Sunday 13th of January saw the Rainy City Roller Girls take first place in a Sur5al exhibition tournament at Tattoo Freeze, hosted by the UKRDA. Sur5al rules are different that normal derby play – if you haven’t heard of it before, here’s the lowdown:
- 15 teams of 5 skaters play each other once in a full 2 minute jam
- There’s no calling off the jam
- For each jam, 5 points are awarded for a win, 2 points for a draw and zero points for a loss, additionally each lead jammer status earns 1 point
- Major penalties are awarded as normal
- Points can be deducted from a jammer delaying entry to the penalty box to release the opposition jammer.
- The Ultimate Sur5ors are the team with the highest number of Sur5al points.
The Heat is On…
The tournament was divided up into a number of heats, where 6 teams took to the benches to play.
The Rainy City Roller Girls Sur5al team played in lilac, and were:Missy Rascal Dee-Mise RED Randi Razorlegs Belle-istic
RCRG vs Glasgow Roller Derby
We started off in heat 2, against our friends, Glasgow Roller Derby, who played in yellow. We meet on the track every Halloween, for our annual face-off, so it was great to see familiar faces on our first jam. 2012’s home bout at The Thunderdome was close, with Glasgow taking the win with a close scoreline.
Randi Razorlegs was up to jam first for Rainy City, and gets lead jammer, earning that extra point. She completes 3 scoring passes before dropping into “5th blocker” position to assist her team mates.
Sur5al rules mean that point difference between the teams doesn’t count – you just need to score more points than the other team to win the jam, and you won’t gain any more advantage by continuing to score. So once you’ve scored heavily, your jammer can be more effective as another blocker, to ensure that the opposing team can’t overtake you. This strategy can be particularly effective if any of your blockers are sent to the penalty box.
RCRG vs London Rockin’ Rollers
Next up in the first heat was London Rockin’ Rollers, playing in hot pink. It’s been a while since we played them back in May 2011, so we didn’t know what to expect. To make it easier on the officials, we wore white bibs for this jam.
Randi Razorlegs jams again, and a no pack situation allowed her to take lead jammer status and that valuable extra point. The Rainy City defense proved a problem for LRR, with strong walls, and Dee-Mise working alone at the back of the pack with some skilful backwards-blocking to hold up the LRR jammer, knocking her out-of-bounds and racing 20 feet behind the pack to force her to re-enter further back.
RCRG vs Kent Roller Girls
Our 3rd jam was against Kent Roller Girls, who wore dark purple. Randi quickly pushes through a dense pack to get lead jammer, whilst the flexible Rainy wall does its job. Missy Rascal forcing the jammer out of bounds on the outside, and making her re-enter way behind the pack. Strong pair work from Belle-istic and RED impede Kent’s progress further, and a back block penalty sees the Kent jammer in the box with just over a minute left on the clock. The power jam on, Randi Razorlegs needs to use some fancy footwork to skip around the agile Kent walls.
RCRG vs Leeds Roller Dolls
Next, it was the war of the roses, against our neighbours Leeds Roller Dolls, playing in black shirts. We love the dolls, and scrimmage with them from time to time, but haven’t met them on the track since September 2010.
A squeeze on the outside line from Dee-Mise makes an easy gap for Randi to jump through, and take lead jammer status. A jammer take-out from Missy Rascal on corner 2 sees the Leeds jammer cut the track and goes to the box just 20 seconds in, as Randi comes around for her first scoring pass. The Rainy advantage was short lived, as Randi also picks up a cut track penalty at the end of her second scoring pass, and the jammers switch. Leeds manage to get their jammer through the Rainy defense to complete her initial pass, and a scoring pass, which saw 3 Rainy blockers sent off. But the clock runs down before she can attack the weakened Rainy wall for a second scoring pass, so Rainy City take the win.
RCRG vs Big Bucks High Rollers
Next up, we faced Big Bucks High Rollers, who played in dark green shirts. We’ve never met in a bout before, and these ladies were tough! Randi gets through the pack first, by pushing the Big Bucks blockers out of the engagement zone, but isn’t awarded lead jammer status. She completes a scoring pass as the Big Bucks jammer gets through, and takes the lead jammer point, but goes to the box for a cut track penalty. A series of further Rainy penalties are awarded, and the power jam in Big Bucks favour sees them score. The jam finishes a draw.
