After his great write up about Round 1, we invited Murray back for some more. Here is what he had to say about the Round 2 matches. Soak it up – Murray will be appearing in Round 3 so obviously won’t be able to write for us then! Thanks Murray!
“After a successful first round of CSS it was good to see a few new riders featuring and also plenty of different tricks – showing that there is strength and depth within many of the teams, as well as creativity! Round 2 saw some of the stronger teams start to pull away – however not out of reach yet and there is still a lot to play for.
First up was Hemel vs. Tamworth
Tom Saunders led the team out again with a strong jump trick and very technical on the rails. It’s clear to see why Tom will feature regularly in rounds to come. Next up was Rachael Walsh with a very relaxed style and strong tricks on the rails. A blind 270 out of a down bar and a switch 270 out of the corrugated pipe shows that she can spin both on and off very well. Next round might be a good time for her to combine them as it will be tough being up against last years Champions – Bearsden. Palmer Parish was a pleasant surprise – at 7 years old he is an absolute shredder already! Spinning 360s off the big jump and spinning onto the box. Perhaps a Micro Machines contender?
Callum Welch did not disappoint either. After a great campaign last year with Hemel, he managed to deliver more of the same this year. A switch 540 shifty and a hand drag 360 over the stall at the bottom were stand outs. Tamworth had a lot to beat!
It looked like Tamworth tried to up their jump this round by building it over a rail feature. 18 year old Ed Hallet had the best trick of the round for me. It was a very creative EX trick using the whole feature and getting very tech. It is great to see Tamworth make features that allow a lot of room for creativity and difficulty. Lex Brown had a massive 540 on the jump and a smooth blind 270 out of the down bar – another strong female holding her own within the Tamworth team. Brad Fry was superb on the rails again. A 270 on, front switch up, front switch up, 270 out was arguably the strongest rail trick of this particular match up. Amazing from the young gun! Tom Greenway showed that a season in Laax will make a huge difference to your riding. Going massive on all features with a big flat spin, switch 2, front 4 on the down bar and a HUGE lip disaster 270 out of the down bar from the jump shows that he not only has the technical ability but also the bottle to go for the bigger tricks. I think there was only one winner here. Tamworth were incredible this round and I think they really upped it since round 1. It was no easy feat to beat Hemel who were title contenders last year and still could easily win it this year. If Tamworth can keep up this momentum they will be in with a shout!!
Bearsden Vs. Stoke was next. I think this one could potentially be the title decider further down the line. Bearsden kept the same line up which did so well in round 1. Chris McCormick was as consistent as ever. Big 900 trick, probably the best rail rider of the tournament and getting creative with his Ex trick. Olivia Burke really upped the level on the jumps with a rather large 720, a nice couple of rail tricks with the 1 foot for the Ex trick. Hopefully in the next round she can make the grab in the 720 a little more defined and that would give her much more of an edge. Her brother Luke is also a strong rider – a nice switch 540 and an effortless one footer over the box meant that Bearsden’s round was coming together nicely. Harris Booth was next up. Bambi to some, but not looking like it on his skis! Very strong with a flat 720 and a backflip late 180 meant that Stoke had a lot of work to do!
Justin Taylor-Tipton was as stylish as ever with a 720 over-tweak mute and getting very tricky on the rails. A joy to watch with his laid back style. Lara Shaw also started it off with a big 360 safety grab, front 270 out of the gas pipe as well as a surface switch up for her Ex trick showed that she is able to score well in everything that the judges are looking for. Fynnlay Loupis did an enormous underflip off the jump as well as a smooth switch 270 onto the rail meant that it was going to be a close one to call between the two teams. Row Emery was last for Stoke but certainly not least – he has the ability to make tricks look very easy. Frustrating for a lot of others who would love to have that talent. A big 540 as well as some wizardry on the rails meant this one was going down to the wire. Bearsden managed to come away with the win. But I could have quite easily seen it being a draw.
Finally it was time for Braehead vs. Aberdeen. Chris Wadsworth led the charge with a big cork 720 mute straight to the bottom of the landing, and was up to his usual on the rails. Molly Fitzpatrick was upping it from the last round with a switch 360 and some more technical rails, like the switch on front 270 out of the long bar – definitely not an easy feat! Deja Parker was dropping bombs by greasing the long bar to switch out and a nice big tail grab off the jump. Mark Donnelly is probably my favourite rider out of the whole competition to watch. He continued to be very creative on the features that Braehead have built. Overall great to watch and I imagined he scored highly across the board.
Aberdeen have a fairly young team but don’t seem to be struggling at all. Arran Sangster started things with a switch 540 which looked easy and stylish. Followed by a nice slide on the down bar and a big 360 on the table top. Kirsty Muir once again left everyone speechless. A misty off the booter, a front swap, front 270 out on the down bar and a switch 540 showed that Kirsty will be someone to watch out for on the international scene in years to come. The young gun, Ewan Douglas did a nicely executed 360 safety grab off the big jump, a front 270 out of the down bar and also a really nice transfer 180 which most people wouldn’t notice, but is not an easy task! Rob Wilkinson was next up – an absolutely mental switch corked 900 and 2 excellent rail tricks pushed him ahead as my rider of the match up. It was a tough one to call, but the judges ultimately decided that it was Braeheads win.
It will be an interesting to see what happens in round 3! Bearsden Vs. Hemel, Aberdeen Vs. Tamworth and Stoke Vs. Braehead. Bearsden are the only team that have won both their matches so far. Strong teams like Braehead and Stoke will have to do a lot now to stop their momentum… Fingers crossed round 3 will be just as good as round 2!