Rainy City Roller Derby of Manchester hosted the first European WFTDA tournament this year on the second weekend of April. This offered our A and B teams a variety of tough games both as athletes and spectators, but also a rare chance to travel together. Many B teamers took in all the joy by flying in already on Thursday with the A team. We were headed for a tough game against Europe´s highest ranked B team Rainy City Tender Hooligans. The sting of our recent loss in a Suomi Cup tournament freshly on our mind we kept our chins down and having followed the games of Rainy´s A team we knew we were up for a challenge. Before the weekend our position in the Flat Track Stats rankings was 18th in Europe and Tender Hooligans were placed in 8th place.
Following the tournament weekend was not only fun and games, as Saturday´s matchup with Tender Hooligans and Crime City B team of Malmö gave us a chance to spy on our opponents. We were ready with our binoculars and notepads to see how these two teams fared against each other. We had faced Crime City B twice on the track in the last six months, so this opportunity to compare their play on the track was eagerly awaited.
Sunday at breakfast you could sense that it was finally game day for the Queen B´s. Hotel buffet was completed with own cheeses and separately ordered porridges were carried from the kitchen in a continuous flow. Fastest eaters had time for a nap before the warm ups and what would be game day excitation without last minute panic about a passport gone missing? I was still in a state of distress when I joined my team in the dressing room finding them confident and determined.
On the bench in the dressing room was a wide setting of HRD knowhow: We had crossover players from both A and C teams, and soon to join us from the A team game Lotta, who was about to have their last game with the Queen B´s. Offence patterns had been tuned to their peak during the last weeks, starpasses trained to perfection with the pivots and A team had taken care of toughening us up in our pre game scrimmages and practices. Our regular bench line up was missing our coach Alex who was representing our country in the Mens roller derby world cup at the same time, but luckily our head coach Minna had the whole A team bench coaches at their disposition. We were ready.
The first jam of the game went to the home team who had the advantage of familiar floor and country. Starting from the second jam our team pulled our game together and started working our way in the lead keeping the opposing team at zero for several consecutive jams. From the jammers especially Mirka Virolainen did a steady calm job pushing the Manchester blockers out of their way with an accuracy that earned them an 80 lead percent. As a jammer I was particularly happy with offences made all the way together as a team. Exceptional individual offence was served especially by Lotta.
The beginning of second period might have been fatal to Helsinki players as Tender Hooligans were able to score 18 points in one jam. After a time out we quickly fixed the situation when the opponents ran into penalty trouble and had to defend almost the whole jam with only two blockers abeling us to score an impressive 29 points. Tender Hooligans spent a lot more time in the sin bin on the second half than the Queen B´s which showed in the final score: The game ended 225 – 149 for us. The game was quite tight when both teams had five players on the track, so I think that Sunday was not the true testament to Rainy City B:s sharpest moves. As an opponent they were really first class and our team was left with a professional and respectful impression of them. We´ll be glad to do a rematch whenever the opportunity presents itself!
On my behalf I can say that the Queen B´s really showed their best game and gave a fair warning to London Roller Derby B team, who we´ll be facing in a month. The Brawl Saints benefited from the weekends tournament rising to the position of Europe´s highest ranked B team in the place of Rainy City Tender Hooligans, who went down to 14th of the continent. Queen B´s bettered their placement three positions, so we will be heading to the 12.5. Tripleheader as the 15th team in Europe, and we are not going to stop there. Time to shake the rankings some more next month!
112 What the Fuchs
17 Mirka Virolainen
472 Vuokko Halkonen
666 Jonna Ojala
88 Varpu Knuuttila
613 Jemina Lugora
Text by Millis #394
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