On a warm spring day in Skavenblight, the Roquefort Ramblers welcomed the injury-torn Buffalorc Bills to The Emporium for the third round of the second annual edition of the MML. Up until this point, the Ramblers had been largely disappointing, with a fortunate win over Los Pumas, and a turgid stalemate with Remember the Tyrants, whilst the Bills had played out a brutal (and costly) draw with the Rawdreamers, where two players perished on the field, and then having to relay on freelance players, slipped to a defeat against Los Pumas.
The stage was then set for one of these teams to grab their season by the scruff of the neck, and announce themselves to the party.
The Ramblers won the toss, and elected to kick to their opponents; they would look to exploit any gaps in the orc formation once they had gathered the ball, and would gamble on the linerat battery being able to stand up to the forthcoming assault. Meanwhile, the Bills would look to use their traditional methodical grind through the centre of the pitch. Imagine then, the surprise when during the first minute of the game, Ramblers linerat Patchyk landed a vicious hit on freelance orc lineman Maklor, slipping his claws in between the armour plates of the Orc, and ending his participation instantly with a serious injury. The Ramblers began to smell blood, but the Bills were also fired up – the black orc Darryl THK instantly responded by punching linerat Sniut so hard that 12 hours later, he remains unconscious -particularly worrying as official Rambler doctrine states that any player unable to perform his duties for any period greater than 24 hours is turned over to Clan Moulder for … science.
The game soon settled into a familiar routine of the Bills looking for fights, and the Ramblers looking for position, and Patchyk, sensing his opportunity, sacked opposing playmaker Jim Killey, and amidst the unpredictable melee, star gutter runner Altei the Quick emerged with the ball, where he unselfishly passed to his rookie fellow runner, Skitterdash for the opening touchdown.
The Bills knew they were in a tough situation, as the Ramblers were proving more resilient than expected – time and again, they would land hits but were unable to cause any real damage, which in turn was giving the likes of Morrsleibniz and Ikit the Elusive the protection they needed to influence the game, and the pair nearly combined for a second touchdown on the brink of half time – following another mass brawl that ended up with Bills rookie Fearless Price dropping the ball, Morrsleibniz fumbled 3 times in a row, with Ikit in position to score.
The mistake didn’t prove to be costly, however, as the Ramblers launched in incisive raid down the right flank that the Bills just couldn’t keep up with, with Altei the Quick again instrumental as he laid on the second touchdown of the game.
Enraged, Bills blitzer Thermal Thomas kicked off the 4th drive of the game by sprinting directly at Skitterdash, planting his shoulder directly into the chin of the lithe runner, who fell unconscious to the ground, however, in keeping with the game, the response was swift and brutal. Ramblers captain Rhitzh the Feral signalled for a ‘Dogpile’ play (typically a 3 or 4 on 1 assault against an isolated opponent)- Altei and Patchyk each seized an arm of black orc Bruise Smith, as Rhitzh applied the coup de grace – It was initially reported that Bruise was dead before he hit the floor, however, creative use of a bathtub and a toaster saw Bruise effectively come back to life around 30 minutes after the game – reports are suggesting that he has lost feeling in both of his hands, so it remains to be seen whether he can continue as a professional athlete.
Whilst the Bills battled to the end, their spirit was broken at the loss of one of their tough guys, and a third touchdown was soon in the offing. Once again, the Ramblers offensive sprinted down the exposed right hand side of the pitch, with only the iron will of Fearless Price and Morghuk standing between them. Incredibly, the two Orcs managed to hold off the swarm and slip the ball to Ax Anderson, who like his coach, refused to be taken alive (at one point, even slipping out of an attempted dogpile from Rhitzh and 4 other rats). Eventually though, the drive ran out of gas as the numerical superiority took it’s toll, with a sweeping counterattack culminating in ever-present quarterback Twitch passing to Morrsleibniz for a touchdown that probably saved the young runner’s life, given his earlier mishaps.
After the game, Bills head coach Jonny Mal was typically philosophical:
“We know that we can’t win the conference now, we’ve taken too many losses, both in games and personnel, but we are Orcs – we fight to the end, in victory or in death… we just seem to be fixated on the death part of that equation right now. One thing’s for sure though, you haven’t seen the last of me, and I cannot fault the effort of my players, we just couldn’t land any decisive hits on the opposition, and against Skaven, you can’t afford to do that.
Meanwhile, Ramblers head coach Mgiteau was quick to pay tribute:
“Firstly, I want to recognise the guts and determination of the Bills and their coach, it can’t be easy losing players like they have, but they never gave up today. I told my players we needed a performance, we wouldn’t get too many opportunities to hurt them physically, but we needed to take those chances, and if we could do that, our superior speed and ball handling would do the rest. We’ve flattered to deceive so far, but I think this performance has put us on the map, and we can go on from here and be challenging for that title at the end of the season. Our next game is against North Grove Gale, they’ll pose a very different challenge so we’re going to need to be at our best, but I’m confident that with the right attitude, we’ve got a good shot.
You can watch the Roquefort Ramblers take on North Grove Gale next week, live on TwitchTV.