Photography By Angela McConnell
Tonight, because quite frankly I suck at writing blogs, I bring you the expertly written summary of The Bout with No Name courtesy of the VRDL….and some pretty pictures by me
Summary supplied by the VRDL expert commentary team
The Victorian Roller Derby League’s 2011 home season began with a scintillating rematch between 2010 finalists, the Toxic Avengers and the Dolls Au Go Go. Despite the Toxics being heavily reduced in number against a strong Dolls line up, the bout turned out to be a real nailbiter that kept everybody guessing right to the end.
The first bout of the night saw VRDL’s third home team, the Dead Ringer Rosies, take on the brand new Regional All Stars. A team composed of some of the best roller girls from around Victoria, the All Stars had players from Ballarat Roller Derby League, Dragon City Derby Dolls and South Sea Roller Derby.
This was the first bout the Regional All Stars had played together as a team, and they took a little while to warm up. But it wasn’t long before the All Stars started pulling it together, forming some good walls in the fourth jam and Mad Mel Arena putting the first three points on the board for the All Stars in the fifth jam. By that time, however, the Rosies had given themselves a healthy lead at 56-3.
Over the next several jams the All Stars managed to keep the Rosies from scoring more than another six points, whilst adding 13 more points to their own score, bringing it to 62-19. But the final jam of the first period saw the Regional All Stars jammer Mean Piece in and out of the penalty box. The Rosies gave the All Stars blockers hell and helped Penny Carving power jam her way round the track, bringing the score up to 89-19 as halftime whistle blew.
The beginning of the second period was similar to the end of the first, with Mean Piece still in the box and Penny Carving lining up on the jammer line again. Although this time round Penny found it a little hard to get round the All Stars blockers, particularly Miss Helfire and Apocalypse Nerd. But as the second period progressed the All Stars found it difficult to counter the Rosies’ coordinated defences and effective blocking, which often kept them too busy to fend off the Rosies jammers. The game ended with the Dead Ringer Rosies victorious with a final score of 155-57.
The main bout of the night and the first bout of VRDL’s 2011 home season was between the Toxic Avengers and the Dolls Au Go Go. The Toxics went in with the disadvantage of having only eight players against the Dolls’ twelve, meaning the Toxics would have to play more jams and have fewer rests than their opponents. However the incredible stamina and excellent team communication of the Toxics pitted against the effective offensive play and clever strategy of the Dolls lead to a very exciting and tight game, characterised by some big falls, a high number of penalties and quite a lot of jammer musical chairs.
With two of the four absent Toxics being key jammers, the team was forced to rely heavily on star jammer Kittie von Krusher—though not so heavily as would have been the case if less regular jammers, Rocky Rogue, Keasey Rider and Nasty Beasty hadn’t stepped up and given some excellent performances. However, it was still a blow when Kittie von Krusher successfully called off the first jam without being lead jammer and so earned herself a minute in the penalty box. But the Toxics blockers had the situation in hand, blocking the Dolls jammer and then waterfalling back into place so effectively that she was unable to complete a scoring pass.
But the next Toxics jammer also took a trip to the box, where she joined two of her own blockers, giving Dolls jammer Kitty DeCapitate a chance for a power jam that she and her team didn’t neglect, so that, by the end of the fourth jam, the Toxics had failed to score any points while the Dolls had collected 29.
Kittie von Krusher returned to the track to score the Toxics’ first three points of the game, however in the very next jam the Dolls racked up another 13 points, bringing the score to 3-42. It was at about this point that the Dolls jammers began to spend a lot of time in the sin bin too, and the musical chairs began, with first one jammer being sent to the box and then the next being sent there and freeing the first. This meant that, despite there being only one jammer on the track for most of this time, there were no very high-scoring jams. Ultimately the Toxics responded a little quicker to the rapidly changing situations and gained a small advantage, scoring an extra 18 points by halfway through the first period whereas the Dolls raised their score by ten, bringing the overall score to 21-52.
The Toxics seem to play best as the underdogs and this bout was no different. They held the Dolls’ score fairly static whilst they steadily closed the gap until they had almost halved it, turning the Dolls’ early 29-point lead into a 16-point lead by the time the end of the first period was within sight. The Dolls then snuck in a few extra points and brought the halftime score to 44-63.
The second period continued to show how closely matched the teams were; the Toxics only managed to narrow the gap on the Dolls’ halftime lead by three points over the next ten jams. Then some terrific blocking on the part of the Toxics kept the Dolls’ score static long enough to bring the gap down to four points. The Dolls retaliated, however, and kept the Toxics from scoring for three consecutive jams, widening the gap again to a 12-point lead. For two jams after that it was a stalemate, with no points scored by either side. As the end of the game drew near the Toxics had halved the gap back down to six points at 93-99 and Dolls jammer, Miss Chivas, was in the box.
The Toxics sent Rocky Rogue in to jam, but just as the they had securely captured a carcass and were set to give Rocky the chance at a real game-changing power jam, she was sent to the bin. Miss Chivas came back from the box and scored another 5 points, but even worse, it turned out to be Rocky’s seventh trip to the box and so she was ejected from the game. Now the Toxics had lost not only an excellent jammer but one of the best blockers in the team (and in the league) with less than four minutes left in the game and with the score standing at 93-104 in favour of the Dolls.
Meanwhile Miss Chivas had been sent back to the box (she scraped through to the end of the game on six trips to the box) and the Toxics prepared a second time for a power jam whilst the Dolls went on down a jammer and two blockers. Kittie von Krusher quickly scored ten points for the Toxics and started to call off the jam but was sent to the box herself instead, releasing Chivas to score eight points of her own before the jam ended. The score was now 103-112 with one minute left on the game clock.
In the final jam Kitty DeCapitate lined up to jam for the Dolls whilst Kittie von Krusher waited in the box. But this Kitty ended up repeating the performance of the Kittie before her, rapidly scoring 11 points and then being sent to the box. Kittie von Krusher rushed back onto the track and skated hard, scoring 13 points. But it was not quite enough; the Dolls were victorious with a score of 117-123. Despite the fact that the Toxics never managed to take the lead for the entire game, it was an incredibly exciting bout that no one was game to call early.
Next bouts are May 7 and June 4 – visit the VRDL website to find out more details about how to purchase tickets