Sunday, September 15, 2013

Watching the Wheels Go Round and Round

Women’s roller derby returned to Morristown last night with a bout between The New Jersey Roller Derby (NJRD) and the visiting Southern Delaware Roller Girls (SDRG). Back on July 27, the NJRD defeated SDRD on its home track, and Delaware was eager to return the favor.

Delaware jumped ahead to an early but tiny lead with Gorelee Girl pushing through for points. Maulin Rouge and Shannani-Gunz kept on the pressure with their usual effectiveness through stiff resistance by Delaware (special mention to Betty Clock-her for aggressive blocking.) Pixie Bust for NJRD also added points to close the gap.

The two teams clearly were closely matched, but Delaware got and exploited the break it needed to secure a more defensible lead when Street Treats racked up points in multiple passes on a power jam. (A power jam is when an opposing jammer is in the penalty box, and so unable to score). The point totals for both teams rose slowly, and the first half ended with Delaware leading 71-51, still very much in competitive territory.

Halftime activities included a demonstration bout by the Junior Roller Girls between The Betty Bashers and the Dangerous Divas. Since the 50-50 and Tricky Tray events were happening simultaneously with the junior bout, I must admit to losing track of “who, what, and when.” If a coach, team member, or parent wishes to expand on this event in the comments, please feel free to do so. The team in black prevailed 93-27. I noticed capable skating by numbers 13, 3, 6, 116, 31, and 17, but without a program to match names to numbers, I’ll have to leave it at that.

In the second half of the bout, NJRD increased the pressure. Maulin Rouge showed truly impressive speed and Shannani-Gunz was excellent at powering through walls of blockers. Miss USA-Hole was also reliably proficient in jammer position. NJRD chipped away slowly at the Delaware lead, playing a smart and risk-limiting game of taking points and calling jams. Aided by a triple pass through the pack by Mega-Mortis, however, SDRG was able to re-secure its edge. With minutes left in the bout, Delaware played a hard defensive game, protecting its 25 point advantage. The end whistle blew with final score of 150-123 in favor of Delaware.

Once again, the teams were essentially equivalent. The game turned on the timing of penalties and one or two power jams. Of course, penalties and power jams are opportunities only – skaters have to be able to exploit them. Both teams have developed a depth of skaters able to do just that. The 2014 rematch ought to be fun.

John Lennon Watching the Wheels

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