Field Theory by Hadyn Green

55

Who won the weekend?

It was a weekend for close wins and big hits. Down south it was a first half of swift offence and a second half of smothering defence. It the north it was high kicks and missed chances. And in the capital it was a huge comeback and solid hitting.

I got my first text about the Air New Zealand Cup final, it said: "Cant 7 Well 0. Try in 2nd min!" The next one said: "Did you want anymore updates? It's not good". So when I caught the replay the next day I was surprised how close the game was.

Canterbury played its slow game in the last 20mins or so and smothered the Wellington attack enough that they just ran out of time. I suppose you could call it negative rugby, but really they're out there to win, not to be the Harlem Globetrotters.

So congratulations to Canterbury, and here's hoping that you don't win again for a while because it's frankly, dull.

Then early Sunday morning on the other side of the world, someone thought it would a good idea to let a monkey handle the television coverage of Wales playing the All Blacks. Seriously what the fuck was going on with the sideline cameras, the tight shots, the replays shown while the game was on, the constant replaying of All Black infringements, and the out of focus shots? I don't think I have ever yelled "focus!" at the television before.

I should've guessed I was in for a treat when, in the middle of a montage of crowd shots during the Welsh anthem, there was a brief shot of what seemed to be the inside of a storeroom.

As for the game, it was alright I suppose. We won; we got in a lot of kicking practice (despite our brief runs being fairly successful); and Dan Carter got to be a "bad boy" for a day. Is he our Christiano Ronaldo now?

And didn't the All Blacks look disappointed when the Welsh didn't stand off against them like last time.

But really all the action this weekend was in Wellington (and I don't mean the Phoenix's last minute draw – still undefeated at home!). It was the final of the Richter City Roller Derby season.

The Big One lived up to all the hype in front of a crowd of just over 1,070. After the match we were fairly sure there were never the full 10 skaters on the track for more than a minute before someone was sent to the penalty box. Silken Dagger was the first one to go and in the first jam, too.

After that the first half was dominated by Brutal Pageant penalties the second half by Smash Malice penalties. Chaos reigned as nearly the entire team was sent off at one stage (four players out of five sent to the box at the same time). It was a massacre!

Smash Malice vice-captain M.E.O.W. was a good example. Out of the penalty box, she stormed through the pack and was sent straight back. If you think footballers yell at the referees, you should see derby girls argue. They like to make their feelings known (yes that is three members of Malice in the box at the same time).

At the half Pageant trailed by 20 points. I don't know what captain Lux Vengeance and coach Rita Anguish yelled at them, but in the second half they came out blazing and Malice had no answer.

The crowd roared when Pageant took the lead 101-100 with five minutes to go.

But this is where tactics played their part. Malice took two timeouts in a row, which deflated the momentum of Pageant. They regained the lead and held it to the end where there was some controversy. The clock showed time was up but there should've been enough for one last jam, Pageant who were out and ready to skate wanted to race but the refs called it.

Smash Malice are the Wellington champions for 2009.

Richter City

Stand outs for me were: Tuff Bikkies against Silken Dagger as jammers – that was a heck of a battle; the rookie Lucy Jawgone (though I don't get the name, is it like Hugh Jorgon?); Perky Nah Nah – who has become a force on defence; and Goldie Scorn – a surprise re-entry (and not without some controversy).

I think it's fair so say this is a high-scoring speed league, so it will be interesting when they meet the Auckland team for the first intercity match on December 5th (at TSB Arena in Wellington). You'll want to be there.

Photos once again by the brilliant Mike Roseingrave and Jed Soane

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