The Rain Continues at Tattoo Freeze…
The next heats saw the Rainy team face Lincolnshire Bombers Roller Girls, Hellfire Harlots, Tiger Bay Brawlers, Birmingham Blitz Dames, Royal Windsor Roller Girls, Romsey Town Rollerbillies, London Roller Girls and Hull’s Angels Roller Dames,
Missy Rascal dons the jammer panty against Tiger Bay Brawlers, a formidable bunch, who visited The Thunderdome twice in the summer, to bout both our A and B teams. This jam was going to be a crucial one, as Tiger Bay were very close to us in points.
A solid performance by the Rainy City team put them at the top of the leaderboard, but the scores were close, and it was unclear whether other teams had enough jams left to play to catch them up. The tension and excitement peaked for the Rainy supporters as they keenly watched other teams battle it out in the penultimate heat. Wins for Leeds Roller Dolls and Birmingham Blitz Dames over Tiger Bay Brawlers reduced the Cardiff team’s chances of catching up, and the Rainy supporters went wild.
Rainy City went into the final heat with just one jam left to play against Dolly Rockit Rollers. We were now a player down – Randi Razorlegs having committed 7 major penalties, was ineligible to skate in the last jam. The 4 remaining Rainies presented a strong unit, and worked together to secure the win.
This could only mean one thing… We won the tournament!!
Ecstatic Rainy supporters flooded the track to congratulate their team on the win. After the traditional final lap and handslaps, the team were awarded the winners trophy at the Tattoo Freeze stage.
Additionally, Dee-Mise was given the award for the most jammer take-outs, joint with Kid Block from Tiger Bay Brawlers.
Dee-Mise: “First thing I did when I got home was jump in the bath with lots of Arnica bath soak. Then spent the next day rubbing arnica gel into everywhere that ached (which was pretty much my whole body!!). Those ladies at Tattoo Freeze sure fought hard on track and I’ll feel their efforts and skill for many days to come.”
RED: “I’m still on cloud nine if I’m honest. The whole day was very tiring; having to go on after gaps was hard, as it was like your first jam in an actual game every time. You know, that’s always the most nerve-racking one, but once you’re in the swing of things you settle in … Well you couldn’t do that.
The nerves got worse when trying to work out if Tiger Bay could catch us up in points, then watching their jams, it became so exciting! We wanted to win the last one even though we couldn’t lose so it was awesome when we did, and an amazing feeling winning the whole event. Still buzzing! Oh, and the support was something I had never experienced. Team mates giving their support verbally whilst on and off track was immense. And UGO Boss was, as always, brilliant, supportive and guided us throughout the day.”
Missy Rascal: “It totally felt like the whole league was part of the tournament, not just the 5 on the track. That’s what made it the most fun.”
Rainy City Roller Girls (Light Purple) 74
Tiger Bay Brawlers (Orange) 63
Big Bucks High Rollers (British Racing Green) 63
Glasgow Roller Derby (Yellow) 53
Kent Rollergirls (Dark Purple) 48
Leeds Roller Dolls (Black) 48
Hellfire Harlots (Purple) 46
London Rollergirls (Light Pink) 40
Birmingham Blitz Dames (Grey) 37
Royal Windsor Roller Girls (Royal Blue) 34
Dolly Rockit Rollers (Red) 33
Lincolnshire Bombers Roller Girls (White) 30
Hull Angels Roller Dames (Lime Green) 23
London Rockin Rollers (Hot Pink) 22
Romsey Town Rollerbillies (Light Blue) 13
To see more videos from the day, check out the Tattoo Freeze playlist on our YouTube channel.
Rainy City Roller Girls would like to thank the UKRDA for organising the event, to Tattoo Freeze for hosting it, to all the supporters who came to watch and cheer for all the teams, all the teams who skated their hearts out, and all the Referee and NSO crew who gave up their Sunday to do a whole day’s derby. We couldn’t play without you!
Thanks to David James Coxsell at In-Depth Photos for the awesome shots!