Starting this recap off like that really doesn't do justice to just how epic the first bout of the South West division of the 2014 Heartland series really was. Two bouts, four teams, and a handful of Stormtroopers courtesy of the UK Garrison of the 501st Legion made Episode 1: The Flat Track Menace truly out of this world.
In this, the first of a year full of bouts for the Heartland South West division, Severn Roller Torrent took on Wiltshire Roller Derby, while the hosts Surrey Roller Girls fought hard against Dorset Roller Girls.
SRT have a prestigious history within the Heartland series, being the unbeaten champions last year. The last time WRD met SRT, Severn were the dominant force, beating Wiltshire by 281 points. Nerves were obviously running high in the Wiltshire camp, as early penalty trouble for both jammers and blockers meant that SRT picked up a very early lead, putting 29 points on the board before WRD were even able to score. Despite Wiltshire putting up a valiant fight, the SRT Wall of Doom proved too tough for their jammers to break through with the first half finishing 154 – 5 in favour of SRT.
Despite the first jam back being strong for WRD, the second half played out much the same for Wiltshire. A small team of 11 skaters for Wiltshire, paired with SRT working their jammers hard, meant that WRD were never able to get a foothold. Another couple of big power jams finished off Wiltshire’s chances, and the bout finished on an eye-watering 333 – 17 to SRT. It was a great start to their campaign to retain their crown this year.
From two teams who had a history, to two unknown quantities. Dorset Roller Girls and Surrey Roller Girls had never met on track before, and neither team have many public games on the books. The hosts, SRG, turned up the theatrics with a Stormtrooper-led skate out, surely the first of its kind. However, DRG weren’t phased, and picked up lead in the first jam to grab an early 15-0 lead. Both teams got into early penalty trouble, with the box full of blockers SRG for several jams in a row, Unfortunately for Surrey, their jammer also got into penalty trouble, allowing DRG to get several power jams. Strong walls from Dorset meant that the half finished with a 155-32 lead for DRG.
Surrey were a different team in the second half, with stronger walls and faster jamming allowing them to begin to close in on DRG’s lead. Both teams continued to run in to penalty trouble, and this lead to two foul-outs, the first for Dorset’s Flash Gaudion, followed by Just Jess for SRG. Surrey fought to get over 100 points, but it looked like it was all over until a last minute time out was called, giving them one final jam. An error from the DRG jammer gave Surrey a power jam, and they took full advantage of it, smashing the century and ending the bout on 119 to Dorset’s 236.
Surrey once again put on a great show, and as a member of SRG I was once again proud to see how well put together the bout was, and how smoothly it ran. The score lines for each bout definitely don’t do justice to how exciting and fast-paced they were, and it was an amazing start to the South West division of the Heartland series, which is bigger and better than ever. Also, a big shout out to the refs and NSOs, who did an amazing job officiating two fast and furious bouts.
The next bout in the South West division is on Sunday 30th March, at Leisure@ Cheltenham. Dorset will try to knock down the unbeaten Severn, and Basingstoke and Plymouth will face off in their first game of the tournament.
Sylvia Bloodbath xx