphere was very festive and athletic as we galloped through some bars with our new friends.
-Jabba & Urpo