Tight Defensive Action on the back straight away as OHRG blockers attempt to thwart Nashville's lead jammer (rear of the pack) in the first half.
The Lausche Center was the scene of two hard fought victories for Columbus' own hometown heroines on March 8 against 39th ranked Nashville's Music City Roller Girls. Both Ohio's charter team, the OHRG All Stars, and their B-Team, Gang Green, showed their tenacity and endurance as they fought their way to second half wins in front of a near capacity crowd of more than 750 cheering fans. The first bout of the night saw the two all-star teams face off in what was slated to be a classic struggle of offense versus defense but turned into something very different. Nashville brought a solid offense built around jammers Chelsea Daggers and Ann T. Histamine as well as a new defensive tactic of stacking up on the inside line and blocking OHRG's jammers in tandem. The first half began neck and neck through the eighteenth jam with the lead changing hands four times and the score nearly tied at 46 to 47 with Nashville in the lead. Nashville's Phantom Power scored 14 points during a power jam in the nineteenth with Ohio's Outta My Wayman in the penalty box and momentum shifting to Music City. A well timed penalty on Texas Chainsaw Saskicker in the 22nd jam and a timeout left the closing jam with more seconds on the jam clock and in the half, resulting in an overtime jam that set the tone for the rest of the bout. Ohio jammer Smacktivist garnered 3 grand slams in less than two minutes cutting Nashville's lead to 17 points and closing the half with the score 65 – 82 in Nashville's favor. The second half saw the Ohio Roller Girls' offense come into its own. The team began a more aggressive rotation of jammers while keeping up a tight walled defense that cut Nashville's lead to two points by the sixth jam at 88 – 90. That is when team captain and game MVP Bratislava Bruiser got a power jam that lead to five grand slams, bringing the score to 113 – 90 by the end of the seventh. Bruiser led Ohio in scoring, passing hips 65 times in the second half. Smacktivist, Kitty Liquor Bottom, and Paige Bleed combined to amplify Ohio's offensive efforts with 19, 20 and 17 points respectively. OHRG's endurance turned a hard fought first half deficit into a lopsided 194 to 127 victory. Round two was “real derby.” according to Nashville's announcer Yiddish Invasion. She alternated calling it that and “More of the same... tough derby” all through the second bout. The B-team bout did not bring fans second rate performance. The match- up between the Brawl Stars and Gang Green was if anything more physical, more defensive and more strategic than the all-star bout with Nashville clearly wanting some pay back but still coming away with none. OHRG president Texas Chainsaw Saskicker seemed to be everywhere on the track at once, personally coordinating defense right at the point of contact like a blue haired and steely eyed general. Chainsaw did not seem to be a general who thinks herself precious enough to command from the rear. Several times she ate the track and washed the meal down with a glass of penalty box using well timed deliberate fouls to disrupt the Brawl Stars' offense. The first half began as a neck to neck, hip to hip contest with the lead trading four times in the first ten jams with the scores never more than eight points apart. The eleventh jam saw Nashville move ahead making it 15 to 27 by eleven. There were more points by the beginning of the fifteenth when Gang Green Jammer Blitz Lemon helped Ohio regain its momentum. Lemon, with scoring help from Sarah Bruce managed to regain the lead by the end of the twentieth jam which ended by official timeout after four grand slams by Blitz Lemon. By the end of the first half Ohio jammer Hop Devil, a recent transfer from Cincinnati, had brought the lead to 58 – 46 and it was clear that the bout was headed for trench warfare. The second half saw a greater rotation of jammers on the part of Ohio while it was all in the hands of two jammers for Nashville: Ginger Juke and the Big Banger. The rotation and depth of jammers paid off for Ohio when Ally McSqueel capitalized on Brawl City having more skates in the penalty box than on the track in the fourteenth jam to get herself four grand slams and cement Gang Green a 47 point lead at 137 to 90. Nashville attempted to rally until the seventeenth when Big Banger caught herself a second penalty which placed twelve of the Brawls Stars wheels off the track and set up quick skating Blitz Lemon for another triple grand slam before she also had a seat on the pine bench. The twentieth and final jam ended as a power jam featuring an amazing play by Hop Devil. With clock running out and Gang Green already solidly leading, the Devil went down once, recovered, passed through the pack to be knocked down by Nashville jammer Ginger Juke, skate back up from her knees to score a second grand slam and add undoubted authority to Gang Green's 170 to 114 victory. The double victories, both requiring effort to overcome double digit deficits, show that OHRG is off to another impressive season. Their endurance and strategic acumen is dwarfed only by their physicality to mass ratio. These qualities plus teamwork will be needed to sustain them when they face the three different teams at the Quad City Chaos tournement in Toronto in their first away bouts March 22 without the call and response chant of the crowd of “O-H!”… “R-G!”