What a bout! On Sunday February 24th the Widowmakers and Iron Angels donned their skates in an epic match-up that we were all expecting to be extremely exciting. The girls did not disappoint.
The night started with the Iron Angels skating off their bench to the wailing riffs of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck. Led by captain Tina Colada (#B-52), the Angels were starting their season off after clinching the win at last year’s championship bout against the Widowmakers. And now the Widowmakers were back. After the Angels introduction concluded, the Widowmakers screamed off their bench to Billy Idol’s White Wedding… they were skating with a vengeance. Unlike last December, this time the Widowmakers had come with Luciana PULVERotti (#110R) and Milla LowLife (#40 oz. “The Champaign of Roller Girls”).
The Angels, however, aren’t a team to be caught unawares; they too had new players in their ranks. Mount Saint Helen (#1980), Beaver Knievel (#97), and Virginia Woolferine (#168) had joined the team and were ready for action. Yes, the crowd was expecting excitement but nothing could prepare us for the two 30 minute periods that followed.
The bout started with Angel Pearl Jammer (#GO) up against Eleanor Bruisevelt (#1933). The ref’s whistle screeched once and the pack was off… it screeched again and the jammers took off. Using their skate’s toe-break as a pushing point, the Jammers propelled themselves forward on their toes accelerating quickly to overtake the looming pack.
Right from the start, the match-up showed promise. The blockers were defiant. Pearl, who has the incredible skill of finding openings between even the most vicious opponents was held back by the Widowmaker defense. Eleanor broke through first and snagged lead jammer status. But Pearl is not one to give up easily. She wove through the pack behind Eleanor. The two derby girls met stiff resistance as they circled around to reach the pack again. Pearl snaked through quickly and snagged two quick points before Eleanor could end the jam. Yes, it was clear from the first jam that the bout would depend heavily on the defensive strategies of each team.
The Widowmakers drive was ferocious. After Eleanor’s efforts Luciana, Black Cherry (#C-4), and Milla consecutively took lead jammer status away from the fighting Angels. What was remarkable is that despite the Widowmaker’s early dominance at breaking through the pack, Pearl, Pam Terror (#9), and Girl Fawkes (#V) were able to slowly chip away at the score. One point here, two points there. After six jams the score stood tied at 9-9.
And Then Began a Remarkable Defensive Struggle.
Revengela (#1-2-3-4), the authoritative Captain of the Widowmakers, took the jamming spot across Pam Terror. The whistle blew and the two jammers raced up towards a very formidable pack. Miz Con SepJen (#7), Parker Poison (#A33), Pearl, and Mount Saint Helen were among those who were intent on cutting short their competitor’s drive. One jam… two jams… three jams… four jams went by scoreless. The Widowmakers were making a break for points, but the Angels kept cutting them off by strategically ending the jams. Acting as pivot Black Cherry, perhaps the single most charismatic roller girl to grace a derby ring, successfully crushed the Angel’s jammer again and again… all the while blowing kisses to the adoring crowd. The Widowmakers were making big hits.
But the tide had turned. The Angels started taking the critical lead jammer status away from the Widowmakers. Violet Riot (#911) made a huge contribution as she earned 7 crucial points for the Iron Angels. Girl Fawkes came out next and, backed up by Mount Saint Helen’s aggressive drop of Widowmaker Milla LowLife, widened the gap with 2 points and then 8 more points for the Angels. Tina Colada and Milla LowLife skated opposite each other to end the first half with a score of 34 to 19. The Iron Angels had taken a healthy lead.
The 2nd Half
The second half saw some incredible strategy. Occasionally a blocker would reach back and grab the hand of her jamming teammate. She would then swing her arm furiously around her body and whip her team’s jammer forward. The jammer could take this sudden burst of speed and work to pull ahead or make up lost ground. Lord those girls can skate.
Black Cherry used another unique strategy when she skated as jammer. Numerous times she would find herself blocked by one or two defensive Angels. Motioning back to her blocking teammates she would encourage them to slow down… thus pulling the pack away from the her and the wall that prevented her escape.
What could this possibly do? Well, there’s a rule in Roller Derby that says that the pack must remain reasonably tight. Roller girls can’t stray too far away before the refs raise their hands and the girls have to stop blocking any opposing jammers. In pushing the pack back, Black Cherry could get the ref to call out the loose pack. The Iron Angel blockers would then have to let Black Cherry skate through unopposed scoring an extra point or two.
The angels were using strategy as well. As time ticked away Violet Riot skated twice as jammer against Black Cherry. Both times she barely squeezed lead jammer status away from the fearsome Widowmaker. As the pair raced back towards the pack, Violet theatrically tapped her hips ending the jam with a 0 -0 score and pushing the clock further and further down.
When the final buzzer sounded the Iron Angels took the victory: 60 to 48.
Black Cherry: 27 points in 9 jams (lead 4)
Tina Colada: 22 points in 11 jams (lead 4)
Girl Fawkes: 16 points in 4 jams (lead 3)
Trips to the Penalty Box?
Iron Angels: 11
Players with the most trips to the penalty box:
Miz Con SepJen: 6
Tina Colada: 4
After the match we headed over to the afterparty at The Brass House. There Keller and I had some beverages and witnessed the ceremonial inauguration of two new roller girls. They were handed birth certificates with their roller girl nicknames. Cake was served and the bar welcomed the two new recruits.
The CT roller girls will put these new girls to work. Especially since next month will see the CT All-Star team, the Stepford Sabotage, up against the Rhode Island Riveters. Rhode Island’s team is older and more experienced with brutal players like ‘Da Silva Bullet’ and ‘Jetta Von Diesel’. The Stepford Sabotage will have their work cut out for them on March 16th, but the fans have faith! For more information on the upcoming bout, check out the CT roller girl’s website here:
Sunday’s bout was amazing. Great job Roller Girls! We’ll see you March 16th!!