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TX Hustlers Escape London With 84-63 Win

  • Photo: Mitesh Tailor
  • Photo: Mitesh Tailor
  • Photo: Mitesh Tailor
  • Photo: Mitesh Tailor
  • Photo: Mitesh Tailor
  • Photo: Mitesh Tailor
  • Photo: Mitesh Tailor

LONDON -- It’s been a big 12 months in the life of UK derby: our first European tournament, a swath of new leagues and new recruits, growing recognition for the sport, and blood, sweat and tears for the hundreds of women and men working to make it happen. So when London Rollergirls announced that the Texas Rollergirls, originators of roller derby itself, were coming over to put on a bootcamp and play their travel team, London Brawling, it felt like UK derby was reaching a new level.

Formed in 2006, LRG have spent the last four years inspiring, generously assisting, and ably dominating leagues across the UK. They’ve set the bar for the sport in Europe, easily defeating their closest European rivals by margins of two and three hundred points, so whilst the rest of us have been playing catch up with the LRG, we wanted to know whether they would still be playing catch up with the rest of the world. Recently accepted as the first European WTFDA apprentice league and currently preparing for a three game tour of the US East coast in April, London Brawling were ready to go calling to some more faraway towns, but were they finally going to get their asses kicked? This was the game with the answers.

The Texas Rollergirls, formed in 2003 and currently sitting in third spot in the DNN power rankings, looked ready to put their mark on the game. If there were spandex rankings in derby, and there should be, they would surely win prizes. The Hustlers went straight to business with a power lineup in the first jam, but Acute Angel was swiftly sent off for a track cut, giving London’s Sky Rockit a surprise 10 point power jam and putting the Texans on the back foot. But it wasn’t long before Molotov M Pale took 10 points and equalized. As the Hustlers took a single point to lead, only to have Brawling take one back to re-equalise, a pattern began to emerge: both teams working their defense, delivering split-second call offs, and waiting. This was a game of very few, but very crucial, opportunities – and plenty of surprises.

Neither side could hang onto the lead for long: when Stefanie Mainey, jamming for Brawling, was sent to the box, Molotov seized her moment to snag a 10 point lead for the Hustlers, only to have Mainey storm out in the next jam to juke her way to another 10, evening the score again at 21-21. Both sides inched forward, tussling for a few points, right up until the final jam of the period when Molotov took a trip to the box and opened up another power jam for London. Sky Rockit hopped straight through the pack on the inside line to take lead, and the Brawling defense trapped Curvette to haul the pack back and force the Hustlers’ remaining blockers to overstretch. Sky sucked up an audacious minor track cut and cruised out of the jam 10 points up, bringing the half time score to 39-30 for London.

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So proud of LRG

What an epic weekend!

We had NO idea what was going to happen going into the game, but to be able to lead or match for the majority of the game - even with Texecutioner strong power lineups from the Hustler side - was absolutely incredible!

Big props to the Texas Hustlers for coming all the way over and helping to make history. You were all awesome and we loved hosting you.

MVP for Hustlers - Belle Star
MVP for London - Stefanie Mainey

And in a surprise finish and by a close margin, London takes the after party!

Amazers!!!

Nice write up Mollie!

Amazers!!!

Dear Texas Hustlers (plus Hotrod Honey)
Thank you for the best day of my life.
Love
Raw Heidi
x

Dear rest of the US,
London is fun - come and play us!
Love
Raw Heidi
x

AHA!

Raw Heidi wrote:

Dear Texas Hustlers (plus Hotrod Honey)

Ringer with a passport!

I kid, of course.

Thanks Mollie!

awesome write-up, and thanks Texas!!!! re-match next year, right??

Mollie Cosh's Wordie Gosh!

Mollie - you word good! Much gooder than me!

But seriously, awesome weekend, awesome write-up.

~Ballistic~

amazing:

1) Photo #6 - looks like London is taking a page of of TXRG's shit-talking book
2) The Hustlers' uniforms (mesh. really.)
3) "Power ballads" !!!!
4) I think the only photo I've ever seen where Bloody Mary isn't smiling

xoxo
-Mox

HELLARAD
www.wearehellarad.com

OBPhoto

I don't remember her smiling as much during the Texas Shootout, but maybe that was because Sparkle Plenty was pulling those duties in 2007.

BTW - This photo from Joe Rollerfan? Yeah, anyone going against a Texas squad with Bloody on the roster needs to have this image in their head:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rollerfan/1686103518/

The actual caption should be "Don't Mess With Texas."

LOVE IT!

Great write up Mollie!!! Love you London,
Your Number 1 Fan,
Kitty DeCapitate

pip pip cheerio

While it's terribly bad form for a referee to comment on a bout he/she reffed (see photograph number 4!), I can't resist chiming in with huge kudos for the London Rollergirls.

Being previously somewhat familiar with both teams, I was really looking forward to seeing the looks on the London skaters five minutes into the first period when they would realize, 'oh crap, this really isn't going to be as easy as we hoped, we're going to have to fight for every point.'

But as it came to pass, it was the TEXAS skaters who had that look on their faces. The London skaters and bench were so composed, so consistent ... they took everything the Hustlers had to throw at them, and only gave up that one big home run in the very last jam. Throw out the last jam, and this was as even a matchup as one could possibly hope for, in an incredible defensive battle with huge hits by both sides. (And a LOT of 'em by Fox Sake.)

My favorite jam of the entire bout was unforgettable -- about halfway through the second period, tie game, and the London jammer gets thrown into the box fairly early in the jam. The remaining four London blockers played it PERFECTLY - - kept themselves about nine feet in front of the Hustler blockers and sped the pack up, as a unit. The Hustlers took the bait... and we were off to the races. It was a full-on one-minute top-speed sprint in which not a single Hustler was able to pick off a single London Brawler. The Hustlers kept waiting for a weak link in that LRG pack ... and they couldn't find it. The crowd ROARED with delight as the entire 1:00 jammer penalty was killed off without London giving up a single point. It was a magical moment when the sounds of the cheers (from the infield) made it obvious that the entire European crowd completely "got" the potential of well-played, defensive, brillliant TEAM roller derby, and that jam was where all that good stuff crystallized. Loudest cheers of the night - and without a single hit.

I am not so sure with Bette that the LRG won the after-party. I saw an awful lot of purple Hustlers still milling about at 2:30... 3:00... 3:30...

ok fair enough...

I think we could be realistic and say that actually the boot campers won the after party. :)

boot campers won the afterparty...

...and paid for it the next morning!

and the pic