Sunday, September 9, 2012

Take Me Down to the Pair O' Dice City

Women’s roller derby returned to Morristown NJ last night with an exciting bout between the hometown Corporal Punishers of the Jerzey Derby Brigade league and Pair O’ Dice City Roller Derby, skating far from the team’s home court in Wilbraham, Massachusetts.

The Corporal Punishers have come a long way since their early days when uneven defensive play surrendered points and made scoring difficult for their own jammers. (For an explanation of derby scoring, play, and terms, see the video at the bottom of the older post Wheel Appeal: The blocking in recent games, with #333 Doom Hilda and #23 Bruta Lee at the helm, has been tight and aggressive. In addition, the team has a depth of effective jammers. #9 Baked Beanz, #57 Heinz Catchup, and #157 Maggie Kykllanfall are extraordinarily fast when in the clear, all have endurance, and all are good at exploiting holes in the pack. The Punishers needed their hard won skills last night against the challenge from Pair O’ Dice.

Maggie Kykllanfall scored the first points of the game for the Punishers. #1338 Olive R. Twisted put Pair O’ Dice on the board in the next jam. Both teams overall played tactically well, calling off jams for best advantage and threatening opposing lead jammers to keep their point totals down. Both teams blocked effectively, with Doom Hilda especially on her game, repeatedly delivering hard but clean hits – she was sent to the penalty box only a couple of times, which is actually not bad for such forceful play. #007 Neon Stiletto took more than her share of hits from Punisher blockers, but still managed to score for Dice. Throughout the first half the Punishers built up a lead that was only partly closed by a double grand slam by Olive R. Twisted; a hard block by #AK47 Assault Shaker stopped a third. The score was 74-51 in favor of Punishers at halftime.

Having gotten the measure of the Punishers in the first half, the Dice came back stronger in the second. As often happens, the skating was more rough-and-tumble in the second half as the clock becomes more of a factor in the outcome. Hard skating included a very peculiar series of alternating power jams (a power jam is when a jammer is in the penalty box, so only one team can score) with Neon Stiletto, Maggie Kyllanfall, Donny Brook, Baked Beanz, and Mega Burns each taking turns. As the clock ran down the Dice closed the gap to 3-points. Heinz Catchup added points for the Punishers, but in the final jam the outcome was still uncertain. Punisher blocking succeeded in preventing a last minute upset, and the final score was 128-119 in favor of the Corporal Punishers, very close by derby standards.

MVP for Pair O’ Dice was Olive R. Twisted, who was the most successful jammer. MVP for the Corporal Punishers was Assault Shaker who was versatile and effective as jammer and blocker.

The next home bout for the Jerzey Derby Brigade is September 22 with the Major Pains facing the visiting Susquehanna Valley Derby Vixens. I don’t intend to miss it.

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