More eyes and far more dollars were directed at the Kentucky Derby last night than at the one I attended, but, except for heavy betters on I'll Have Another, I think mine was more fun.
The Major Pains are the newer of the two roller derby teams of the Jerzey Derby Brigade league based in Morristown, NJ. They’ve been playing interleague games for only a year, and, as is natural for a new team, suffered growing pains in that time. Their losses in 2011 included a 351-16 rout at the hands of the Long Island Roller Rebels. A subsequent stiffening of the team with a few veteran skaters helped them win their first ever victory last November against the
Hellrazors. However, for various
reasons not all of those vets are still skating with the Major Pains in 2012. Accordingly, the Pains' home rink “Derby de Mayo” rematch last night with the Hellrazors looked daunting for New Jersey Morristown.
The Hellrazors picked up a lead in the very first jam as Maggie Kyllanfall was sent to the penalty box. The Hellrazors expanded steadily on the lead. There was exceptional jamming for the Hellrazors by Cherry Mercenary (973) and A Bomb (235U, of course) among others. Though smaller than the typical skater on either team, A Bomb nevertheless is able to exploit holes in the opposing defense or bypass it altogether, and she is very fast when out of the pack. The Hellrazors’ blocking was consistently good. The Major Pains, too, have no shortage of effective jammers, including Maggie Kyllanfall, Heinz Catchup, Baked Beanz, Voldeloxx, and ASSault Shaker. If the Pains still have a weakness, it is that the blockers, while aggressive enough, are prone to get scattered, which makes it difficult for them to support the jammers. By halftime the score was 71-35 in favor of the Hellrazors and there was every reason to expect that lead to grow in the second.
Those expectations proved as false as could be. The Major Pains returned to the rink after halftime determined to close the gap, and their method was to turn up the aggression. It worked. The hits and spills were hard and frequent, and they helped return the favor to the Hellrazors of disorganizing their blocking. Both teams continued to rack up points, but the Pains added more. With 8 minutes left in the bout, the Pains for the first time took the lead 102-101. Mental Block recovered the lead for the Hellrazors in what had become a very exciting match, with onlookers cheering both teams. The Hellrazors led 119-106 when a power jam gave Maggie Kyllanfall a chance to rack up points as the clock ran out. The crowd watched the scoreboard which reset to 122-122. A tie-breaking 2-minute jam was ordered by the judges. In a rough and tumble jam, Thiza Glory broke through the pack to accumulate points while the Hellrazors put everything they had into the blocking. The final score: 136 -129 in favor of Hellrazors.
It was the most entertaining bout I’ve seen since 2010 when the Corporal Punishers had a similar last minute nail-biter with the Blue Collar Betties. Despite the fortunes of the last two minutes, the Major Pains proved they are no longer the new kids on the block, but an established formidable team.