MALMO, SWEDEN – The first game of Day 2 saw #6 Rainy City rise up against #3 London Brawling, the winner to advance to Championships, and take on the winner of #2 Denver Roller Derby v #7 Stockholm Roller Derby at 8pm CEST later today.
The game was defined by slow pushing braced walls that often separated into two distinct formations often linked by a Rainy City bridge, that would at times break off either to provide much-needed offense or offer additional support to Rainy City’s wall. For the majority of the game, Rainy City commanded the lead, even if only by a few points. Halfway through the second half, London was able to take advantage of Rainy City’s blocker penalties to build momentum and take the lead, ending the game on top, 124-119.
While the game was close for the majority of the first half, Rainy City started the game out in promising form – with two lead grabs in a row, holding London scoreless till the third jam into the game. In fact, Rainy City claimed lead for all but two of the first 8 jams, forcing London into star passes and dominating scoring.
Once they reclaimed lead jammer status, however, London did manage to hold Rainy City scoreless for 5 jams which resulted in a 25 point lead for the London Brawling. This signaled a clear turn of fortune for London, and they used that switch to firmly put themselves on top for this game, using their grinding braces to reinforce that message.
London closed out the half with a hard earned lead status, and eeked out 3 points bringing the half time score to 69-70, with Rainy City in the lead.
Out of the half, London started with 2 blockers in the box allowing for Rainy City to pick up lead and a quick 3 points to London’s 1. Arocha came out of the box and immediately picked up a third consecutive penalty. Rainy City continued to take full advantage of the pack advantage, shutting London out, while collecting another 8 points.
London was willing to pull off the star in hopes of a star pass and leave a formidable tripod for Rainy City to fight through. However, London was often not able to fully use their pivot either for a pass or for effective offense, as Rainy City did a great job holding back the jammer and positionally blocking the pivot in these moments.
Another power jam in favor of Rainy City allowed for a quick lead jammer status, a sharp contrast to the low and slow pushing that returned as soon as London returned to full blocker strength. Just 10 minutes into the half Rainy City was able to use a string of lead jammer statuses to slowly add to their score while holding London to just 1 point in the second half, 97-70.
London Brawling called a team time out and was able to claim lead and 8 pints after Rainy City lost two blockers to the box as Rainy City, star in hand, struggled in the back of the pack against a full blocker contingent from London. Just as Rainy City was able to use the light pack to earn a quick lead status, Rogue Runner escaped the pack and racked up 23 points, enabling London to tie the score 101 -101, as Rainy City added some last minute points after returning from the box.
Rainy City took a team time out. After a long fight to emerge for the initial pass in the returning jam, Rainy City’s jammer collected a blocking with the head penalty when almost through, allowing for London to claim lead with only 30 seconds left in the jam and claim London’s first lead change 106-101 of the game.
London’s Arocha then fouled out with 9:08 left in the game, but the team wasn’t to be dissuaded. Then an out of play assist sent Rainy City’s jammer to the box, allowing Rogue Runner to win an early lead as Rainy City proceeded to bleed blockers to the box, bringing London’s lead to 122-101.
With all Rainy City’s blockers back on the track, Rainy City was able to claim their first lead in 7 jams, as a power quad held London back for a 5-0 jam. Rainy City claimed their second lead in a row but was forced to call off the jam after Kid Block, now with the star, approached the back of the half.
The third consecutive jam in Rainy City’s favor seemed like it might change their fate, but the next jam saw an early lead claimed by Rogue Runner after ducking on the outside line. A track cut penalty against Rogue in that jam slowed London’s progress as the game closed with London 124-119.
London advances to play tonight at 8pm (2pm EDT/11am PDT) against the winner of Denver v Stockholm, and will qualify for Champs. While Rainy City plays Charm City at 2pm on Sunday (8am EDT/5am PDT).
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