[Editor's Note: GCRG's own Chris 'sMACDaddy' McDonald has been kind enough to contribute this extensive bout report for the first ever Quad Nations tournament held in Swansea. Some post-hoc formatting has been applied to his original text, and links have been added for those teams who don't have a flash-only website. The remaining words in this report are entirely his own.]
The tournament...Quad Nations!
The battleground...the Cwrt Herbet Sports centre in Swansea!
4 amazing teams, 10 bouts, 2 days and a whole load of emotion!
This was the first 2 day tournament ever to be held in Wales and my goodness did the Swansea league put on a show! They invited the cream of the crop from all corners of the UK to their home to compete for the coveted Golden Skate.
The first day would see all the teams face off against each other in 30 minute bouts to determine the seedings for the second day. From the minute you set foot in the hall, you could feel the excitement in the air. The track was being laid by the amazing crew of helpers and NSO's. Stall holders were setting up, the VIP seating was being blown up (they were inflatable, not explosive) and the skaters were trying to get themselves into the right frame of mind for what was sure to be an epic weekend of derby action.
Unfortunately, there were some issues for one team early on. The Belfast Banshees (who undoubtedly had the farthest to travel for this tournament) had experienced an issue with their ferry and still hadn't arrived! But they were on their way and after a quick restructuring of the arranged bouts, it was time to get the action underway.
The first bout would see the Swansea Slayers take on Severn. these two had bouted against each other once already this year in March and Severn had come out on top. Would the Slayers be out for revenge? Being that it was only
a 30 minute bout, there were some tentative steps from both teams in the early going. Neither wanted to give anything away, but both realised they would need to conserve energy for the long weekend ahead. Power jams were fairly limited but Scarlett Shadow of Severn and The Mortician of Swansea were sometimes jamming like there was no-one else on track! Both put in a strong opening bout showing. Hope fully the other teams were taking notes. As the 30 minutes ran out, Severn came away victorious in this first bout, scoring 81 points to Swansea's 41.
Next up, it was the Granite City Roller Girls' Northern Fights, against the hosts Swansea. These teams had never before met on track, but judging by the giggles and smiles they all shared, there was clearly some common Celtic love going around! The Slayers were on fire from the first whistle in this one. Clearly feeding off the adrenaline from the previous bout, they racked up an impressive tally. 107 points to the Fights' 51. A few mistakes from jammers had cost the Fights dearly in this one. Silly fouls!
Bout number 3 was Severn versus the Fights. The Aberdonian side are often known as a second half side and considering they had just played 30 minutes against Swansea, they went into this next bout with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Would Severn be able to hold them back? Unfortunately not. Both teams defenses were working so hard in this one, but again, little fouls cost them dearly. Final scores for bout 3 were Severn 24 : 108 Northern Fights. The first "bonus point" of the tournament earned by the gals from up north.
Just in the nick of time, the crew from Belfast arrived! Unfortunately for them, due to the delay, they would have to play all 3 of their opening day bouts back to back! But not once did the girls complain, they just got on with the day! Their first opponents, Severn Roller Torrent! How would the Banshees cope after having spent so long travelling? How would Severn respond to their loss to the Fights? The opening few jams were very tentative with neither teaming scoring. Clearly they were sizing each other up! Both teams were limiting their jammer rotation too. A tactic to preserve the skaters for the rest of the tournamentperhaps? Severn emerged victorious from this one, scoring 119 points. The Banshees, 23. Considering the issues, the Belfast girls had, this was a damn good showing.
Next on track to take on the Irish was the Northern Fights. These teams last met on track last year over in Belfast. The Banshees scored an impressive victory there, could they do it again? As it turns out...yes. Yes they could! They did it in spectacular fashion too. Final scores were 104 to the Banshees, 61 to the Northern Fights. Go Belfast!
The 6th bout of the 1st day of a 2 day tournament (the announcers had fun with that one!) would see the hosts, Swansea, take on the now extremely tired and long travelled Belfast. This was an exciting bout to watch. Both teams jammers were so quick on their feet it was like watching poetry in motion at times! The final scores, Swansea 98 : 45 Belfast.
So, at the end of day one, the rankings were as follows...
