After months of waiting the day finally came on Saturday for the 2010 CT Roller Derby season opener. To cheer on the Roller Girls may have been their largest crowd yet. With 15 minutes to game time the long line for entry curved its way around the Connecticut Sports Center. Inside, derby enthusiasts squeezed together to try and find enough room to watch the action. Action they wanted, action they got. On Saturday the fourteen Connecticut skaters that make up the Yankee Brutals faced tough opposition: the Backyard Bullies from Westchester County.
Let’s take a closer look at the teams. First the Hometown Heroes.
Babe Vigoda #56
Paula G. ImNaughty #NC-17
Anita Chainsaw #992
Cali Ripskin #DV8
Crash Corpse #6ft
Dee Nasty #921
Guns N’ Bruises #2012
Girl Fawkes #5Nov
I. Harley Knew’em #81
Jean Mutation #X2
Murphy’s Outlaw #15
Pam Terror #9
Pepper Grind-her #10
Rinko Starr #64
This was Pepper Grind-her’s first bout since her return to derby and it was great to see Fawkes on skates again after her injury in Pittsburgh last year. Welcome back Pepper and Fawkes!
The visiting team, the Backyard Bullies, was founded in 2007 by former CTRG Slim Fast and Suffah Kate. The team’s close proximity means a lot of crowd support and perhaps the making for a great rivalry.
The Backyard Bullies
Anya Nerves #3.14
Auntie Climax #39
Crash Sprawldisplat #810
Hot Ta’ Wally #451
J.Knee Bones #77
Kickin McNuggins #6
Lil eve L #DV8
Milkstud Piglet #2%
Rita Wayward #86
Robin Graves #R1P
Sasha B. Otch #417
Satan’s Cheerleader #667
Slash Borden #40
Smashing Pumpkin #1979
This bout had strong potential. Both teams are somewhat young and fairly evenly matched. At 7pm Hitman Hank welcomed the crowd and the action got underway.
Things started quickly for the Backyard Bullies, who captured the first two lead jamming statuses. Connecticut seemed a bit disorganized at the onset and after Jean Mutation had an unfortunate introduction to the penalty box early on, Slash Borden capitalized and gained a strong 10 point lead in the second jam. Her blockers were holding Anita Chainsaw back with brutal efficiency. Rinko Starr had slightly better luck gaining the first lead jammer status for the girls in blue off of a beautiful block by Girl Fawkes that sent Backyard Bully Rita Wayward to the ground.
The girls were fighting hard for control of the jams. Dee Nasty and Sasha B. Otch raced it out in the fourth jam, Sasha forcing an early conclusion to Dee’s control of the track. Hot Ta’ Wally began her night with four more unanswered points for the Backyard Bullies.
Things were looking grim for the Yankee Brutals.
It was only the 6th jam of the bout as Pam Terror rolled up to the jamming line, but I couldn’t help but fear that if Pam couldn’t pull in a few points that the rest of the bout might be difficult to watch. Shame on me for doubting the competitive drive of the home town girls. Pam’s skates ignited and she circled twice before having to end the drive. Co-Captain Paula G. ImNaughty kept up the momentum tying the score at 14 as Westchester’s Lil Eve L struggled to recover from the aggressive shoulders of the Yankee Brutal’s defense.
As the first half progressed, Suburbia showed greater group solidarity. Few jammers slipped through the wall of the well organized heavy hitting New Yorkers, though their tactics were also sending more of their team to the penalty box. The point gap grew. Suburbia secured a healthy lead. As the girls skated off to rest up during intermission, the score was 67 to 25. Could Connecticut pull it together in the second half?
It’s always enjoyable when the derby organizers find an entertaining show for intermission. What’s certain is that when it happens, it’ll be anything but a typical intermission. This month we met CT Combat, a martial arts group based out of Oakville, CT. Two students demonstrated basic fighting techniques with their instructor. The combat demonstration was followed by a rollerskate roll-off with the crowd competing to win a giant chocolate roller skate!
Does that need repeating? A giant chocolate roller skate. Awesome!
When the girls returned to their benches, the crowd was ready for more action. Pam Terror started the second half with the star on her helmet pulling 7 points away from New York. Cali Ripskin, who has been skating less than a year, came up next and kept things going for Connecticut with nine more points. The jams of this second half were far more even. But their new spirit wasn’t enough to break the healthy lead that New York had built up in the first half. Halfway through the second period the score stood at 63 to 100 when Murphy’s Outlaw began her run as Jammer. The opposing jammer, Sasha B. Otch found herself on the way to the penalty box early in the jam along with two of the New York blockers.
Murphy Outlaw had an amazing opportunity!!! The Connecticut team had a full skating team on the track while Suburbia only had two blockers to slow the tide. The Connecticut blockers rolled to a virtual stop letting Murphy work her magic. 17 points later the Connecticut crowd was screaming in support. 20 points separated the teams. Pam Terror did her part next by dropping that lead from 20 to 16. Sadly for the hometown fans, that would be the end of the comeback. Sasha B. Otch finished the bout with an aggressive final jam taking the final lead jamming status and ending the bout by dramatically tapping her hips. The end score was 89 for the Yankee Brutals and 113 for the Backyard Bullies.
It was a great night for both teams and their fans. This was one of the most riveting roller derby bout’s I’ve seen. The roller girls were skating hard and both teams showed great strength in adapting to their opponent’s strategies.
Backyard Bullies: Slash Borden #40 with 26 points
Yankee Brutals: Pam Terror #9 with 35 points
Interestingly, by my notes the Yankee Brutals actually claimed more lead jamming positions than their rivals (17 for CT vs NY’s 16). The ability of the Backyard Bullies to capitalize on there fewer opportunities and not sacrifice any points while they controlled the track overcame their more regular appearances in the penalty box. Milkstud and Sasha both had 5 trips to the box! Hot Ta’ Wally and Auntie Climax were right behind them with 4 trips each. Meanwhile CT’s biggest offenders were Murphy’s Outlaw and I Harley Knew’em who both only had 3 trips out.
The next time we’ll be seeing the skaters, CTRG’s Stepford Sabotage will be taking on Montreal’s New Skids on the Block on Friday March 5th. If you’re looking for more information, head over to the Connecticut Roller Girl’s website here.
Great job to all the skaters!!