France clinched the top spot in the blue group, winning three out of three, while Australia impressed to finish second after some close calls.
Half of France made themselves heard in Birmingham for the first game in the Blue Group, between France and Ireland. Mr Furieux showed his customary fancy footwork off the jammer line while Lt Damn and Rave N’BustHer featured heavily in the Ireland jammer line-up.
After a first ten minutes in which the Irish looked like they might be able to challenge France, the French stepped up their game and began to frustrate Ireland’s jammers with quick tactical call offs that denied the Irish any points. Final score France 145, Ireland 30.
The Wizards of Aus started their tournament with a thumping win over Germany, whom they beat 232-12 in a showcase of strong positional blocking and urgency to recycle and reform their walls.
The Germans then faced the unenviable task of facing a French side replete with European champions from the Toulouse Quad Guards who gave them just as tough a time as the Wizards did, beating Germany 251-14.
For much of the Ireland and Australia bout it looked like Ireland were going to clinch victory against those from Down Under in what was initially a low scoring and strongly defensive game. Once both teams hit the 60 point mark though the tables turned and Australia began to assert their authority over the Irish, eventually winning 111-65.
Team Germany will have been hoping to salvage a victory against the Irish in their final group game and showed plenty of promise, often earning lead jammer, although a brutal Irish block was rarely far behind. Midway through the game though disaster struck when Ireland’s Rave N’BustHer went down with bad leg injury forcing an early end to the game as the medics tended to him. Final score Ireland 62, Germany 22.
The day closed with a tantalising match-up between France and the Wizards of Aus. The Aussies came out strong and were never far behind France in putting points on the board. Sausarge Rolls and Skate Pilgrim in particular helped to close the lead for the Wizards down to just a single point. Some later powerjams gifted France a boost though, which they complemented with some exemplary teamwork in defence to ride out winners, 118-57.