1st - Severn Roller Torrent
2nd - Swansea City Slayers
3rd - Northern Fights
4th - Belfast Banshees
Day 2 would see 1st (Severn) play 4th (Belfast), then 2nd (Swansea) play 3rd (Fights) in hour long bouts. The losers of those would then play each other to contest 3rd and 4th place for the tournament before the winners faced off to determine who would skate away with the coveted...Golden Skate! oooooooh!
The first hour long bout of the day would see Severn Roller Torrent take on the (now rested) Belfast Banshees to determine the first finalist!
Both teams were determined to make the most of the opportunity and attacked hard from the first whistle. Ra-Ra-Rasputina for Belfast was on fire in the early going. Eventually, the pace of the game slowed as both teams found their rhythm and tried to contain each other. In the end, Severn came away with the win and booked their place in the final with a winning score of 139 to 103. A close fought bout which left both teams drained! This one literally could’ve gone either way right up until the last couple of jams.
In the 2nd bout of the day, the hosts Swansea would take on the Northern Fights. In the ranking bouts the previous day, the Slayers had picked up the win. But this…was a full hour long bout. Could the Fights avenge the defeat and book their place in the final? Yes. Yes they could. But they would have to work hard for it. The Slayers lead 126 to 59 at the end of the first half. But the Fights came out fighting in the second half. With 5 minutes left on the clock, the girls from Aberdeen had managed to get themselves into a 30 point lead. A few power jams later and the final score ended at Swansea 173 : 239 Northern Fights. There were tears from The Swansea team, most notably from Team Captain Pixie of Pain. She may have been one of the smallest skaters on track, but no-one has a bigger heart! She was consoled by her team-mates, but there was no time to rest as they would be back on track very soon!
The Slayers faced off against the Belfast Banshees next to determine the 3rd and 4th place positions for the tournament. Once again, Ra-Ra-Rasputina was jamming like a woman possessed for Belfast. They lead at the halfway mark 129 to 66. But the Slayers would not be denied. Determined to go out on a high, they staged an amazing fight back in the 2nd half. The Mortician and Pixie Of pain were immense and the final scores for this bout were Swansea 238 : 173 Belfast meaning that the Slayers would finish Quad Nations in 3rd place and the Banshees would take 4th. Considering the turmoil they had to go through just to make it to Swansea, the Belfast side could finish the weekend with their heads held high after an amazingly gutsy performance. The Slayers were dancing…their announcer was in tears, emotion was spilling out alllll over the place!
And so, we came to the final. This is what the whole weekend was about. Who would take home the coveted Golden Skate? We were about to find out. The atmosphere was electric and after the kit check, we were ready to get underway! Scarlett Shadow of Severn had been one of the most consistent jammers of the tournament so far and she was determined to fire her team into 1st place. But Clinically Wasted (the team captain) was in a similar frame of mind for the Northern Fights. The Fights were in the lead at half time, but only just. Severn 76 : 98 Fights. The 2nd half was frantic. Fast packs, confusion over ref calls (the noise was drowning them out!) and skaters flying everywhere! In the end, the Fights were able to extend their lead. The final scores were Severn Roller Torrent 126 : The Northern Fights 162! They had done it. After an 11 hour drive from Aberdeen, the Granite Girls had claimed the Golden Skate as their own! Now it was the turn of THEIR announcer to break down in tears!!
Once they dust had settled, it was time for the presentation of the awards to each team…
4th place – The Belfast Banshees
Best Blocker – #8 Mo Mawlem
Best Jammer - #28 (team captain) Hannahbolic Steroids
MVP - #1337 Ra-Ra-Rasputina
3rd place – The Swansea City Slayers
Best Blocker – #22 Fearne Rotten
Best Jammer - #7 The Mortician
MVP – #17 SallyMangle Her
2nd place – Severn Roller Torrent
Best Blocker - #4ce Jedi Mistress
Best Jammer - #11 Scarlett Shadow
MVP - #10 Helen Fury
1st place – The Northern Fights
Best Blocker - #42 Pert Hits
Best Jammer - #111 (team captain) Clinically Wasted
MVP - #09 (vice-captain) Rock ‘n’ Riot
A huge congratulations to all the skaters who took part, a thank you to Swansea for hosting an amazing weekend of derby action. Also, a shout out to all the ref’s and NSO’s for being all kinds of brilliant!